Dear Grace Church Family,
First, let me say that we already miss you all deeply and greatly look forward to the time when, Lord willing, we can resume meeting together with no restrictions! We are watching and praying during this challenging time.
Next, let me assure you that none of the steps we are taking are rooted in fear. We are not walking in fear of this virus. But we do want to walk in wisdom and shepherd well the flock. Please know that your elders are praying and discussing this situation regularly, and we are open to your input on any of these matters.
With that said, here is where we are right now:
For the immediate future, we will suspend the 9:15 classes, Refresh, LAF, Men’s Ministry, and Grace Groups. At least we will suspend meeting in person. We are working on some alternatives that will enable us to meet together for various things online. More information to follow.
We will not meet for worship for at least one more week. But, we are working hard to get our live stream up this week. Our plan is to at least live stream the sermon this Sunday.
Watch your email for more information on this later this week. I will speak to you from Philippians 4:4-9. I have noticed that a lot of preachers focused on this text recently – the Lord’s leading. And please give us grace this Sunday as we have never put together a live stream. There may be a few bumps in the road. 🙂
Reasons for these decisions:
- Again I want to emphasize that these decisions are not based in any sinful fear of this virus. We do fear the Lord and we do love you! We are seeking to own our responsibility to shepherd the flock well, which includes looking after both your physical and spiritual health. We see danger ahead, and we want to protect you from it to the best of our ability. Please trust us and fight for the unity of Grace Church as we walk through this difficult time together. We will try to be very creative and foster a close connection with the entire body as we move forward.
- These decisions do flow out of a desire to love each other and our neighbor. Right now all of the true health experts seem to be lining up behind the idea that this is a real danger and we should all take drastic steps to contain it. Here is a link to one example: NIH Director: ‘We’re on an Exponential Curve’. Also, remember our study of the sixth commandment. We are not only avoid all sinful taking of life, but we are to take all necessary steps to preserve and protect life.
- Our government officials are pleading with us to take this threat seriously. The governor and the president are asking us to restrict gatherings to 10 or less for a short time. Scripture commands us to submit to government authorities as long as they are not asking us to sin, as they are instituted by God. (See Romans 13:1-7) It seems right now that all they are trying to do it protect us. So, we should do all that we can to help curb the spread of this virus.
- Please know that we are taking things on a week by week basis right now. As soon as it is reasonably safe for us to gather, even in small groups, we will do so. This is hard for all of us! But, as one pastor friend said, we can see this as persecution practice. There may come a day when we will need to be creative in ways to fellowship together. Here is s link to his sermon: Our Dwelling Place in Uncertain Times. I encourage you to listen to it.
- Last, if any of you are sick or in need, please let us know so we can serve you. We have volunteers who will make grocery store/drug store/ … trips for you.
That’s it for now. Watch for more updates soon.
Grace and peace,
Jeff (for the elders)