Dear missio Dei: Falcon
As we are all aware, the global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) dominates every news outlet. This is affecting almost every country in the world, and with over 33 cases in Colorado, is also an issue with local importance. With that in mind, the church would like to offer a couple of points to our body, for clarification and encouragement.
The news regarding the coronavirus is almost without exception in its negativity and can cause many people a great deal of stress and fear. The Scripture is clear that in moments of panic the answer is not to turn to social media, stockpiled groceries, or government briefings. Our hope is that this season would be characterized by us turning to the Lord in powerful, dependent, and regular prayer and worship. As we read in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
And yet as a body that gathers together regularly to stir one another up to good works (Heb. 10:24-25), there is a responsibility for prudence and wisdom to guide us during a season where an increased risk of sickness is a real possibility.
Our leaders and staff are taking the additional steps to do our best to provide a healthy and safe environment for our church:
- We have increased our regular cleaning and sanitizing of commonly touched and used surfaces (bathroom fixtures, door knobs, children’s ministry areas, tablecloths, etc.) with disinfectants.
- As we look to continue to worship and celebrate communion as a family, we will be altering our method to ensure a safe and clean environment.
- It is not a bad idea to limit the amount of physical contact with other members of the church. Jesus’ grace will cover a temporary suspension of Paul’s admonition to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (2 Cor. 13:12)!
School District 49 has put together a webpage laying out their approach to mitigating the COVID-19 virus. Some of the pertinent points for us include:
- We will continue to disinfect our schools during and beyond our upcoming two-week spring break to ensure thorough cleaning of surfaces and equipment throughout the district.
- Our operational support teams are updating their plans for preventing exposure and for continuity of operations if the district experiences partial or full closure.
- We are not currently planning to close schools, convert to e-learning, or cancel school events. If circumstances warrant, or a credible, medical authority directs us to modify those plans, we will communicate that direction immediately and decisively.
Our elders have been in discussion regarding contingencies and plans moving forward, and want the following to be clear:
- If someone does not feel comfortable attending church due to the virus’ spread they should feel no pressure to come on a Sunday morning. Sermons will be posted online following the service, and for those who are vulnerable or at a high risk of infection the last thing we want is for you to feel uncared for.
- We have no current plans to suspend our gatherings and are proceeding under the presumption that we will gather this Sunday and the following Sundays. But the following scenarios would lead to us having to move to a streamed online service:
- D-49 closes the school.
- A government agency with jurisdiction recommends curtailing or bans gatherings of a size that includes our church.
- Evidence of community spread in Colorado Springs suggests it would be prudent for us to suspend our gatherings.
- Acts 29 recommends suspending worship gatherings.
- Should our gatherings be suspended we will inform the church of the decision via all our normal modes of communication (email, website, social media, text).
Finally, a couple of general points of information that apply not only to us as a church body, but are good to remember for work, school, or other activities:
- If you feel sick, or know that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it’s important that you stay home. If you develop symptoms unique to the virus, seek medical attention quickly.
- The CDC has a good amount of information, but this page on basic mitigation measures is a good reminder of what you’ve heard often – wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with those who might be sick, and clean surfaces daily.
Again, the presence of a global virus means that we as a church must take all necessary precautions and guidance seriously when it comes to gathering as a people. But a moment like this, when fear and anxiety are the norm for most, is an opportunity for us as believers in Christ to show what is unique about our hope and joy. We acknowledge the weakness of our bodies and our susceptibility to disease, but the gospel reminds us that in our weakness, God’s power is made perfect (2 Cor. 12:9-10). It is God’s grace we need today, just as we needed it yesterday and just as we will need it tomorrow.
In Christ’s love,
missio Dei: Falcon