Updated: March 28, 2020
- Do not attend services in person on the church property until further notice.
- Only people essential to leading the worship service (fewer than ten members) will be meeting at the building, in order to broadcast services.
- Please use our livestream capabilities to watch our Sunday morning worship services.
We are asking all people not to attend services at the church property until further notice, but instead to use the Sunday morning service we are providing on YouTube. On Sunday mornings, we will have fewer than ten members who are essential to providing that online service at the Worship Center, but ask that all others not come to the property. Stand by for further details for plans for Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. In the coming paragraphs, we hope to explain to you how we have come to make this decision and every one along the way as we have navigated this trial. We hope and pray that this is a short-term solution, and that we can get back to meeting together in person very soon.
Please know that we have not made any of the decisions along the way lightly. We have taken into consideration: Scripture, Prayer, Government Law, and guidance from resources like the CDC. As we stated in the last writing, we do not believe this is a tool the Government is using to infringe on religious freedoms. If that were the case, our response would be much different. Instead, we believe the Governor has enacted the recent Executive Orders in response to the declared pandemic, and he believes he is doing what is right for the health of the Commonwealth's citizens. We are making this decision in keeping with Romans 13 which states, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good and you will receive his approval."
Factors that have guided our decisions
We have been using scripture, like Romans 13 and Titus 3, and prayer to guide us.
Governor Ralph Northam signed on March 23, 2020, Executive Order 53. This order prohibits public or private gatherings of 10 or more people. We will abide by this order guided by respect for Paul's instructions in Romans and Titus.
Prior to this, the Governor signed another Executive Order, effective March 16, 2020, which stated, "WHEREAS, in an effort to increase social distancing to inhibit spread of the virus, Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam included in that announcement that all restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters are mandated to significantly reduce capacity to 10 patrons, or close; while encouraged to continue carry-out and takeaway options;" All along the way we have attempted to be within the guidelines of the government orders. The government decisions to enact these Executive Orders have likely been in line with guidance from the CDC that provides guidance on this matter. The first Executive Order did not apply to churches and many other locations that were still allowed to have larger groups so we were guided by that, but cancelled some events just to be cautious.
We did keep the regular meeting times on Sundays and Wednesdays. We also took other protective measures to include:
- Encouraging social distancing.
- Offering communion in a manner that limited the touching of it.
- Provided the opportunity to participate from home if you chose to do that or if you are in some way of had contact with people who in some way are medically compromised.
The CDC provides guidelines for three categories for the spread of disease:
- No Community Spread
- Minimal to Moderate Community Spread
- Substantial Community spread
The CDC offers action recommendations based on these three categories. At first, we were in the first category and we acted accordingly. Last week I would suggest we were in the second category and acted in accordance with the suggestions there. This week it would seem we may be entering the third category and the Governor has enacted his Executive Order in response.
It seems no one can agree what the proper level of response is: from nation to nation, state to state, county to county, institution to institution, person to person. There are responses that range from total isolation, as in "shelter in place", to very little limitations at all. Please be patient with us and each other as we move through this trial. We will continue to pray for you and for guidance. Let us know if there is any way we can serve you better.
In Christian Love,
Kent, Charlie, Pat, Steve