The news is filled with headlines related to the coronavirus, or Covid-19. From cruise ships to school closures, from travel bans to the stock market, every news tidbit seems related to what the World Health Organization has now declared as a pandemic—itself a fear-inducing term.
Indeed, between valid information, partial information, and complete misinformation, a near-global panic seems to be upon us. What are we as followers of Christ—and as a local church—to do?
First, we face reality. Recently, two cases of Covid-19 were found in Calaveras County, one of which led to the closing for this week of Copperopolis Elementary School. The most current information we have is that there are as yet no reported cases in Tuolumne County.
Second, we take appropriate action. That begins with hand-washing and other hygiene practices—tips you have undoubtedly heard from countless sources. Monitor your own health, and don’t take unnecessary risks. Those of you who are more susceptible to illness, consult your doctor and follow their counsel.
Third, we do not give in to fear. Fear is one of Satan’s best tools to try separating us from each other and from God. But we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).
Finally, we stay informed and adjust as needed. This is a changing situation. What is best today may not be best for tomorrow.
So what does this mean for The Journey? As of now, our plan is to continue with all scheduled activities and services. However, out of an abundance of caution, we will not be providing refreshments on Sunday; please feel free to bring your own coffee, tea, water, etc.
Although we normally encourage everyone to sit next to someone you don’t know, for the time being we are going to ask you to spread out—add extra space between yourself and those not in your own family. We have room to do that, and will add seating in the back to provide even more elbow room! In addition, please limit physical contact: instead of a handshake or fist bump, use a wave (or a military salute?!); keep away from hugs, and absolutely no holy kisses!
Finally, we will not pass offering baskets on Sundays, but instead will provide a receptacle in the lobby for offering and Connection Cards.
While we will plan to gather as normal, we also recognize that some of you may choose not to join those gatherings. If that’s your choice, please let us know. And please join us through Facebook, where we live stream services every week. (Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you should be able to watch, as our account is public.)
Appropriately, part of our text for this weekend is, “do not be anxious about tomorrow.” While there are legitimate concerns, we need not fear. If anything changes before Sunday, we’ll let you know.
Yours for peace, hope, and grace,