As your shepherd, I cannot express to you how much I love our church body. Faced with the reality that our worship and ministry may look radically different over the next few weeks has been gut-wrenching for me.
Your love for the gospel challenges me daily. Your love for one another is unique. Making changes to the ways in which this is displayed is not a small thing. However, we are at a moment where significant changes must be made to our Sunday gatherings.
We still plan to meet on Sundays. This will be a week by week decision as information regarding the Coronavirus in our community continues to develop. We believe that the gathered church is an essential witness to the Lordship of Jesus in the world. Our prayer is that we can continue to maintain this witness in the regular pattern of our gatherings as consistently as we can in these days. However, because we must also seek to love our neighbor our gatherings will look different as we meet.
If you are sick, please stay at home! If you are running a fever or coughing, please consider how your presence could affect the health of others.
FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO NOT ATTEND
To be clear, if you fall into an age category or if there are health concerns that would make contracting the Coronavirus devastating for you, there is no pressure to attend worship. There is no guilt if you choose to remain at home. Even more, if this is you, please prayerfully consider the serious health warnings that are being made about the effects of COVID-19 and the danger of large crowds.
If you stay at home, we ask that you engage in our worship service online. We are working to make our livestream the best quality we can. At this time, our service will broadcast on our Facebook page. Watch with your family. Read the Scripture. Sing the songs. Pray together. Give online. Engage in worship the best you can from home.
FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO ATTEND
Wash your hands before and after service. Our Frontline Team will be holding all doors for you. There will be no Coffee and Donuts Served. We will be constantly cleaning all surfaces. The offering will not be passed. There will be a box in the back to give. There will be no Greeting Time. We ask that you not shake hands or hug.
We will not have our normal Ashland Kids activity. We have been advised that while the virus has not affected kids the way it does older adults, grouping our kids together is a way in which the virus will spread more rapidly. So we ask that you keep your children with you in the service.
PRACTICE SOME SOCIAL DISTANCING
As best you can, practice some social distancing. We meet in a massive warehouse with large open spaces. Without hallways and small spaces, in which we must pass or come in close contact with one another, this is something we can easily do.
Know that I have more than agonized over the decisions that face us as a church family in the days ahead. My week has been spent in contact with leaders in our community and healthcare professionals. I have spent late nights on the phone and in meetings with men and women who care for our church. I hope you realize that each and every decision we have made and will make comes from a deep love that only continues to grow for this church body.
I love you,