Pastoral letter June 26, 2020

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Most of you know by now that Texas is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.  In the midst of this surge, several of you have asked if there will be alterations in the church’s plans to hold worship.

The short answer is that, at least for now, we will continue to have in-person worship.  As we do so, we ask that you be especially diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and washing and sanitizing your hands.

Thank you so much for your willingness to take these measures, and for putting the welfare of others before your own, especially when these measures may run up against your personal preferences.  Our desire is to do as much as possible to keep the church a safe environment for the most vulnerable members.

We also urge you to use great caution in determining whether or not you should attend worship in person. The Centers for Disease Control has expanded their guidelines of medical conditions that may lead to severe infections from the COVID-19 virus.  Please stay safe, and exercise prudence and wisdom as to whether you will put yourself in a greater position to bring harm to yourself or any of your loved ones by coming to worship. Live streaming of our worship services is available, and you may participate in either the Zoom meeting of Sunday school or access the recording that is posted on our Facebook page.

WORSHIP UPDATE

In this past Tuesday night’s session meeting, we agreed to resume celebration of the Lord Supper at the evening service on Sunday, July 19.  In order to reduce hand to hand contact, we will be making some changes in how we distribute the elements. We will let you know more as the time approaches.  We are thankful to have the opportunity once again to benefit from this means of grace.

THE CHURCH AS AN “ESSENTIAL SERVICE”

One of the phrases that has come into our vocabulary this year is “essential service.” Essential services are businesses and institutions that must continue operating for the public welfare despite the risk of contracting and transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

State and local governments have agreed that there are a number of services that meet these criteria. Among the obvious our hospitals, grocery stores, and pharmacies.  But I find it curious that in many states, liquor stores meet the criteria for being an essential service, and churches do not. I would like to think that the church is at least as necessary for the societies well-being as liquor stores are!

I understand the public health risks of large groups of people gathering together, and the need for prudence and caution, as well as the necessity for some to have to forego coming together in person.  While there is a tension that must be navigated here, this does not take away from the necessity of the Church, both for her members and, as salt and light in a dying world.

This post begins to explore the idea of the Church as an essential service to society.  It’s reductionistic to use the vocabulary of “goods and services” to describe the function of the church. The church performs a function that no other institution has been ordained to perform.  The church is the divine institution to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If the salvation of the world is the greatest need, the church is the most essential service on earth.

The article referenced earlier mentions that COVID-19 makes the point that churches are always operating with limited resources.  For now, we have elected not to resume many of the ministries is that we normally perform. The writer suggests is that COVID-19 is a time for the church to reassess her priorities, and leverage her strengths for her God ordained mission.

ZOOM SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES RECORDED

We have started recording the Adult Sunday School class that is offered on Zoom. Those recordings will be made available on the church Facebook page. You can access these at any time.  Both audio and video will be available, either to watch or listen on the Facebook page, or download to your device.

CHURCH SERVICES

Once again, as long as social distancing is recommended, if you decide to stay home for reasons of conscience or from an abundance of caution, we honor, respect, and support your decision. We continue to offer livestream service at 11 AM and 5 PM here.  If you find that there are still starts and stops and gaps in the livestream service, you may access the recorded service, which is available shortly after the conclusion of the livestream.  This should eliminate those difficulties.  If neither of these works well, our audio sermons are available at Sermon Audio.  We are continuously working to improve the quality of our livestream, so hopefully, it will improve week by week.

ZOOM SUNDAY SCHOOL

Pastor Julian Zugg will continue to teach the adult Sunday School class on the Holy Spirit on Zoom.  Watch your email for the Zoom links to Adult Sunday School, which runs from 9:40-10:30 and the Zoom chat after Evening Worship, which begins around 6:15.

Your officers are praying for you. And remember, if you are ever in need of spiritual counsel or prayer, please ask me, Pastor Lou, or one of the elders. This is what we are here for.  We are happy to serve you in this way!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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