The elders met last night via video to sort out a plan for continuing to be the church during this season of necessary "social distancing." Until further notice we're going to be suspending all official in-person gatherings and meetings of the church, including Sunday morning services, in order to comply with the clear directives from authorities, and to do our part to slow the spread of this highly contagious virus and reduce the risk for the most vulnerable around us. This does not mean, however, that we're putting our mission and our collective calling as a church on hold.
We're encouraging us all to continue to connect with each other and care for each other, even if we're "hunkering down" in our own homes. God designed us in such a way that we need each other in order to thrive and to grow. For at least the next few weeks we can't get together in the same literal space, but we all have phones and internet, and there are all kinds of great tools for connecting "face to face" from a safe distance. We're asking each of you to reach out to people in the church family that you normally would talk with on Sundays or in your small groups. Check in with each other, see how they're doing, learn about any needs or challenges they're facing, encourage them, pray with them.
We'd also challenge us all to reevaluate our "front lines" — those places where we interact on a regular basis with people who don't know Christ — which may have changed now that many of us are working from home. Are there neighbors or others near you who could use a phone call to see how they're doing? Are there people in the "at risk" category for the virus who may be afraid to go grocery shopping, whom you could offer to help by picking up some food for them? We're to be the hands and feet of Jesus, even if in this setting we need to wash those hands more frequently.
Mark will send a followup a little later, which will include something about our plan for Sundays. We'll be offering some resources and opportunities and challenges to continue to be fed from God's word, so that we can all continue to grow in GRACE even when we're not physically in the same place.