And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:16-17
March 30, 2020
On Sunday, March 29, the president extended the restrictions on social distancing until April 30. Many scientists agree and believe we should not consider removing restrictions until we see evidence of the virus slowing. There appears to be a correlation between large gatherings of people and the presence of COVID 19 weeks later. An example is a church in Seattle that decided to have choir rehearsal. 60 members showed up, used hand sanitizer, practiced safe distancing, and rehearsed for two hours. Now 45 are infected, 3 hospitalized, and 2 are dead.
It is a difficult decision to request all congregations and New Worshiping Communities in the presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy to continue not to assemble in worship until April 30. I strongly recommend we continue this period of online worship, and other creative ways of being together, until April 30. On the last week of April, we will evaluate the situation and decide how to move forward after the April 30 deadline.
I am aware this includes Holy Week and Easter. I am sensitive to the financial and personal hardship this places on all congregations- large and small, urban and rural. We are making financial grants and loans available if necessary to help congregations through this difficult time.
The church has endured persecution, plagues, wars, and pandemics throughout history. We will overcome this one too. There is a future for God’s church. There is a future for each of you. When we return to worship, it will be a time of celebration of the resurrection.
So many of you are using creative ways for worship, music, children programs, and observing the sacraments. You are demonstrating what it means to serve the church with creativity and imagination. I am so proud of you all!
The presbytery is committed to being present with up-to-date information as we reach out visually, verbally, and in writing to each of you. We are truly all in this together.
Rev. Craig M. Howard
Article on church choir: https://www.yahoo.com/news/choir-decided-ahead-rehearsal-now-023414705.html