Dear Church Family,
This is certainly a time for courage, not fear. The news in the past 48 hours has come at dizzying speed as everything from Disneyland to the NBA to schools have announced closures.
It is hard not to have some sort of emotional reaction as we watch what is taking place around us. I was reminded of the fact that my own Great Grandfather died in the Influenza outbreak of 1918. Ironically, he had come to America to escape the epidemic in Europe that took the life of his own father. But what ever history or the news tells us, this is not a time for fear, but rather a time to radiate the love and hope we have in Jesus Christ to our neighbors.
I encourage you to prepare without panic, and realize there may well be some difficult days ahead of us. As followers of Jesus this is a time for us to shine in our faith representing God’s goodness and reflecting God’s love. This is a time for each of us to continue to respond in worship for the love and assurance we have in Jesus. This is also a critical time for us to love our neighbors.
Loving our neighbors is what will drive the decisions we make as a church. Through the centuries, the church has perhaps shined brightest in moments of great need. My prayer is that we will be such a church to our neighbors in the coming weeks. The question we face is, “how do we best love our neighbors?”
Practically, loving our neighbors well requires us to make some changes in the short term.
We have made the difficult decision to cancel this coming Sunday’s worship service as we work through how to best follow the guidance from state authorities and experts. I want to be clear, this is not driven by “playing it safe” but rather to ensure we are not inadvertently causing transmission in our community. I commit to keep you updated on our planning as we move forward. We will resume Services as soon as we can responsibly ensure that doing so will not increase potential spread of the Novel Corona Virus. Later today, we will email resources to help your family celebrate Jesus together this Sunday. My hope is this will be a meaningful and memorable time for you.
Please pray in particular for our efforts with Feed Hope. With the cancellation of school next week and the need only increasing, the efforts have become greatly complicated. Fortunately, we have already spoken with Holt leadership and the volunteers who oversee the weekend
food program to begin planning for this scenario. Reed will let you know just as soon as we have a plan for packing and delivering food to families in need. In the meantime, I would encourage you to gather some of the needed food items if you are out shopping. Many of the families we serve are going to be hit the hardest economically by the slowdown at restaurants and retail stores. Food items can be dropped at the church Monday or Tuesday.
Our community groups will continue to meet as their leaders see fit. State guidance is clear that groups of around 10 people are not problematic or discouraged. We want to continue meeting together and encouraging one another in Christ. If you are not a part of a community group, this is a fantastic time to join with one. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get connected.
Our leaders will be making extra effort to keep in touch with you as we work through this. Please be clear that if you have ANY needs, whether it be financial hardship or someone to get groceries, we want to help however we can.
I may be working from home much of next week, as my kids are out of school. The quickest way to reach me is by email at email@example.com. My email comes directly to my phone.
Friends, make extra effort this week to care for one another. Be intentional in checking on your neighbors and showing the love of Jesus. This is not a time to be afraid, but a time to act with intention and love; a time to show Jesus through our words and actions of comfort and support.
Watch your email for additional resources later today. And friends, pray for our neighbors, our authorities and for God’s spirit to lead you to love your neighbors well.