|Over the course of the last 24-48 hours as more information has come out we have decided that it would be best to cancel our services for this coming Sunday (and most likely more Sundays to come) as well as our Habits of Grace Seminar. We hope and desire that this decision is not motivated by fear but by wisdom and love for neighbor. Below is a letter written by one of our members (who is a lung doctor) that I thought was incredibly helpful and insightful. Please take time to read through it.
We are working through a plan for this Sunday in that we still believe that it is the Lord’s Day and still a day to set aside for worship. The hope is by Saturday night to send you a guide to have a time of worship at your home which will include a recorded message, a prayer guide, and songs. We also are asking the church to take Sunday to fast and pray. I attached HERE a blog by David Mathis that gives information on fasting, if that is a spiritual discipline that you are not familiar with. I also attached HERE a little blog that I wrote on family worship that will give you an idea on what we are aiming for on Sunday.
If you are willing to host people this Sunday or are desiring to find others to worship with please let me know. We also are looking for some help organizing how we might be able to meet through video conference calls for those who might be sick and will have to take more extreme measures of quarantine.
Please let me know what questions or concerns you have. Please also take time to pray for our church, for decisions we might be making as a church, and for decisions our government leaders might be making for our country.
May God use this time to cause us to trust in him more and to use his people (including us) to passionately and boldly share his gospel of peace to all of those around us!
From Dr Jay Tuck:
Greetings in the Name of our Sovereign Lord –
Pandemics are not new for mankind. But for most of us they’re things that happen in other places and in other times that haven’t affected us personally. The current COVID-19 virus pandemic is different. It appears to be a worldwide phenomenon that is directly threatening the health and sometimes the lives of many. And it’s indirectly affecting the normal patterns of life of most. Our congregation is no different. The pastors and deacons of Red Village church have been working with medical professionals in our congregation on some practical advice and policies to share with our people.
Use common sense preventative measures. Vigorous, frequent handwashing is an effective measure to prevent the spread of viruses.
Coughing and sneezing is often unavoidable. Make sure you’re doing it in a way that minimizes the spread of your respiratory secretions.
Minimize attendance and group events (more on this below). It’s possible to be infected with COVID-19 without ever getting sick. And, like most viral illnesses, COVID-19 spreads from infected people before they get sick.
“Flatten the curve.” It’s probable that a lot of people are going to get sick from this virus. One of the most important things we can do collectively is to keep that rate of infection low, so our healthcare systems don’t become overwhelmed. We have the capability of taking care of a lot of critically ill patients, but there’s a limit to that number. This article explains this principle in detail (warning: there’s math).
Do not expose your neighbors to your illness. If you are showing signs of infection (including fevers, chills, sweats, runny nose, etc.) you should avoid unnecessary gatherings of people.
Christians should treasure gathering as a body. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23–25). There are, and have been, Christians who risk their lives to meet together under threat of persecution. On the other hand, few would advocate that we should meet during a natural disaster (like an earthquake or a tornado). A pandemic, if severe enough, is more like a natural disaster. One of our challenges is that we don’t know how severe it’s going to be. Because we don’t know, and because meetings of large groups of people may be making this pandemic worse.
For now, we aren’t discouraging our small group Villages from meeting together. Gatherings of small groups aren’t as much of a threat as large groups for spreading infections. But we’re also not requiring our Village leaders to keep their meetings going. If you do meet, make sure to show courtesy to one another using the general principles outlined above.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Not everyone can afford to self-quarantine or practice “social distancing.” Economic pressure often makes this impractical. Please keep your eye out for people who may need help with practical matters (like money, help running errands, childcare, etc.).
If you need help or you know someone who does, your pastors and deacons are a resource for you.
God saved us “to love kindness” (Micah 6:8) and to be “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).
God works all things for our good, so we shouldn’t fear trials (Romans 8:28).
To die is gain, so we shouldn’t fear death (Philipians 1:21-23).
God takes care of birds and lilies, he’ll take care of us (Matthew 6:25-31).
UWHealth Covid-19 Info
Madison and Dane County Public Health
How DC Churches Responded When the Government Banned Public Gatherings During the Spanish Flu 1918