Dear Grace Church,
Well, it’s happened. The Greeley Tribune has informed everyone that the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment “on Monday afternoon issued a pandemic health emergency and a public health order requiring social distancing and canceling events of 10 or more people.”
The news obviously required a quick update to our elder agenda, and we have a few things to share with you as we, along with the rest of the world, respond to the unfolding providence of God. But first, take note of this:
For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Ps. 135:5-6)
(The whole of Psalm 135 is well worth your careful attention and prayerful meditation.) You need to know that your elders firmly believe in the goodness and wisdom of God, that the interruption of our “normal” will result in the blessing and strengthening of Grace Church, and rejoiced in talking together last night, planning, and praying for you all.
First, since the Weld Health order is in effect until April 8, Grace Church will not hold public services for the next three Sundays. (The 10-person limit precludes other church-related meetings as well, e.g., choir practices, Bible studies.) Instead, we will live stream a “service” at the normal time for the next three Sundays (10:30 am to 12:00 noon)—and longer, if the restriction is extended—so we encourage you to “participate” in your homes.
This coming Sunday, I intend to finish up the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:4); if you missed Part 1 (Luke 11:2-3), you can find that message here. Obviously, we’re not attending church, because we’re not gathered, but we want to continue getting a diet of God’s Word, and be able to respond in prayer and singing, which you can attempt to do “vibrantly” with other live-stream participants. If you sing loudly enough, maybe we can all hear each other from our homes.
Second, whatever your opinion about the nature of the pandemic crisis and the reaction to it, the reality is that there is widespread support (e.g., Democrats and Republicans, capitalists and socialists) for social distancing, staying home, and the hygiene recommendations we’ve heard so much about (click here for specific tips on prevention).
As our friend Don Green reminds us, none of us are public health or disease control and prevention experts. So we encourage you to obey the officials the Lord has ordained (Rom. 13:1-7) and not to think or speak disrespectfully about them (Tit. 3:1-2). Rather, pray for your leaders as they face the challenging task of responding to an unprecedented situation (1 Tim. 2:1-6); and men, we want to encourage you to take the lead in praying (1 Tim. 2:8).
Third, we have organized six “Care Groups” under the leadership of the six members of our Deacon Team. Each of those men are partnered with members of the elder team who will be reaching out to Grace Church members in the next few days. There are several purposes for the contact: to keep us all connected, to allow you to make needs known, to coordinate practical care, and to be as effective as possible in the ministry of prayer. If you have been attending Grace Church regularly, and you are not yet a member and would like to be added to one of our Care Groups, please email the office to let us know (email@example.com).
Fourth, please continue to give as unto the Lord, to support the ministry of Grace Church. This crisis will pass at some point, and we have so much to do together, serving in joy and hope until the Lord returns. You can click here to set up online giving or you can mail your checks to the office (6400 W. 20th St., Greeley, CO, 80634). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the office (970-330-1340) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Warmly in Christ Jesus,