Update On Sunday Service Preparations
Hello again Holy Cross Family,
Earlier this week we posted a letter online explaining our church's response to the coronavirus outbreak. In that letter we mentioned that we would be updating you with any adjustments to our ministry activities. As of this morning, we have decided to suspend our worship services for tomorrow, March 15th.
First, let me tell you why we’ve come to this decision:
We want to be clear that this decision is not based on fear - but rather out of an abundance of concern for the welfare of our neighbor. We are learning new things everyday about this virus. And the best way to suppress the spread of this disease is through social distancing when it comes to large crowds. This is a practical way to love those who are most vulnerable to complications from this virus. Neglecting the wisdom of government officials and healthcare professionals not only puts many at risk, but creates the potential for overcrowded hospitals and intensive care units in the days to come.
We are not suspending services as a response to fear or paranoia - rather out of an abundance of love for others.
You may be wondering if this applies to our Life Group gatherings as well. For now, we encourage you to continue to meet in these small gospel communities. They can be a vital avenue of gospel encouragement and rich fellowship yet likely pose a far less danger to the exponential spread of the virus. Even so, if you are feeling ill please stay home and rest. If you are uncomfortable attending a Life Group please don't feel burdened to attend. Let your Life Group leader know how they can be praying for you. As a reminder, this coming week our Life Groups are observing their scheduled Spring Break hiatus.
Second, I’ll explain what happens next:
Tomorrow around 10am, we will be uploading an audio version of our worship through singing and the preaching of God’s Word. We hope you will stop by our website to be ministered to in this way.
If Holy Cross is your church home, you can expect that your elders and deacons will be praying for you by name. If you would like to contact us for anything at all, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. These emails will be directed to our core leadership team and we will follow up. This may be a great option for those restricted to their home in need of prayer, groceries, or encouragement.
As of now, we will take one week at a time and continue to assess how to respond.
The best way to keep informed of any adjustments to ministry activities is through our “News & Announcement” page on our website. You can also sign up to receive emails from our church regarding important announcements like this one.
For now, please be encouraged through God's Word. We find encouragement in a somewhat ironic passage, Hebrews 10:23-24, which states:
"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."
I told you it was ironic! The gathering of God’s people for worship is central to our identity as rescued people. The writer of Hebrews encourages the church to not neglect the meeting for worship even at a time when they were forced underground by persecution.
How can we be faithful to Scripture in this time? For starters, not having our worship service should not cause us to think of Sunday as a second Saturday - but as a day of intentional worship. It is a time for rest from our labors and express acts of worship, mercy, joy, and mission. We encourage you to set aside time with your family to seek God's will and favor in prayer, to read Scripture, and express acts of mercy and compassion to others who need it.
We also encourage you to gather with others throughout the week; to eat together, pray together, and remind one another that our hope does not come from our health or circumstances but from the reality that we belong to God. We encourage you to be the church. Keep your eyes and ears open to the burdens of others and use your time, talents, and treasures to aid in the welfare of your neighbor. If this season reminds us of anything it ought to be that the church is not confined within the four walls of our building. The church is God's rescued people, showing and telling to the world the excellencies of His mercy, in Jesus Christ. We have countless reasons, church, to be joyful.
Remember this: We may be separated from one another for a season but we are never separated from the love of God.
We will keep you informed. We will be praying for you. And I long for the day we gather once again to praise God’s name together under one roof.