March 14, 2020
Greetings in the Name of Christ Jesus,
I will begin by reminding you of a passage of scripture sent to the Central Rocky Mountain Region yesterday by our Executive Regional Minister, Joan Bell-Haynes:
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (NRSV)
I am writing to you in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic with an important message about our worship community, First Christian Church, Grand Junction.
Even as we celebrate the knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, we live in a time of anxiety and disruption to our daily lives as a result of this pandemic. As a church community, it is our task to discern how God desires we best live out God’s commandment given through Jesus to love God and love our neighbors in the midst of any time, even such a time as this.
Following a conversation yesterday with the members of the congregation’s Executive Committee, I am writing to inform you of the following decisions made by that leadership body:
- We will not be gathering at the church building for Sunday School or worship this Sunday, March 15 or next Sunday, March 22.
- Until at least Monday, March 23, all meetings and group gatherings at the church building are suspended.
- While the church staff plans to continue working Monday-Thursday at the church building, we ask that you make no face-to-face visits with the church staff. Please plan to make all visits via phone calls, emails, texts or other non-face-to-face means.
- The Executive Committee will meet weekly/regularly to discern when we can continue regular gatherings at the church building and will keep you informed.
While these measures may seem extreme, they are intended to protect and care for you, the members of this congregation. Our congregation is one with many members who have a heightened risk for a significantly negative reaction to the virus. If we can prevent even one member from becoming seriously ill by these actions, we will have performed a great service of love.
During this time, it would be easy for us to drift apart and to succumb to anxiety. I also don’t want this to happen. As a result, I will be tasking our Elders and Membership committee (along with Pastor Melanie and myself) with implementing plans to keep us connected with one another. Also, I will continue to send out daily readings for reflection, Monday through Saturday, as well as the full texts of my sermons each Sunday.
It is my hope that we find a way to emerge from this Pandemic strengthened and more close-knit as a congregation focused on God’s love and God’s will. I will do all I can to make strides toward that end, and I ask you to help me in this endeavor. If you are able, please spend additional time in prayer with God, as well as additional time keeping connections with members of your church family.
Please let me know if you have any questions. You can respond to me via email at email@example.com or via phone at 970-644-2274.