Cancellation of All Church Gatherings
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” (Psalm 77:11 ESV)
Dear Church Family,
I am writing this letter with a very heavy heart, but I also write with an awareness of and gratitude for our Lord’s mighty deeds. As you have probably heard by now the most recent health orders from the county of San Diego regarding the current Coronavirus outbreak include a prohibition of gatherings of 50 people or more, and a strong discouragement of gatherings of any size. This clearly impacts virtually all of the gatherings at our church. The Board of Elders believes that we should honor and obey our governing authorities regarding these orders and guidelines (Rom 13:1; 1 Pet. 2:17). As of now, we are cancelling all worship services and gatherings at the church (studies, AWANA, classes, etc.) for at least the rest of the month of March. We will continue to monitor the state of things in the days and weeks ahead, and we will keep you posted regarding any future plans or changes.
I believe that this decision is the godly and wise decision, but that does not mean it was an easy one. As your pastor I have shed tears, and spent numerous sleepless nights grieving over the temporary loss of our gatherings. The apostle Paul often spoke of the longing he and his colleagues had for the church (Phil. 4:1; 2:26; 1 Thess. 3:6). It is expected that we will all feel sorrowful over this temporary change because of our genuine affection and love for one another. However, we serve a God who is near to the broken hearted, and we worship our Savior who is the good and faithful shepherd to his sheep (Ps. 34:18; John 10:11-14).
While our gatherings are temporarily on hold, our growth as God’s people is not. With that in mind, here are a few points to keep in mind in the days and weeks ahead:
- Trust in the Lord. While we cannot gather for a time, the sovereignty and goodness of our God remain unchanged. In uncertain times we can remember the Lord’s mighty work of salvation, and his ongoing work of transformation which he graciously accomplishes in our lives as we become more like his Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:28-32).
- Follow the instructions of the authorities. Due to the nature of the outbreak the guidelines of our governing authorities seem to be changing and adapting quickly. I know some of you have groups that meet in your homes, so I encourage those groups to follow the guidelines of our authorities for this season.
- Love one another. Don’t give up on loving and ministering to each other. Call, email, write letters, use social media, have conference calls, etc. We do not want to neglect loving and encouraging one another in this season. You may find yourself with more time on your hands than usual, so use it wisely to love and encourage one another to persevere in the faith. We may need to be creative but continue to stir one another up to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24-25).
- Continue to set aside time for worship on Sundays. Our staff plans to provide resources for you to help maintain our habit of Sunday worship in our homes. We plan to provide video and written resources to help guide your time at home on Sundays. This may include Scripture readings, devotionals from the text in Exodus for that Sunday, songs to sing, etc. Be on the lookout for these items in your email inbox, and on our church website.
- Continue to give financially. Giving is an important part of our worship. You can mail checks to the church at 5777 Lake Murray Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942, or give on our website if you have a PayPal account.
- Do not cease to pray. Pray for one another. Pray for our authorities and health workers. Pray for our staff and elders as we attempt to minister in these unusual times. Pray that the virus would diminish in its impact. Pray for opportunities to share your hope in the Lord with an uncertain world. Pray that we would all continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I pray that when we are able to gather together again as a church, we will have a renewed gratitude for the great gift of corporate worship, and face to face fellowship. This is something we so often take for granted. Until that time I echo Paul’s desires which he voiced to the Thessalonians: “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17 ESV)
By His Grace Alone,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13 ESV)