November 13, 2020
Sisters and Brothers,
I can’t tell you how much I have grown to dislike the phrase, “Out of an abundance of caution…” That’s because this phrase usually is followed with news I don’t want…like something else I like to do is being taken away for a while. Well, I don’t begin with “out of an abundance of caution,” but I begin with, “out of an overabundance of concern.”
Out of an overabundance of concern for each other, in consultation with church staff and leadership, I’ve made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend in-person worship at Old Bethel. With peak new COVID positive cases 6,600 a day ago and 5,700 today, it just makes sense to move to all-virtual worship as quickly as possible because these are not numbers we’ve seen recently. Couple those numbers with the swell in persons hospitalized with the virus, and it just effectively decides for us, if we’re serious about doing everything possible to protect each other. Remember what Jesus says in John 13:35, “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other." (MSG)
Livestream Worship will remain at 10:00 AM every Sunday, as well as archived versions will still be on our YouTube Channel and on our Facebook page. We will be adding a Kid’s Church aspect that will be available following live worship, on a new Kid’s Facebook page. It is a private page so you will have to ask permission to join. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/358921688532801/?ref=share
We will evaluate every week, but for now, I am anticipating the all-virtual format for worship for at least the next four or five Sundays. Christmas Eve worship services are not yet in this “pause” but we will know more over the next couple weeks regarding the rest of this year. As we have been since this all began, we are being flexible as we respond to new information and as the current climate changes. We will continue to love each other by doing whatever we can to protect each other, while relying on God to do all that we cannot do.
Please note: we are NOT closing the building or curtailing small groups, youth groups, or Sunday School classes. Those can continue as the facilitators determine, as long as all protective protocol remains in place. Also, the planned Thanksgiving Dinner give-away is still happening because of special procedures which will be in place to protect both the servants and our neighbors.
In light of John 13:35, let me morph my beginning just a bit: “Out of an overabundance of love for each other…” Yeah, that’s more accurate. I am certain you dislike this as much as I do. On a ZOOM call with all the staff, we all raised our hands when asked who hates this decision. But friends, it’s not a matter of “want to” but a matter of “have to.” And I would add, “…for now.”
Pastor Rusty <><
Our of an Abundance of Caution - from Pastor Rusty