Ryan Thompson · 3/17/2020
With the recent changes to the strong recommendations of national, state, and local leaders as well as medical professionals, we are making the necessary changes for how we will meet with one another for the next couple of weeks. We are cautious to make long predictions with how rapidly things are changing, and so for the time being, we are making plans two to four weeks in advance. We will be sure to keep you informed as these plans change.
For the next four Sundays (3/22, 3/29, 4/5, 4/12), we will not have any corporate worship gatherings. Instead, we will be offering a worship service online every Sunday morning at 10:30 AM on Facebook. More information to come later this week. In the meantime, please get on to Facebook and like our Facebook page! If you don't have a Facebook, get one even if only for the purpose for connecting with us online. These gatherings are CRITICAL in these chaotic times for us to be together and stay rooted in the Word of God and in prayer. Make it a priority NOW for you and/or your family to participate in these worship services. If possible, invite someone over to your home and watch as a small group. This is your opportunity to be "missionally lazy"! Share the worship service on your Facebook page. Host a watch party and invite people to attend. Let's not miss out on this unique opportunity to share the best news in all of the world with people that are living in a world that seems to be constantly flooded with bad news! Also, don't forget that we have a Cornerstone Church Spotify playlist that has all of our worship songs from Sundays as well as new songs that we will introducing over the next few months...this can be a great resource for worshipping in your home!
For the next two Wednesdays (3/18 and 3/25), there will be no Community Group gatherings (the reason for only preemptively cancelling two weeks versus the four for Sunday worship is the smaller size of these gatherings). We will be assessing different ways for us to gather and meet together after these two weeks if the social distancing recommendations look to be long term. In lieu of community group gatherings, I will be hosting a Zoom call every Wednesday night at 6:30 PM. On these weekly Zoom calls, we will be able to share truth from God's Word, pray with one another, hear updates from one another, and actually see each other's faces! For this work, you need to download the app Zoom on your personal computer or mobile device. Create a free login. Then, join the meeting by clicking the link a (Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/921411690)
Prayer meetings will continue on Tuesday mornings at 6 AM, and we will be adding an additional prayer meeting on Fridays at noon. We do not expect these prayer gatherings to be greater than 10 people. If they are, then we will just split the gatherings into two groups. All social distancing practices that have been previously communicated will be in place at these gatherings.
All other gatherings (Leadership training, children's discipleship, Women's Bible study, etc) will be cancelled until further notice.
Please let me remind you why we are making these changes. Again, it is not because of fear. Jesus is our Sovereign Lord and Gracious Redeemer, and we trust Him. So, three primary reasons for these changes...
1. To be a witness to the watching world. We are gladly submitting to the authorities where God has placed us. This governmental guidance is not at all to prevent us from worshipping God together but to keep the contagion from spreading (otherwise we would obey God rather than men!). We will continue to pray for our local and government leaders who are making these difficult decisions for us that are quite literally life and death for some people.
2. To love and serve those around us. The purpose of cancelling our gatherings is to "flatten the curve", and thereby doing our part to slow the spread of the illness and limit the number of new cases at one time so that our healthcare system is better able to care for those who are critically ill. By eliminating the sources of potential contagion that our gatherings could cause, we are loving and serving our neighbors, especially those who are most at risk.
3. To not cause anyone to feel unfairly pressured to attend. I know that some of you would love for us to gather together, maybe even pushing some of the precautions that we have been given (trust me, your elders would too!). But in addition to the two previous reasons why we wouldn't want to gather in such ways, if we were to have gatherings regardless, there may be some who feel unfairly pressured to attend. We just don't want that to be the case for some people when at this moment, it is actually the safest and wisest option right now to avoid large gatherings.
This past Sunday during our worship service, I gave some reflections on the coronavirus. You can listen to what I shared (and the entire worship service) on our SoundCloud Page and on the Website.
We are saddened to have to cancel these gatherings for the time being. We love seeing you face to face and being with you! But you can be assured that your elders are making these decisions after diligently processing all of the information, discussing these things together in unity, and seeking the Lord in prayer. God is sovereign and He is good, and I trust that we will all be stronger in faith, more unified in mission, and freer from the sins of idolatry at the end of this. This is a reminder to us that the building is not the church, but we are the church. And we must continue to be the church to one another in the trying days ahead.
I love you and I'm praying for you.
If you need anything at all, do not hesitate to reach out to your Community Group Leaders. You can also feel free to contact one of your elders directly. Our contact information is below:
- Ryan - 409-718-6514; email@example.com
- Stephen - 409-626-2094; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Paul - 409-454-9461; email@example.com
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