In early March of 2020, I wrote an article for this newsletter entitled, “Your Pastor Wants You To Skip Church.” Here is part of what I wrote nearly a year and half ago:
Knowing the statistics about the dramatic decline in worship attendance among Christians in the past decade, I hesitated to write this article. Christ-followers in our nation are failing miserably in making corporate worship a priority. Even among committed, evangelical Christians, church attendance has become an optional, “only-if-there-are-no-other-plans” activity. We desperately need to heed the instructions of Hebrews 10:25 as we have become far too complacent in our obligation to meet together. Under normal circumstances, I would never say or write anything to our church members encouraging them to skip Sunday worship.
However, these aren’t normal times. The spread of the coronavirus into our nation and our state (as of this writing, thankfully, not into the Middle Georgia area), has created the need for all of us to rethink our schedules and activities, including our participation in corporate worship.
I then asked those of you who had traveled, had been exposed to anyone with COVID, or had any symptoms to please stay home from worship. As well, we outlined ways to protect yourself while you attended worship at Northway. That article was published on March 5, 2020.
To quote the late, great Yogi Berra , it’s Deja-Vu all over again.
As you are likely aware, COVID cases have increased dramatically in the Middle Georgia area over these last two weeks. Many of you reading these words have tested positive for COVID, and all of you know individuals who have. Just a few weeks ago, I personally believed that by this time we would be moving out of the pandemic; however, that just hasn’t happened.
In the past year, we installed touch-free sinks and toilets in all of our restrooms. We put hand sanitizer stations throughout our building. We removed approximately 25% of the chairs from our worship center. We have tried to do everything we can to continue meeting the spiritual needs of our congregation and community while protecting your health and safety.
Please do your part to assist us in keeping everyone safe. If you have even the slightest symptoms of COVID, please stay home and watch our worship on Facebook Live. Be sure to wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer often. If you are more comfortable wearing masks in public places, please do so. If you desire additional social distancing, feel free to use our overflow room where greater distancing is possible. Please do your part to help us in keeping everyone as safe as possible.
The Bible is very clear that we do not need to live in a state of fear. The Lord is in control of everything, including this COVID pandemic. We will continue to meet and worship; however, we need to use the wisdom and common sense the Lord gave us as we do so.
Thank you for your assistance and prayers as we seek to make the best decisions for our church and community.