Mar14SatMarch 14, 2020
Hello First Mennonite Church family. I don’t know about you, but for me, this has been a roller coaster of a week as news reports have accelerated regarding the world-wide pandemic.
This is certainly new territory for many of us and it’s hard to know how to proceed. However, there are a few words that I want to share on behalf of the Elder Team out of a deep love for all of you.
First, I want to remind you that God is in control wants us to cling to Him. The Apostle Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the letter to the Philippians while in prison to Christians who were also facing uncertain days. The words of Scripture could not be more relevant. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Therefore, this is a new season for prayer, for worship, for Scripture and dependency upon the Lord.
Second, I want to encourage you to stay connected to trusted sources of information. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that “God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but a spirit of love, power and self-discipline.” Now is a time for discipline and discernment so we can be loving and wise people of peace. Also, please listen to the instructions which come from our local and state authorities.
Thirdly, I want to encourage you to be people of Christ-like love. You can love others by taking care of your own body and those who live within your house.
However, the unique Christ-like love that we can show is a radical love for our neighbors. If you are healthy, I encourage you to check in on your neighbors – especially those who are elderly. Offer to share what you have - if they have any need. Look for opportunities to pray for them and talk about the hope in Jesus Christ. This is an opportunity to be distinctly Christian.
As a congregation, your Elder team has met and believes that it’s best for us to follow the advice of healthcare professionals in our congregation and close all church activities effective immediately until March 30th. This means no gathering for worship tomorrow. (Ron’s Bell’s visitation and celebration of life service is the only exception. Those will continue as scheduled – tomorrow and Monday.) Otherwise, the church building will be closed through March 30th.
If a need arises for pastoral care, please don’t hesitate to call myself, Pastor Tom or anyone from the Elder team. We will be on-call through this crisis.
Pastor Tom and I will be sending out Scripture passages and discussion questions so we can still fellowship around the Word together – although from the comfort and safety of our own homes.
More information will be coming to you from your Elder Team before the end of the month.
In summary, brothers and sisters, trust in the Lord, stay informed, and love in radical ways. We can be distinctly Christian during this difficult season for the glory of Jesus Christ!