Due to the rapidly changing times and uncertainty of the Coronavirus epidemic, the elders have decided to cancel all services and activities on Sunday, March 15th, 2020 and the Wednesday Evening Prayer Service on March 18th, 2020. This pause will give us additional time to determine how to proceed over the next few weeks. We are not closing down for any length of time, but we are adjusting to the needs of the hour.
"I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God."
What we are getting ready to embark upon for the next few weeks is called social distancing and quarantines. Social distancing involves everyone and quarantines for those who are sick.
These things are Biblical and were practiced by law in the Old Testament. They have been utilized throughout history and in America. One such example was the Spanish Flu in 1918. The effects of this outbreak were greatly diminished by the communities that practiced it. Other cities that waited too late, like Philadelphia, suffered greatly.
This is not a complete quarantine or shut down. It is an attempt to minimize the outbreak and not overload our infrastructure. People will still be going to work and there will be limited local activities.
Regardless, as a church, we are responsible for own response. It does not matter what everyone else is doing. So, what should we do?
First, our trust is in God. He is our hope and our refuge. Therefore, we are calling upon the members of Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity to join us in prayer and fasting on Sunday, March 15th, 2020. We should use this time to humble ourselves, repent, and seek the face of the Lord.
Second, we believe we are responsible to love and care for one another. This includes being levelheaded and compassionate. We believe it would be irresponsible to jeopardize the health and/or life of someone else in times of uncertainty. None of us are infectious disease experts and to make sure we are loving our neighbor as we ought, we believe we should give ourselves a little extra time to make sure we respond properly to this situation.
Therefore, we are canceling services for Sunday, March 15th, 2020. We are also canceling the Wednesday Evening Prayer service for March 18th, 2020.
At some point, we hope to have live streaming capabilities up and running. If we can do so quickly, we will live stream a condensed service this Sunday at 10:30 am. Depending on circumstances, we would then live stream Evening Prayer on Wednesday. However, the goal is to have the live streaming capabilities ready by March 22nd, 2020.
Although we are not sure about the degree, beginning on March 22nd, our services will be restricted. The details of this will be made clear next week.
What we do know, at least at this stage, is that for the next few weeks we will be asking anyone who has a fever, cough, runny nose, congestion, a general feeling of being unwell, etc., to refrain from attending services. If you are feeling sick or think you may be coming down with something, please stay home. This is not the time to pass off feelings of being unwell to anything other than being sick. May it was something you ate or maybe it is an allergy, but for now everything should be classified as being sick. There is a false idea due to false information on the internet that if you are young you have nothing to worry about with the Coronavirus. First, if you pass it along to someone who does have an underlying health issue you are putting them in a high probability of death. Second, it is not true that this virus does not have significant effects on those who are younger and in good health. Although the mortality rate is low among those who are younger, there are potential long-term effects on the lungs, much less the short-term misery of having the virus.
We will also ask those who are over 60 or have any chronic health issues to stay home. We will be networking and coordinating with any of our members in such conditions to make sure they have what they need to ride out this crisis with the least amount of public contact as possible.
Again, for those we will ask to stay home during the next few weeks, we will be providing a live stream of all services in the weeks to come. We will keep in constant contact and minister to their needs.
Whenever we do resume any level of public services, we will be suspending communion and any fellowship type of gatherings. There will not be any dinners or socials during this time. We will also be suspending Sunday School. All these things will be incorporated back into our practice as soon as it is appropriate.
There are other emergency plans and practices we will be enacting but this should be sufficient to give you an idea of how we will be operating for the next few weeks. We will release additional information as necessary.
We do not know how long we will operate in an emergency status. The President said the next 8 weeks is critical and so we assume there will be some kind of disruption for that length of time. Neither do we know how restricted our operations will be or what kind of projection for suspended activities to be reincorporated. Only the Lord knows the future.
Regardless of these disruptions to our normal routine, this ministry will continue to operate in full capacity. There may be disruptions and adjustments but we will continue to work just as hard as ever. Therefore, we hope you will remember to honor the Lord with your substance in your tithes and offerings to the Lord's work.
You can mail them to:
Reformed Church of the Holy Trinity
7542 E Landersdale Road
Camby, Indiana 46113
We hope you understand that what we are doing is for the welfare of the whole church, our families, and our communities. If we are going to err or make a mistake, let it be said of us that we erred by being too cautious rather than we were too reckless.
Please do not hesitate to contact the elders with any questions or needs.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
Pastor James Brown Jr.
"A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished." –Proverbs 22:3 (MEV)