“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” --Psalm 56:3
To say that we live in an uncertain and a troubling time would probably be to minimize the way that many people feel this evening. And while the news circuit hums and buzzes around us and communities as well as institutions continue to announce decisions about potential and actual closures, it can feel like an overwhelming tidal wave of information is assailing our ears and eyes. Certainly, many of us are becoming exhausted trying to keep up with the latest news regarding COVID-19.
One thing remains certain, no matter how many things change around us, we can trust that God is still with us, loving us and caring for us, and surrounding us with His abundant mercy and grace.
After much discussion and deliberation and consultation with people in our church at the local, district and conference level, as well as with the health department, we (Pastor Charlene and Pastor Amy) have decided at this time that it would be so much better to err on the side of caution than to unintentionally put anyone’s health at risk by continuing to meet and worship during this time.
Some of you may know that the governor has banned public gatherings of over 100 people in the same space as well as closing all of the public schools for the next three weeks. You may also know that he has not expressly prohibited religious gatherings. However, it seems appropriate to be cautious with all of God’s children.
For the next three weeks, all worship services and other events at the church are cancelled. Although this decision is disappointing for us and for many of you, we feel it is the best way that we can help to prevent the unintentional spread of this virus. Hand sanitizer and other cleaning products are already in short supply and regardless of how much we might clean our buildings and our hands, we can still spread the disease between gathered persons.
Both Pastor Amy and Pastor Charlene will work to ensure that there are still opportunities to worship online through social media and our web pages and we are also asking for your help. We are asking you to help us continue to keep our community together even when we are apart. Share with each other via Facebook, text each other frequently, email each other and call to check up on those who may not utilize social media and the internet.
These next three weeks are going to be difficult with schools closed and families working to figure out how things are going to be handled. Folks are going to need compassionate listening ears and people willing to find creative ways to help even when we cannot be together. People will get lonely and want to hear a friendly voice and that is where the church needs to step in and be that compassionate ear and friendly voice.
Pastor Charlene and Pastor Amy will be in touch with people as much as possible. We will reevaluate the situation as things change and will communicate any new decisions as quickly as possible. Thankfully, we will continue to be a church no matter where we are.
We realize that many of you have concerns and we encourage you to communicate those concerns to us as they arise so that we can be proactive in finding solutions. One concern that has been expressed is about church finances. Know that we encourage everyone to continue their giving in whatever way they can. If that is online through e-giving, you can be assured that the church will receive your money as many people are already consistently utilizing it. Other ways to give will be communicated to individual churches shortly.
Please be assured that we are in prayer for each and every one of you and that we hope that you are holding our churches and our communities in prayer as well. May all of you continue to feel the love of our church communities and continue to be blessed by the goodness of God’s abundant mercy and grace.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Amy and Pastor Charlene