Updated March 20, 2020
Greetings and wishing well to each of you,
We, the elders, are presenting to each of you our prayerful concern and decision regarding worship assemblies at our congregation of the Lord’s church here in Wicksburg. This is based on justifiable caution for all of you with relation to the virus pandemic existing around the world and specifically in our local community.
The governor’s office released a health order Thursday afternoon stating in part: “State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has issued orders suspending certain public gatherings due to the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 effective from now until April 6. These orders are applicable for all Alabama counties…All gatherings of 25 people or more or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons are prohibited in these counties. This order applies to all events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.”
In the Apostle Paul’s inspired writing we are instructed to respect those having authority over us with our prayers, supplications, intersessions, and thankfulness (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul goes on to say, in Titus 3:1, that we are to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey… We glean from those and other writings that Christians should obey the laws of the land as long as they are not in conflict with God’s will.
Considering today’s increased vigilance in efforts to combat the threat that this virus will spread into our immediate area, the elders have determined that further update is needed regarding the decision to suspend all assemblies except for Sunday worship at 10 a.m. Following are guidelines that we hold to be right and acceptable in following our Lord’s will in regard to the emergency situation at present time.
- Above all, we wish to be faithful to our Lord’s callings and to continue to provide the blessings of worship and ministry for you and your families.
- In addition, we also seek to balance our Biblical desire to obey health and government guidance. We certainly want to protect the most vulnerable in our church and community.
- A large part of our congregation is over the age of 60, and others may be at higher risk of getting sick due to compromised immune systems.
- Furthermore, small children may not be as cautious to avoid contact and may unintentionally spread germs to others.
- Most important is our commitment to our Lord’s command to worship on the first day of the week (Sunday). As faithful Christians, we cannot overlook this privilege and commandment. We stand by the instruction set forth in Hebrews 10:24-25 and hold to the belief that public assemblies are in keeping with God’s will whenever possible. Nonetheless, we also believe that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20). We feel that private gathering to worship is appropriate during the critical conditions that now exist in our community.
The following short-term scheduling decisions are set forth until developments occur that warrant something different:
- We will maintain a commitment to worship, at 10 a.m. for those who want to attend the assembly. We will space out the recommended 6-foot perimeter as much as possible.
- If more than 25 come to the assembly at 10 a.m. Sunday, we will spill over to the fellowship building in order to comply with the instruction directed by the Alabama Governor’s Office.
- It will be helpful in our planning if each of you responds to this message to let us know if you plan to attend the public assembly or conduct private worship at home.
- We encourage you to choose what is best for you and your family; to stay at home and worship there, or come to the church building for the morning service. If you, as a faithful Christian, feel more comfortable with a private gathering of your family for worship, we support your decision.
- If needed, you can contact the minister, a deacon, or elder, and someone will meet you at the building and provide packets with communion supplies for your family.
- It would be helpful in our planning for the number to expect at the Sunday assembly if you respond to this message to let us know if you plan to attend the public assembly or conduct private worship at home.
- Sunday school classes, evening assemblies on Sunday and Wednesday nights, and all other activities at the church are suspended until further notice. This will help in keeping the building clean and disinfected and allow the facilities to air out between gatherings.
- Deacons and the rest of the leadership stand ready to assist our members if they have needs in this time of uncertainty. Please, if you have a need, contact the elders, minister or any of the deacons for assistance. We are aware that some of our older members and others with health issues may not have immediate family in the area, but we as a church family are here and ready to assist as needed, please allow us the honor of fulfilling our duty if you have a need.
If you have questions about schedules or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the elders, the minister, or one of the deacons at any time. If you have family members that do not receive e-mail, please take it upon yourself to get this information to them.
With regard to your offering. We realize that part of our worship includes “the collection” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). It seems appropriate to either drop your contribution off at the building or mail it to the church’s address: Christian Home Church of Christ, 463 Highway 92, Newton AL 36352.
Again, we want to raise special concern for our older members and others at risk. We urge you to prayerfully consider your actions and how you may best participate in worship or ministry. You need to choose whither attending the assembly or conducting private worship at home is best for you and your family. We realize there are some, including elders and deacons, who want to avoid any chance of contact with the virus, elect private worship at home. We emphasize that each one has to decide what’s best for them and all of us need to understand and support each other’s choice. The important thing is to worship our Lord and always keep in mind that He knows our hearts and He is watching over us. Please do not feel that being in attendance is the only acceptable way you can worship our Lord during this critical time when the chance of contracting the virus is so dangerous. The Lord’s church doors will be open for those who wish to come here. We are encouraging all to be prudent, careful, and wise about their decisions based on their health situation and conscience. Again, we do not want anyone to feel they are forsaking the assembly if they choose to have private worship at home. Additionally, we do not want anyone attending the assembly to feel they made a better choice than those who worship at home. We must respect and support the individual decision of our brethren. Prayerfully consider which way you decide to worship and follow your conscience.
May God’s richest blessings and protection be on each of you as we struggle through these difficult times. Remember to pray, pray, pray; we know the Lord hears the prayers of the righteous.
Freddy, J.B., Billy, James