Saturday, March 14, 2020

In Response to COVID-19

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgement.                    2 Timothy 1:7

Hey guys, Pastor Tanner here with our response as a Church to the global concern over COVID-19 also known as the coronavirus. 

With much prayer, deliberation, and conversation I have made the decision to stand with our neighbors and friends to suspend Christ Church gatherings downtown at HQ in the collective effort to limit overall exposure and spread of COVID-19. I believe this is the best course of action for our Church given what we know now and with consideration for our partners and neighbors. I am asking that we see this as an opportunity to live the Gospel we proclaim; Jesus emptied Himself for us (Philippians 2:5-11) so we also, with the Gospel on our lips, set aside personal preferences or rights for the sake of those around us.

Here are some clear reasons for this decision:
  • So that we don't put vulnerable people in danger
  • So that we are not careless or flippant in a watching world
  • So that we do not create unfair pressure to attend.
  • So that we demonstrate respect for the governing authorities.

So long as the stay at home order is in effect and it proves to be the wise and loving thing to stay apart, Christ Church will “gather scattered.” We stand on Scripture in acknowledging the Church is a people not a place and we have been handed the opportunity to put legs under that. 

For the next several weeks Christ Church will gather Sunday mornings simultaneously in our own homes across the city at the regular 10 am time utilizing Zoom for virtual meetings. Links are posted on the Christ Church Facebook page. Because of some privacy vulnerabilities in Zoom (hackers with vile motives have logged into church Zoom calls to post disturbing content) we are utilizing a meeting password and the waiting room feature.

I would encourage you to prioritize this time and "attend" with purpose and focus. We will spend some time at the beginning hearing from one another, we'll pray, worship in song, and hear from God's Word.

Here's what to do:
  • Like the Christ Church Facebook page
  • Make note of the Zoom meeting ID and passwords
  • If you have trouble email me,
  • Join us Sunday mornings at 10AM
  • Also make note of several other scheduled times during the week to spend time "together."

Gospel Hope:
I want to be clear that this decision to gather scattered was reached not in fear but in faith and with great care for our neighbors and our city. While we have unflinching confidence in the sovereign hand of God we are not flippant or dismissive with the health and concerns of others. Church, this is a time when we set aside personal preferences, rights, and self-preservation to serve others because Jesus Himself came “not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for the many,” (Mark 10:45). 

We are not governed by fear but by the love of Christ and through us His love reaches the world around us. While we stand with bold confidence that nothing moves, not even a virus, without the knowledge and governance of the Creator God, we also weep with those who weep, we care for the sick, we speak peace into panic, and we look to the cross of Christ where God brought forth eternal hope from cruel and ugly tragedy.

For the Church, comfort the fearful, share resources, check in on one another, speak good news and hope into chaotic times, and look for ways to serve the city we love. There are and will be many opportunities. Be ready to give an answer for the unwavering hope you have in Christ. Be eager to give freely, serve willingly, and press into the fear with great faith. Because Jesus set aside glory for us we set aside ourselves to serve others. 

We as human beings in our society are being forced to face our mortality. This serves as reminder of our frailty and need for Jesus as a Savior. Look and listen for opportunities to explain the Gospel, eager to give reason for unflinching hope in Christ who is unfailing.

Let’s be filled with care for each other as we consider how to live as image-bearers of God in a time when social distancing isolates us for physical health but not spiritual health. Utilize this time to slow down, rethink our pace of life, reflect, pray, read, rest, and reorient our priorities with eternity in mind.

Let’s continue in prayer not in panic, in faith not in fear, in service not in mere self-preservation.
Pray for healing and protection, pray for doctors and health workers, pray for the elderly and sick who are most vulnerable, pray for God to grant mercy.

Each week we close our worship gatherings with the Doxology so I would like to close with these words as a reminder of where our hope lies, Who is in control, and to Whom we owe our greatest praise and highest trust.

     Praise God from Whom all blessing flow
     Praise Him, all creatures here below
     Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts
     Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Grace and Peace to you in Christ.
Pastor Tanner

1 comment:

  1. Hello Pastor Tanner Sheahan. I am also a Pastor from Mumbai India. I am glad to stop by your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am also blessed and feel privileged and honoured to get connected with you as well as know you being the PASTOR of Christ Church- La Grnde, OR. i am so blessed and comforted by visiting your blog post on a global desastar and a threat of Covid-19. I am also impressed by seeing your church stragegic plan to cope up with Covid-19. I believe that it a God given plan for you and your church. Since our nation is idol worshipper and 80% of the population is Hindu and only 3& population is christian and as christians it becomes our responsibility to turn to the Creator of this whole universe with all humility, seek and pray to Him and trun away from our wicked ways so that He will forgive our sins and heal the lands.
    Thank you for the way your church has responded to this global desaster. Well I love getting connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged strengthened and praying for one another. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 40 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have your young poeple from the Church come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you your family and friends also wishing you and your family a blessed and a Christ centered rest of the New year 2020. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede


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