Worshiping the Lord and Covid-19
Dearest Church Family,
The recent outbreak of Covid-19 (or Coronavirus) has led to drastic changes to our civil policies across the face of the United States. This is no less true of Mid-Michigan. In an effort to battle the spread of the disease, many universities have shut down and the state of Michigan has closed down all K-12 public schools, while other states are taking even more drastic measures. Such measures are meant to be in the best interest of public health and welfare.
In light of these events, while Crossway will be meeting for our main worship gathering (11 a.m.) for the foreseeable future, the elders will be cancelling all gatherings outside of our main worship gathering this Sunday through the end of March. This includes the cancellation of Sunday School, prayer meeting, women’s book study, community groups, and shutting down the nursery. In what follows, we will explain our reasoning for this measure, and give some council and guidance for wisdom among our members.
First and foremost, none of the elders are epidemiologists, and we have no knowledge of how to assess the danger or severity of the situation. We must rely on the expertise of others. This expertise must be balanced with our due faithfulness to God’s Word and to the welfare of our sheep. Our decision to not have meetings outside our main worship gathering is based on the following considerations:
- A desire to limit the amount of contact possible between members, and especially children who are the most likely to spread the disease through inattentiveness to hygiene, and
- A desire to be faithful to the calling of God’s people to meet weekly for the reading and preaching of the word, prayers, and singing hymns to our God
We feel like our decision meets the best balance of these considerations. While we care about others and do not seek to further the spread of the disease, we also know that the gathering together of the saints is precious and important. Meeting in the same physical space reminds us of our need for one another, demonstrates the importance of dwelling together, gives us a picture of heaven, allows us to feed from the same spiritual bread of God’s Word, and allows us to raise our voices together in both prayer and song. None of these things are truly possible as God intended through meeting virtually online. Therefore, so long as it is feasible and wise, we will continue to meet together for our main worship service. In these gatherings, we will do what we can to foster good hygiene to limit the spread of Covid-19, including providing hand-sanitizer and suggesting limiting physical contact. The shutting down of the nursery is done to keep exposure to a minimum, especially as many of those who serve there are in higher-risk categories.
At the same time, we understand that not everyone will come to the same decision. Those who are most at risk may want to avoid our gatherings (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html), and many others will no doubt feel that their conscience will not allow them to come. For all who seek to handle themselves with wisdom through this time, we would ask you to consider the following:
- The shutting down of the nursery further means that more pressure will be felt by those who take care of small children who decide to gather for worship. Therefore, we ask that grace be given to those caring for small children who do decide to come to worship, and be patient with screams and crying.
- Further, as we have finished our study on the conscience this winter, remember the lessons that were learned. People will disagree with you on the most appropriate actions. Some think that staying in a self-imposed quarantine is the best way to demonstrate love for neighbor, while others think that gathering in worship is the best way to show love for God. These two things are not to be played off against one another, or weighed against the other. Outdo one another in showing honor by thinking the best of your brothers and sisters.
- Understand that the situation is fluid, and moving quickly. Your pastors are seeking to make these decisions on the fly, so to speak, and will be evaluating as events unfold. While the decision outlined above is the default for the remainder of March, we may need to reassess these decisions as events warrant.
- Be in prayer for your church members. There will no doubt be sickness and hardship. The economic impact of this will likely be large and difficult for many to weather. Pray for your siblings to be faithful, built-up, at peace, secure in Jesus, and bold in the gospel.
- Lastly, many of our friends and neighbors will be afraid for loved ones, for the welfare of their family, and will get little stability from the outside world. By God’s providential hand, this is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the Rock on which we stand, to spread the good news that there is a King whose name is Faithful and Just, and that death is ultimately defeated by his resurrection.
Please feel free to contact the elders with any questions that you may have. May the peace of Christ be with you all.
The Elders of Crossway Christian Church
Cell – (989) 245-4720
Home – (989) 473-3070
Cell – (989) 513-6735
Office – (989) 545-1861