There is good information from the Northeast District Department of Health which includes links to the CDC and other official sites.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM PASTOR MIKE (Updated 3/21/20)
First off, God is great, He is good, and we know that He works all things together for good. It is in times of trial that God often reaches people with power that they might know Him, trust him and receive His love. In a recent prayer meeting, we read Psalm 91, powerful words that comforted and energized. Read it aloud.
We have nothing to fear, nothing to lose and everything to gain in a time like this. Stay close to the Lord. Love Him like crazy. Love people like crazy and just watch what happens. I believe the Lord is offering us powerful opportunity right now. As He opens doors for the Kingdom, we will step through them. Buckle up!
I want to provide information to you, our church family, so we can together respond well to the ongoing Cornavirus outbreak.
1. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we need not fear or panic as we face a virus. Our great God has all this under control, He has a perfect plan, and we know He is working for our good right now (Romans 8:28). We also know that we are “bulletproof” in that even if an illness takes us from this life, or eternal future is certain, wonderful and immediate. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21). The principle – We will not allow fear for our personal safety lead our approach.
2. This virus can be very dangerous to people who are older and people who are immunocompromised. For them this is a life-and-death issue. We must do our very best to protect those most vulnerable both in our church family and in our larger community. The COVID-19 virus spreads by human contact, so we must do our part to reduce the opportunities for our contact with one another and the world around us to spread the virus to those whom it can kill. The term in use out there is “social distancing.” Of note is that in places like Italy, the pace at which the infection has spread has resulted in many more people needing acute hospital care than the medical system can take care of. People are dying while they await care. Slowing the rate of spread of the disease saves lives. The principle – We have an obligation to take action to reduce the rate of spread of the infection.
3. To paraphrase Spurgeon, the spiritual needs and sensitivity of people, believers and unbelievers, is greatest when there is “death in the air.” With the world around us seized by fear and perhaps facing serious illness and death, the spiritual battle is engaged. We need to be attuned to the Lord’s leading, encouraged and strengthened for the battle, and tightly connected to Him and one another. Satan’s best craft often begins by separating and isolating God’s people. I believe our corporate worship and prayer are essentials. The principle – We will prioritize continuing to meet for worship.
4. It is possible that many people in our community will get sick. Many will have needs. The Church is always on mission to love, to sacrifice and to share the Good News. We may have opportunities to deliver supplies to people in quarantine or pray with someone who is critically ill. As believers, our eternity is safe and secure. For unbelievers on death’s door, we, the Church, are their only and last hope. Jesus laid down His life for us and calls us to do likewise. I liken it to the United States Marines. When they hear gunfire, they run toward it, never away. The principle – This not about us and we must be prepared t take personal risks for the sake of others.
5. Our God is in control. He is all powerful and all wise. We must look to Him for deliverance and truth. Prayer is essential. The principle – Continuous prayer must be central.
6. There is a wide range of public opinion out there as to how to react, ranging from indifference to panic. Much of the confusion is from lay people trying to synthesize things from news, social media and sources with political bias. The Centers for Disease Control, Federal and State Governments and the Northeast District Department of Health (our local public health officials) have the very best up-to-date information. The principle – We will follow the advice and guidelines from official sources.
Practices – Updated on March 21, 2020 (watch for updates):
1. Sunday worship and all face-to-face ministries and meetings are suspended indefinitely.
2. The church online calendar (cceastford.org/calendar/) is the place to go for information like links to online worship, Zoom prayer and Bible study meetings as well as for the most up-to-date schedule information
3 We will be offering Sunday worship online, conducting every-other-day Zoom prayer meetings and there will be Zoom Bible study soon.
4. If you have any symptoms of illness, please stay away from people.
5. No handshaking or physical touch when we are together.
6. Wash your hands. Do not touch your face.
7. Please pray for all those afflicted, for safety and healing, for health care professionals for wisdom, stamina and safety, and for the Gospel to touch those whose hearts the Lord may be opening. Pray for the Church to seize the Kingdom opportunities the Lord will present to us. May He be glorified in the midst of all of this!
8. If you know of any needs, let us know too. Email Pastor Mike – email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org
There is good information from the Northeast District Department of Health.