The past few days have been a whirlwind of news reporting, closings, and cancelations surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Church staff and leadership have been in discussions over the past week in how we should respond and changes we need to make to keep our church family safe.
Two very important things to remember during this time. One, Do not allow your fear to overcome your faith. These are scary times but our faith is in God and he is bigger than any crisis we might face. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7 “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Second, this is not a time to circle the wagons and take care of only ourselves and our families. Yes, be safe. Take precautions. Wash your hands, which you should do already. But this is a time for the church of Jesus Christ to shine. Look for opportunities to help others. Allow the peace of Christ in you to become peace to those around you as well, those you work with and live next door too.
Now for the practical things we will do as a church:
At this time, we will continue to meet for worship on Sunday mornings. However, should the CDC or the Iowa Department of Public Health recommend otherwise, this could change.
No donuts. Too many hands reaching in for this to be safe right now. We will still have coffee but it will be pre-dispensed and in the cup waiting for you.
Kids check-in will have a volunteer there to get you checked in, limiting the number of hands-on the keyboard.
No hugs or handshakes during the greeting time. An eyebrow raise and nod, an air high five, elbow bump, or a wave are perfectly acceptable alternatives.
No offering plates will be passed. Instead, an offering box will be placed by the back doors for you to drop your offering in as you arrive or before your leave. Or even better, take this opportunity to set up your online giving. Go to ashworth.church/give, type in your bank account information and the amount of your gift.
And while you’re at it, choose the recurring gift option, that way, even if we don’t get to meet some Sunday in the future, we can continue our ministry of connecting individuals with Jesus, one another and our community, even if we have to modify how this is done.
Our cleaning crew is taking extra measures to disinfect the building and make sure everything is safe.
Of course, let common sense be your guide. If you or your kids feel sick, stay home. If you are worried about getting sick, stay home. You can catch our worship services online at facebook.com/ashworthchurch.
We will get through this. Allow this time to draw you closer to God and share with others why and how you can have peace in the midst of turmoil. And my prayer is that as a result of this more and more people come to know and follow Jesus.