March 28th, 2020 Update

Dear Brethren,

Due to the concerns and effects of COVID-19, particularly the fact that the mayor’s proclamation makes gathering illegal, the elders have decided to not assemble at the building this Sunday, March 29th , and Wednesday, April. 1st . We will try to live stream our 11:00 a.m. worship on Facebook and ZOOM, and our Wednesday bible class 7:00 p.m. on ZOOM. I will have ZOOM going ten minutes before start time.  This will continue for the time being and until circumstances change.  We will reevaluate this often. If anyone has questions about our logic in making this decision, please contact the elders.

We are not happy with this state of affairs and have discussed at length what should be our reaction. There are diverse points of view and many faithful congregations are struggling with the same issue. Some are doing what we have decided to do, and others are physically meeting in one place to assemble. What others are or are not doing is their business. We are an autonomous church and have not taken this decision process lightly. Please know we care about each and every member of our local family.

It is important that we check on each other as this virus progresses. Every member is in a group overseen by a deacon, and we have asked our deacons to stay in contact with members of their group. We would also encourage every member to make a plan to call others in our congregation, especially our elderly, widows, widowers, and those who may be high risk.

Let us all continue in prayer for one another. Pray for us, the elders, that we will make good and wise decisions. Pray that this illness will soon be abated and with as few deaths as possible. We serve a Great and Living God.

Tim, Terry, Rowdy

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March 21st, 2020 Update

Dearest Brethren –

We are sending this to you all to make you aware of our discussions regarding the impact that the current COVID-19 pandemic has on the public worship of the church of Christ on Grissom Road.  In our discussions on this topic, we have been faced with a number of choices, none of which is optimal.  We have made the best choices we can in a very difficult situation, and we ask that you support us with your prayers and your acceptance. This letter is designed to provide the background for our discussions and requests and to inform you of our path going forward.  We will re-evaluate this path on a bi-weekly basis (if not more frequently) and advise you when it changes

Background

As you may have heard, the current pandemic is caused by a virus that is extremely infectious (including for an extended period of time when the carrier has no symptoms) and causes serious complications for about 20% of those who get it. These complications include lengthy hospitalizations (9-22 days) and, in a significant fraction of people who are hospitalized, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring artificial ventilator support. Those who recover from ARDS face extended recover times. The death rate for those who catch the virus is not well determined but appears to be above 1.5%. The complications are particularly severe and the death rate correspondingly higher for those who are older, who are immunocompromised, or are afflicted by cardiac and pulmonary diseases or diabetes.  The ultimate penetration of the disease in the general population of the United States is unknown, but is predicted to be very high and potentially beyond the ability of the country’s hospitals to cope.

These facts have led state and local governments to impose a variety of restrictions on activity, including a limitation on social events involving more than 10 people. Religious organizations are exempt from the legal requirements regarding assembling, but Christians are not exempt from the requirement to love their neighbor, in this case, by doing their utmost to avoid contributing to the spread of the virus by using “social distancing” techniques including avoiding contact with others when sick, maintain appropriate distancing (at least six feet), and washing hands frequently and thoroughly.

Plan

The following plan is designed to minimize the potential spread of the disease while allowing face to face worship for those who have decided to tolerate the risk and to provide a livestream worship option for those who feel that the risk is too high. If you do not feel that you can attend in person without undue risk, please feel free to stay home.  We will not think less of you for it.

Effective this Sunday and for at least the next two weeks, all classes are cancelled. – Our classrooms are arranged in such a way that it is impossible to maintain appropriate isolation distances, and it is impossible to keep children from close contact with one another in a classroom environment anyway.  You are free to take your child’s class material home if you want an organized class option.

Effective this Sunday, and for at least the next two weeks, we will have one service at 11:00. The service will also be livestreamed (more information should be provided tomorrow).

In connection with this plan, please observe the following:

 

  • We strongly urge that those who are at a higher risk for this disease not attend at all.  While we appreciate the zeal for God that prompts your desire to join us, we urge you to take a “in view of the present distress” approach. (1 Corinthians 7)  This is where Paul gave some personal advice to Christians due to their “present distress”. Circumstances motivated his guidance to the Corinthians.
  • If you are coughing, sneezing, or are in respiratory distress, or have a fever, please do not attend in person.

 

If you decide to attend in person, we request that you observe the following:

 

  • Confirm that you do not have a fever by taking your temperature before you arrive at the church building.
  • When you arrive at the church building, please wash your hands.
  • Keep at least a 6 foot buffer between yourself and those who are not a part of your immediate family. – this may require you to sit in a pew that is not your normal pew.
  • Refrain from hugging, shaking hands, and other close contact
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
  • Keep your children from interacting closely with children who are not their siblings.
  • Pray for and be conscious of your brethren who cannot attend.
  • Minimize the amount of personal interaction before and after services.

 

With faith and love for God, we will be able to endure the trial we are passing through.

Yours in Him,

Tim, Terry, Rowdy