Good morning Bethel.
Thank you for taking time to read yet another email from me. I am very appreciative!
As I am sure you are aware both Bryan and College Station have enacted a “Declaration of Local State of Disaster.” Part of this declaration was a strong recommendation that gatherings, public or private, be limited to ten folks.
While the City of Bryan’s statement wording is that this is a “recommendation,” I have come to believe that we should follow it by suspending worship, Bible class, and meetings for this first seven day period [the initial period of the “State of Disaster”], if not longer.
Why do I believe this?
- Harm. It goes without saying that if one of our people worships, and contracts the virus from being with us, this would be counterproductive to our desire to love one another.
- Effectiveness. I do not believe holding worship services, etc. would be effective during this “State of Disaster,” as I believe most Bethel folks will stay away even if our doors are open. Even if half of what is reported is true, you have a sensible reason to avoid all public places, even congregational worship.
- Options. We do have options, ones which even five years ago would have not been available to us. Right now our Called staff is working on a “full Bethel experience on line” for as early as this Sunday morning.
- Pastor Eden and I would lead a worship service with children’s time and a full sermon,
- Our DCE and Children’s Ministry Coordinator would offer both a children’s Sunday School class and a youth Sunday School class,
- And one of our pastors would offer an adult Bible class.
- All of this would be live streamed on Sunday morning.
- As well, I am prepared to live stream our Lenten Wednesday noon service, so that folks can watch it anytime on Wednesday.
I believe I was wrong to speak so strongly about our church doors remaining open. Martin Luther and his pastors continued to minister during the Bubonic Plague, believing that they were under God’s grace. I too firmly believe this, but perhaps there is much to be lost and only a little to be gained by pressing on and pretending that anxiety does not rule the day.
Remember our Lord’s words, “Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me!” Our Lord Jesus is our leader, and He will not abandon us, but will remain with us throughout whatever is yet to come.