"Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end." -Psalm 102
Our days are ever-changing. It was only a few days ago that the CDC recommended gatherings of no more than 250 people. This number is now 10 (from the White House press conference). The truth is we don’t know for certain what the Coronavirus will look like in our own community. Hopefully the impact is so minimal that we look as if we have massively over-reacted. This is much better than the alternative—that we under responded and now have to deal with the death and turmoil that has resulted. In this regard we want to err on the side of caution. But as we do this there is great comfort in knowing that our God is all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful and unchanging. He is our steady rock in this season as in every season.
Our leaders met early this week to outline a path forward. We determined that it is best for us to cancel all public gatherings through this Sunday. That means we will not be gathering together as a body on Sunday March 22nd. Our midweek services, Sunday AM, Sunday PM, and all seek groups will be canceled this week. We are also monitoring whether or not to cancel larger gathers for the future. We know that the banquet for Brother Tommy which was scheduled for March 26th has been postponed. We also know that the garage sale to benefit the Thailand mission has been postponed as well.
We will be monitoring this situation daily and keep the church informed as to any next steps. We are exploring creative options for how best to serve and fulfill our purposes as a church in this season. We will, Lord willing, be providing online services this Sunday. We are working on getting this up and running all throughout this week. Towards the end of the week we will provide detailed instructions for how to join us online. But we do want to make it clear that there really is no way for us to “move church online”. In the Scriptures there is a great importance placed upon the gathered assembly. There are elements of our gathering that simply cannot be done online. This is not a substitute. It is a seasonal necessity. But as we gather online let us also be mourning the fact that we cannot be physically together in this season. This also ought to place within us a deep desire to not only “go to church again” but also to long for that great day in which all God’s people will be gathered together for eternity.
We fully believe that God is sovereign over this season. This actually affords us a wonderful opportunity to simplify and to think through what is actually essential. We know one of those essentials is to love one another deeply from the heart. If you have any needs (such as getting groceries or medicine, etc.) please do not hesitate to contact the church office, our deacons, or staff. We are still here to serve you, though wisdom might limit means of service.
We are not to neglect our spiritual disciplines during this time. We are looking for ways to assist you in deepening your relationship with God through a time of quarantine (if we find ourselves in that position). We want to help you fill your mind and heart with gospel truths as we navigate this difficult season. God is faithful. And the answer to our anxiety and fears is not a faith-sounding dismissal of tough reality but a gritty faith which is bold enough to wrestle with the pain of this season and still declare that God is good and always does us good. He is our rock and He is our refuge. This will never change though our circumstances do. These circumstances will reveal much about our hearts. May the Spirit of God enliven our hearts with the presence of the Son of God.
We will also be providing detailed instructions for setting up online giving. As of now you can also mail in your gift (2650 Oak Ridge Ext. Neosho, MO) or come by the church office and drop off your offering. Churches across America will face financial hardship because of the COVID-19 virus. We want to do what we can to mitigate that and also to continue being in a place to reach the world for Christ. This particular season is requiring a great deal of creativity. And often there is cost attached to our creativity. Just because we cannot physically attend church does not mean that our mission stops.
Much of our communication will be through Facebook, Flocknote, Email, and our website (calvaryneosho.com). Again, if you have any needs do not hesitate to contact the church office.