Brothers & Sisters,
Thank you for responding about our recent inquiry about returning to in-person worship at the building. At this point we are currently split 50/50 with regard to worshipping together in person. Thankfully God has blessed us with the opportunity to do both!
Beginning Sunday, August 9th, we will have worship at the building for those who are comfortable in attending in-person and at the same time we will stream worship for those who to continue to worship virtually.
I’m reminded of what Paul wrote in Colossians 2:5 that even though we might be away from each other physically, we are together in the Spirit.
For those attending in-person, attached are guidelines that we are asking everyone to follow.
Finally, please take a moment to thank God for those who are making our in-person & virtual worship possible, specifically the Evans family and Andrew & Shelia Berger.
Good Afternoon Brothers & Sisters,
We understand that some members are anxious to return to the church building for worship on Sunday mornings while others are not yet comfortable in doing so. We are targeting Sunday, August 2nd, for a return to in-person worship at the building for those who are comfortable in returning. Please do not feel pressured to attend in-person services if you are not yet comfortable in returning to the building. We plan to continue live-streaming services for those who wish to worship virtually.
In an effort to make worshipping in-person as safe as possible, we have spent a considerable amount of time putting together the attached list of guidelines that we will be asking everyone to follow when worshipping at the building. Please spend a few minutes to review its contents. Please also let Dave, Rich, Brad, or me know if you have any questions.
The Elders (Rich, Dave and Roger)
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
In light of the Coronavirus and the steps that our federal, state, local governments are taking to decrease its spread and to protect those in our congregation who are most vulnerable, we have made the very difficult decision to suspend congregational assemblies at the building until further notice.
Since its inception on the Day of Pentecost, the church has faced many forms of adversity, and by the grace of God, has not only survived, but thrived! This time of uncertainty will be no different. We will put our faith, trust, and give all of our anxiety to our Lord, and He will see us through. We prayerfully look forward to the day when we can safely physically gather together again in worship. Until that day comes, we are working on a method by which we can virtually gather either online or listen in via the phone for worship. Hoping we can have available beginning this Sunday. Please watch your email for details.
Rich, Dave, & Roger
**Thanks to Brad for sharing his thoughts below!
Practicing the Priority of Love
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)
Love God. Love your neighbor. For three months, we have been exploring and affirming the priority of Love as the guiding principle of the Christian life. As we consider how to respond to the reality of the Coronavirus, the primary consideration must be love of neighbor. Fear should not drive this decision, nor any other decision, but care for the other. We are loving God when we are loving our neighbor. Loving our neighbor may mean canceling physical gatherings for a period of time to hinder the spread the virus.
In this way, we love those who are most susceptible to the virus, and we love our neighbors by contributing to the mitigation of the spread of the virus.
God prioritizes love of neighbor over assembly or even the Lord’s Supper because, as Jesus reminded us, God desires mercy and not sacrifice.
Hosea 6:6 (NIV)
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Matthew 12:11-12 (NIV)
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
God designed our assemblies to be environments of encouragement during which our faith grows. He does not need our praises; we need to praise and see each other doing the same so our collective faith is built up. Just like the Sabbath, our assemblies of worship, are for our benefit. They are not for God’s benefit. God already has everything He needs.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT2)
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
The technology is available to keep us connected, to allow us to teach, encourage and respond in person when there is a need. We will make every effort to facilitate that for our church family and anyone that wants to join our online community during this extraordinary time. Be sure to watch your email, texts and check our church Facebook page regularly for updates on how we will do this.
During this time, let’s remember above all that we are Christians, so let’s make sure we are caring for one another, especially our elderly members and our neighbors. Do they need groceries? Do they need an errand run for them? Ask them. We can be the church even when we can’t go to church.