On one hand, it seems like things are moving so fast! On the other hand, last Monday – when I sent out the first coronavirus email – seems like months ago. Such is life right now. There’s no better time to know that our God is sovereign over every particle on the planet (Eph. 1:11).
The elders met on Monday night March 16, 2020 to discuss all things church related to the coronavirus.
Here’s what we know:
- In Vt, Governor Scott’s executive order which initially prohibited gatherings of 250+, has now been amended to prohibit gatherings of more than 10 until April 15th
- The CDC recommends that groups larger than 50 people not meet for 8 weeks
- The President’s “15 Days To Slow The Spread” asks that groups of more than 10 not meet for the next 15 days.
Clearly, this is a serious situation. We take the wisdom of entities such as these who look out for the good of the nation to be God’s gift to us and we should heed their counsel.
Here’s what we’re doing:
Based on this information, Redeeming Grace is temporarily cancelling all services and ministries. This includes our Lord’s Day Gathering, Home Groups, Live!, Awana, Men’s Prayer, On Mission, and Flourish. At the current time, we are cancelling these until April 6th. However, we anticipate likely needing to extend this. In times such as this, we understand that it’s not a sin to not meet as a church. We are not disobeying Heb. 10:24-25 in these unique circumstances.
Where do we go from here?
Some of you may be asking if we will live stream a worship service on the internet on Sunday mornings. We totally understand why you’d ask. Missing the Sunday gathering for the next several weeks, or possibly longer, is painful! It’s heartbreaking to not gather together as a church family to read the Word, pray, sing together, hear the Word preached, take the Lord’s Supper and enjoy meaningful interactions. We can’t do this and it hurts. But we also know that we can’t reproduce this online. Jesus dwells with his people in a special way as the church gathers in one location and it can’t be replicated by streaming a service with no one in the building.
At the same time, we can do something to address the desire for connection and spiritual nourishment that I know many are feeling. On Sunday morning, we’re intending to offer some form of a streaming fire-side devotional or interactive bible study of sorts. We’re also considering sending brief daily videos that are both devotional and informational. More details to come.
During this time, home group leaders will be reaching out to everyone in their home group weekly via phone call to check in. Please let them know how you’re doing and if you have any needs, whether financial, childcare, or anything else for that matter. We intend to make increased benevolent funds available and I’ve already had members reach out to me and offer to help any who need help with grocery shopping, errands, childcare, etc. So, share your need, brothers and sisters! We will resource it as best we can.
Your continued generous, sacrificial, and consistent giving is important at this time. In fact, if you’re in a position to give more than you normally do, that would be helpful as there will be others who cannot give what they normally do. The giving box will continue to be checked on a weekly basis, you can mail your check or stop by in person as I will continue to be in the office much of the time, or you can also set up auto bill pay with you bank.
A Special Opportunity
Brothers and sisters, despite the challenges of this season, it also provides us with a couple of special opportunities.
This time provides us with a special evangelistic opportunity. Many are understandably fearful right now and it is a powerful witness to see followers of Christ not characterized by fear but by faith in our good and all-powerful God. Let our steady trust in Him during these troubled times shine a winsome gospel light to all we come into contact with (albeit remaining 6ft from them:). And check in on your neighbors. Do they need something? Be there for them. As Galatians 6 encourages us, so then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
This time also provides a special discipleship opportunity. Some of you are going to have more time on your hands than you might normally have. How are you going to use that time? Let me encourage you to not spend more time in the headlines than you spend in the Word of God and in prayer! The headlines will not steady your faith, they will not encourage you, they will not build you up. But God’s Word and prayer will. May this season be a time where your faith is strengthened, where Jesus becomes more precious to you, and absence from the gathered body causes your heart to long for the time when we can be together again.
That’s all for now, Redeeming Grace. Expect to hear more from us soon.