Beginning Thursday morning, March 19, we are severely restricting group meetings at the church building. This will include Tai Kwon Do, Tuesday morning Bible Study, Wednesday night Bible studies, Sunday Night worship, Sunday Night youth Group and TeamKid. Team meetings, weekday prayer meetings, all-church workday, choir practice and other small group meetings may continue to meet. If you have a question about your group feel free to contact the pastor. This will last until at least April 4, and will be extended if it seems appropriate at that time.
For Sunday morning, we are strongly encouraging all people to stay home. We will make available, video worship music and sermons which can be viewed online. These will be placed on the church website, and perhaps other online places. Our goal is to have them up by midday Saturday. For your offerings you can either mail them in, drop them by, or use your online bill pay to support the church.
I realize that many of you do not have the tools or experience necessary to access these videos. In this case, I still recommend strongly that you stay at home. You can read your Bible aloud, pray aloud and sing aloud on Sunday mornings there in the security of your own home. This is still, God honoring and is a safer option than coming to church.
I recognize that a few people will want to come to worship at the church building. I am strongly discouraging this, but not preventing it. For those who do come in, what you experience here will be similar to what others experience at home. Only a few rooms will be open, and these rooms will be kept at less than ten people each. The groups in the room will keep families together, rather than being divided by ages. The leaders in each room will lead a Bible study, and then play the same videos for worship that are available on the church website. The people in that room will sing together with the help of the videos and listen to the video sermon. They will also collect and turn in an offering.
I would not be disappointed if no one came in, in fact it would be a relief.
I apologize that this is not our normal worship experience, but these restrictions are necessary for the safety of our worshippers. In my mathematical way of thinking, I considered that with a church that has a lot of seniors, if we did not work together to prevent the spread of the disease we would likely see 20% of the church with severe illness and up to 10 people lost to the illness. This cost seems too high to me already, but yesterday better statistics became available and I now know that the consequences would be higher than this.
Therefore I am taking these actions, seeking to follow the guidelines of the CDC without completely blocking people out of worship. I know that for some it feels like we should trust God and continue to meet together, but I believe this is a demonstration of foolishness rather than faith. It would be similar to deciding to pay football on a freeway. There are better options.
I anticipate we will resume worshipping in a group on April 5, Palm Sunday, but stay tuned because the situation may well continue to change.
While going through this time frame please stay in contact with us here at church. Karen will be in the office Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you wish to drop by your tithes and offerings, please do so. Otherwise, please call and tell us how you are. If you have a need come up, let’s say you are running low on food or you become ill, please contact us. We want to keep in touch, pray for you, and in some cases we can assist you.
Again I apologize for the severity of these restrictions. I can only say I am taking these actions after careful consideration and dreadful prayer. It scares me as to the financial impact on the church, but it scares me more in regards to the safety of the members. And remember this church has proven their faithfulness in regards to finances over and over again. May we pull together and do it again.