March 20, 2020
Hello FCC Family—I have great news!!
CHURCH IS NOT CANCELLED–
(but how we do church is going to be different!)
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought us a lot of troubling and scary news–mounting numbers of infections and deaths, shuttered businesses, layoffs, and crashing stock markets. We’ve had to suddenly adjust to a host of new and uncomfortable restrictions on our lifestyles and our freedoms in the attempt to slow down the spread and limit the impact of the now-all-too-familiar disease we know as COVID-19. It seems like everything has changed in the blink of an eye.
But two things haven’t changed. Jesus is still Lord. And the church is still the church. So we will continue to be the church and to gather for worship on Sunday mornings at 9:45.
What’s the catch?
Church is not cancelled–but we won’t be meeting in the sanctuary. Instead, we’ll be meeting in cyberspace, through the magic of the internet. A small group consisting of the worship team, the tech team, and a few leaders will gather with me in the sanctuary on Sunday morning to lead us through a slightly modified worship service, which will be broadcast over the internet (called “live streaming”). If you have access to a computer and the internet, you can tune in to our service and worship with us from your own home (or wherever you are secluded). If you are late, you can still tune in. If you miss the service, you can still see the recording of the service.
This link (https://youtu.be/0DMW6ygSKUk) will take you directly to our church’s channel on Youtube. Or you can go to our website (www.fcclawrence.org), click on the “Virtual Church” tab on the menu bar at the top of the page, and use the link that is marked there. Each week there will be a new link included in the Friday email and posted on the “Live Streaming Services” page. But if you miss a week, you can always go back and view the recording of the service by using that same link.
There will also be something for the kids. Jennifer Boyle is working on producing a short video that will also be available for parents to use with their children. Look for the link on the same “Live Streaming Services” page on the website.
What about those who don’t have access to a computer or the internet?
We’re going to try to do two things for them. (1) If you are related to someone who lacks internet access, or are close friends with them, consider offering to allow them to watch with you. Be careful, though. The whole point of avoiding personal contact with people is to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Make sure it is both wise and prudent before trying this. (2) We plan to make weekly phone calls to everyone in our church who cannot access the service online. Perhaps you could join our team of phone calling angels to check on people, find out if they’re
okay, see if they have any needs, and bring some cheer and connection with a live person into their week.
How long will this go on?
We don’t know. Probably at least through the end of May, maybe longer. I suppose it will depend on how successful our social distancing is in reducing the impact of the pandemic. I know it’s not going to be the same. But it can still be great. Jesus will still be with us, which is what is most important. And when this plague has passed, we will be able to re-gather for what will be an awesome time–sort of like when we’ll gather around the throne in heaven.
What else can you tell us?
Ok, here’s what you need to remember, along with some other bits of news.
1. Church will happen online at 9:45 am on Sundays.
2. All other church activities, events, or meetings are suspended, postponed, or meeting via alternative means, such as video conferencing. We recommend that you stay home as much as possible, and avoid coming to the church building unless it is necessary for you to be here.
3. Video announcements from Pastor Barry and other leaders will be posted on our church website (under the “Church Announcements” tab on the main menu). There’s a new one there now that was just posted yesterday.
4. The church staff will continue to be available to answer phone calls and emails during our normal office hours (Mon-Thur, 8-4; Fri 8-12). Pastor Barry will be available for face-to-face meetings if you need to see someone.
5. Our church’s expenses have not lessened significantly. We still are dependent upon God’s provision through your giving. Please remember to send your tithes and offerings to the church, either by mailing a check or by using your bank’s online bill-paying service.
6. The Giving Tree has closed for the remainder of the school year. We do not yet know if we will be able to offer our usual weeks of summer camp.
We’ll have more to say as we go through this new way of doing church while we continue to be the church. Let’s stay connected. Let’s pray for a miracle, and for opportunities to share the hope we have in Jesus to people who are desperately afraid.
I’ll see you online. Grace to you.