Hello church family,
I wanted to follow up on my email yesterday, given some of the developments over the last 24 hours. In case you missed the announcement, Ohio has closed all schools for the next three weeks, and banned all gatherings of 100 people or more.
After much consideration (as well as discussion with other pastors in the area and advice from the district office), the leadership of Community Bible Church has decided to respect the intentions of the government, and cancel our services for the next two weeks. While I realize this decision may disappoint some of you (actually truthfully I hope it disappoints all of you. I'm disappointed it's come to this, but I firmly believe it is the correct course of action), please trust we arrived at this conclusion carefully. As we discussed the various options, weighing the possible outcomes, we unanimously agreed this was the best choice for the entirety of our congregation and the public.
We still intend to give the church body a chance to worship collectively, so we will be streaming a service on our Facebook page with worship music and a message at 10:30 on these two Sunday mornings. And hey, look at it this way - now you'll be able to comment and respond to one another in real time! We want to remind you all giving is available online, and recommended it (especially in times like this). If you give through a physical check, you can mail it to our office. If you give through cash, please do not send cash through the mail; save it to give in person when regular services resume. We will be cancelling small groups and Bible studies over these two weeks so people feel no pressure to attend/guilt for choosing not to attend. The March of Prayer event on the 23rd has been cancelled, as well as the church work day on the 21st.
As I mentioned in yesterday's email, we need to view this as an opportunity. I already talked about the opportunity to show the world peace; it's also an opportunity to slow down. Be honest, how many times have you sighed in frustration at how busy things are? How many times have you said your schedule is too busy for quiet time with God, or your family is too busy for time together? A lot is going to be closing down over these next few weeks, which translates into more time to spend with God and more time to spend together as a family! I encourage you to look at what you might normally be doing during a day, or an evening, and spend it in Scripture, or prayer, either as an individual or with your family. Let's continue to see the opportunities within this time. And check in with your friends from church outside of social media. Give each other a call, see how their week has gone. Let's take this chance to intentionally invest in our friendships with one another in new ways.
Finally this may present opportunities to show love to our communities. We are currently talking to several schools about potential needs for students who receive meals from the school, who will be affected by these closings. We don’t have all the details yet, and will keep you posted (both specifically with this as well as in general).
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.
Grateful for you all,