Ferris Bueller once said “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” It’s a lighter way to lead into the sober fact that there’s a LOT going on, VERY fast, and our church has been working to keep up. The elders are meeting twice weekly for the foreseeable future – meeting virtually, not physically – and even that fact plays into some of the decisions we’ve had to make. Here’s what’s happened so far this week:
- Sunday we had half our congregation join us for service virtually on FB and the experiment worked – we can make it better, but it was serviceable.
- Monday morning, Washington state banned gatherings over 50 people until further notice.
- By Monday afternoon, our President, White House and the CDC urged no gatherings over 10 people.
- Monday I met with Bruce (our head deacon) and Monday night I met with the elders to discuss next steps.
Bottom line? We love our church and want to keep our congregation safe. From at least now until Easter, we will be having virtual services only. Most other midweek programming, etc. is also postponed. We’re looking into supplemental virtual offerings that may help us during this time.
But here are the FIVE BIG THINGS we need you to know and consider:
- We need to know if you are sick. Scripture tells the elders to pray for those who are sick (James 5:14). If anyone in the congregation gets COVID-19, biblically we need to know! Please notify your church immediately so we can discuss how to pray and/or help. And this virus isn’t the ONLY sickness or ailment out there, so let us know.
- We need to know if you have other needs. This impacts us economically, occupationally, etc. and we have things like the Deacons Fund for a reason. We see in Acts 2 the church putting their resources together in common so NO one among them has needs. If you have needs, there is NO shame in letting us know. Again, it’s biblical.
- We need your help with mutual needs. The deacons and elders want me to remind you that even if we aren’t at the building, our church community’s property, bills, etc. still need taken care of, as well as that deacon’s fund for those among us who may have needs in the months to come. That means for many of us our giving should not decrease, but increase. Don’t forget your regular giving and consider above-and-beyond giving to build a surplus in light of crisis. You can GIVE HERE.
- We can help those beyond us with their needs. As mentioned Sunday, school closures and other concerns leave the needy and homeless kids in our community with even less resources. Nourishing Network is working to close the gap, but the crisis has decreased food donations when they should be increasing. We can step up as a church and help bridge the gap, together. Purchase single-serving foods for distribution and drop them at the church per drop-off hours below.
- This Sunday is COMMUNION Sunday. That’s right, it’s communion Sunday. But how can we do THAT together, you might ask? Well, there are two answers to that: as your pastor, I DO want to encourage our members to pick up the single-serving communion offerings at the church (as shown in pic above). They are safe, sanitized, and sealed, and they’ll be available in the foyer so touch/take only what you need for your household. We’ll be open daytime and evenings as listed below for food drop off and communion pickup. If you can’t pick one up, your own bread and wine/juice will suffice. But if you need one brought TO you, don’t hesitate to let me know.
REFUGE CHURCH DROP OFF AND PICKUP HOURS March 17 – 22:
Tuesday 10am – 1:00pm, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Wednesday 10am – 1pm, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Thursday 10am – 1pm, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Sunday morning 8am – 9:30am
We are blessed to live in a time and place where we could raise the cup and break bread in communion together at the same time, thanks to technology, and as I implored you last Sunday I will do so again: commit to it. It will be so easy to roll out of bed. “I’ll watch it on YouTube later…” but please don’t. Just DON’T. This is a unique time… in history, in our LIVES… and what might it look like if we legitimately gathered virtually as a church together and honored the time, even separated by distance? We can still pray together, experience scripture together, and more. And this time we can even take communion together, remembering what Christ has done for us and how our ultimate hope is not in social distancing but a Savior.
May God bless and keep you by His grace,
– Pastor James