2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.”
As I think we all have become aware, the Coronavirus threat is real and growing, as indicated by actions taken by the Governor of Oregon, school districts, church bodies, and various organizations, here and nationwide. The situation remains very dynamic, and the best thinking being circulated at this time is that all gatherings of more than 10 persons should be suspended. After consultation on this developing situation, the Board of Directors of our congregation has concluded that it is the better part of wisdom to cancel our Sunday morning and midweek Lenten services for the next two weeks, and reevaluate as we see how things are progressing. Faith United Methodist congregation has also cancelled its services at least through the month, as have other Lutheran congregations in our area.
We are not acting out of fear, but out of love and proper caution for our congregation, especially for those who may be in the higher-risk category. Just because we won’t be gathering at River of Life doesn’t mean that “church is cancelled.” It means that our Lenten Season has taken a dramatic turn, and we are now challenged to undertake “home church,” and worship within our homes and communities in whatever creative ways we choose. Tomorrow I will produce via email an order for worship, including a message with bullet points for reflection, that you and your loved ones may utilize on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings for the next couple of weeks.
My main pastoral concern is that our River of Life family stay safe and healthy. I urge us all to practice social distancing as much as possible, and to practice common sense hygiene, washing hands, using hand sanitizer, promoting fluids, and the like. The virus is carried in droplets that can be projected by sneezing and coughing, so please use Kleenex, handkerchiefs, and the crook of your elbow, to limit the spread of the virus. I invite you to reach out to me if you have any needs – getting supplies, food, some company and prayer, private communion, words of encouragement. I’m here to be of assistance, and I can enlist other members to help if needed. We are God’s family, and we’ll get through this together.
May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus be with you.