Good Afternoon Church Family,
What an interesting time this is for the entire world! The spread and threat of COVID-19 has our attention and it looks like it will temporarily change the way we all live, including the ways we gather as a church. What it will not change is who we are as followers of Jesus, and who our Savior is as King of Kings and Creator and Sustainer of all things. This might be the first time we have faced something like this in our lifetime, but it is not the first time the church has faced a global pandemic. God has been faithful to cause his church to endure and we know that whatever occurs in the coming months, the Lord is still with his church and promises to sustain her through this.
After much prayer and discussion and in an effort to love our neighbors and our own church family well, here is how the Elders have determined to move forward at this time:
To best care for and to extend love for our church and city we have decided to suspend our normal Sunday gatherings (both 8:30am & 10:30am). During times like this we must keep in mind the truth that the church is not the building, or the Sunday gatherings – but the people of God purchased by the blood of Jesus. With that in mind – we continue to be the church! While things may look different for us over the next days, we must see this as a beautiful opportunity for God to grow our affections for him and to grow our love for one another!
God is worthy of worship and we want to continue to provide opportunities for guided worship. We plan to have a video recording of the sermon available on our blog on Sunday morning (we will provide the link soon). Along with the sermon we will also post the accompanying liturgy with all of our normal elements (Welcome / Call to Worship / Confession / Assurance / Adoration etc.). We will also post a Spotify playlist of the songs for that Sunday. This is a temporary solution to a new challenge and while less than ideal, it will help us show love to one another, especially the most vulnerable to this virus, by limiting exposure and being united in our virtual gathering. This will last until the recommendations for large gatherings return to normal.
In times like these, we need one another. In an effort to continue to foster community as well as regular gathered worship, if you are healthy and comfortable, we would encourage you to consider gathering with your Township on Sunday at 10am. Walk through the written liturgy together. Watch (or listen to) the sermon together. Listen to the songs and sing along. If someone in your Township is able to play a guitar or piano, ask them to lead you in singing. Pray for one another. Encourage one another. This may be a great opportunity for us to experience God’s love and kindness through smaller, more intimate gatherings.
If you are sick, susceptible or do not feel comfortable with this smaller sized gathering, we encourage you to still gather in your home with your family or roommates on Sunday at 10am. Tune in with others to the guided content/worship experience we will provide on our blog.
This is a time for loving others, not a time for judging. Each person will need to do what their conscience permits them to do about gathering with others. Some may feel comfortable gathering while others may not. Both are under the gracious hand of God who accepts us not because of what we will do or not do, but because of what Christ has already accomplished.
We would also encourage Townships to continue meeting during the week. I will say it again – we need one another. If your fellowship with others has consisted primarily of our Sunday morning gatherings, we would encourage you to connect to a Township that will continue to be together throughout the week (whether in person or virtually). If you are not a part of a Township, we want to help you connect to one – even if it is just for this particular season. Please contact Josh McGeehan ([email protected]) and he will connect you to a Township.
Caring for One Another Practically:
We understand some of you may experience disruptions to your normal work lives. We also understand some of you will face challenges to your work schedules because the schools are extending Spring Break. Others, because of health risks or medical concerns, may not be able to get out of your homes for regular errands. Your Township or our deacons are a resource for you. This is not a time to feel as if you are burdening others. We are in this together as a family and this is a beautiful opportunity for the body to function properly. Our deacons may not have all of the answers or solutions, but they are available as a resource as you try to adapt to a new way of life. Please reach out to them – [email protected].
In a time of uncertainty, possible anxiety and what seems like constant bad news, let’s be the people of God with good news and find creative ways to extend the love of Christ as we share our lives with one another. This is an opportunity for us to be the church as we trust the God who cares for us and sustains us. This is an opportunity for us to be light in a dark world looking for hope. We have a unique opportunity in front of us to seek the welfare of our city together.
If at any time you need to talk through any of this or if you have questions, the staff and elders of The Town Church are available. Here are the email addresses for the staff elders.
As elders, we take seriously God’s call on us to shepherd the flock willingly and eagerly, as examples (1 Peter 5:1-5). We love you and care for you deeply. We are praying for health, patience, endurance, deeper trust in and greater affections for Jesus! This does not catch him off guard. He knows us, knows our needs and has a plan for us.
This is all about the fame of Jesus!
Vince (on behalf of the elders of The Town Church)