We are a small congregation following the shelter-in-place orders of the local government officials due to the coronavirus pandemic, and thus have suspended our gathered corporate worship services beginning this Sunday, March 29. This causes a hardship which we hope we can successfully weather. Not all of the congregations can connect digitally to a video presentation, and a prolonged absence of services can disrupt habits of weekly gatherings. Gathered worship services are central to the church's identity and are a direct command of the Lord. In fact, the very concept of the church and the meaning of the word translated "church" in the original language of the New Testament (Greek) is "ecclesia," meaning a called-out assembly. So to cancel services feels like a threat to the church's existence.
Our own local church leaders are absolutely committed to a strong ecclesiology (doctrine of the church) and it seems almost unthinkable, Biblically speaking, to have to suspend services. Many of our forefathers in the faith gave up their lives unto death rather than to cease meeting for congregational worship. And today many of our brothers and sisters around the world who live in societies that persecute the church risk imprisonment, torture, and death by persisting in meeting in underground churches. So for these reasons we feel extremely uncomfortable in suspending our gathered worship services. Already we long for the time when "social distancing" is no longer required and we can gather face-to-face with one another in the presence of the risen Christ among us. When that time comes we will hopefully treasure even more the privilege and joy of gathered congregational worship.
Currently we are in the process of updating our church website and working on learning how to put our sermons and other aspects of our customary worship service into a digital format to be accessed remotely; we will provide further notice when that is ready. Please join us in looking to the Lord for his help and blessing as we proceed ahead.
Please see the article entitled, "To Cancel or Not to Cancel: That is the Question," from Christianity Today magazine at https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/march-web-only/walter-kim-nae-timothy-dalrymple-cancel-church-or-not.html
- Wayne Conrad and Jeff Gregory