In light of everything taking place around us right now in response to the Coronavirus I thought it would be good for me to give you some updates and some decisions we are working through. Today I have spent time talking with the medical people at RVC as well as other churches to start putting a wise plan in place for us. Below are some changes we will be making and potentially making:
Sunday Morning Worship Service: We are still planning to continue to meet on Sunday mornings for our church service but we will have a few changes including, for the time being, not participating in the Lord’s Supper or serving food. We will have hand sanitizer located throughout the sanctuary for you to use, and we ask you to avoid things like hand shaking or hugs.
Village Kids: At this point we still plan to offer our Village Kids classrooms but are planning to follow any policies put forth by the Madison School District. If schools are cancelled we will also be cancelling our Village Kids programs. Your kids are still welcome to join us in the sanctuary.
Cleaning: It seems like the most effective time to clean the building will be on Sunday mornings before the service. We are going to need about 5-10 people to come to the church building on Sundays by 8:00 to ensure we give a deep clean before people start arriving. If you would like to help let me know! Please don’t just assume others will sign up. It would be a much better problem to have more than enough people sign up than not enough! As we get people to sign up I will work on creating a volunteer schedule.
Villages/small groups: We are going to leave it up to each Village on whether or not they plan on meeting and what that might look like. However, that being said, our Villages might become even more important in the weeks ahead because it is beginning to look like it is possible that tight restrictions could be coming for large group gatherings which could affect our Sunday morning services. Small group gatherings could be a great way to stay in community and be in the Word.
Habits of Grace Seminar: The seminar is still scheduled to take place March 20-21, but I have been in contact with our speaker, David Mathis, and it seems increasingly likely that we will end up rescheduling until a later date. I will keep you posted as soon as decisions are made.
Sickness: If you or even if someone in your family/roommate is sick we ask that you would stay home until the sickness has passed. From what we are learning the virus can start out with the same symptoms as the common cold. If you end up staying home from church please note that you can find all of our sermons on our website as well as on iTunes.
Opportunities: Even though this seems to be a very serious issue that is before us this also seems to be a great opportunity for us to live out our faith with our words and with our deeds not just towards each other but to all of those around us.
As you talk with your neighbors and co-workers about everything that is taking place, can I encourage you to speak to them about the peace of Jesus Christ and find practical ways by which you can serve them?
Prayer: There obviously are a good number of things that we can be praying over. If it helps you organize your prayer life here is a little list: wisdom as decisions need to be made, unity for our church family, our seizing of opportunties to show love, healing for the sick, and that the gospel light would shine. Let’s also be praying for those serving in the medical field and their families. Between doctors, med students, nurses, health care providers and Epic we have a sizable portion of our church who are involved in the medical field.
Trust: As a church we are seeking to be as wise as we can be as decisions are made, but the wisest decision we can make is to fully trust in our God who is Sovereign over all things, including this. May God give us the grace to trust in his goodness, his power, and his plan as we long for all sickness and death to be forever removed from us when our Lord returns. May God also help us to remember because of the resurrection of Jesus we are ALWAYS people of hope.
As more decisons are being made I will keep you posted. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!
p.s. Here also is an article that I found to be helpful on the Gospel Coalition.
Here also is more information from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.