Dear Church Family (and Visitors),

In these uncertain days—where information about a new and deadly virus is sometimes slow to emerge, sometimes seems contradictory, and often leaves us feeling anxious—I am reminded of what our TNTers learned last night in Awana. “Worry and fear are the opposite of peace and patience. But when we pray to God about the struggles that we face, we are able to focus on Him and His goodness instead of our problems. His peace guards our hearts.”

With that said, let’s all remember the simple things that we can do to help reduce the spread of this virus: Here is a list of preventive steps to take. Here is the CDC’s hub for information about the COVID-19 virus.

Some of you aren’t stressed out about COVID–19 much at all, because as you listen to or read the news, you realize that there are probably far more people who already have or have had the virus who had very mild symptoms or none at all. You have done the math, and you realize that you are not in a high–risk group, so if you were to get the virus, it might only be like a bad cold or a light case of the flu. Please think of others though. Many other people consider the same reports, but find themselves in a high–risk group, and the prognosis for them is far worse. We should all be mindful to protect others, not just ourselves.

At this point, we don’t really know what this virus is going to do over the next weeks and months. There are encouraging reports coming out of China and South Korea, while news from Italy remains grim. As your pastor, I want to encourage you to find the balance between panic and indifference, and to use your best judgment when it comes to being around groups of people, especially if you are in a high–risk group. 

Wait a minute. Is my pastor telling me not to come to church? 

What I am saying is that if you are sick with any type of illness, or if you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, we will miss you, but please stay home.  If you are in a high–risk group, please know that we will not think less of you if you prayerfully decide to avoid the dangers associated with groups of people until we know more about this virus and its dangers—yes, even church gatherings.

I want all of you to stay safe, practice good preventive measures, protect others, and be encouraged to focus on God’s kingdom, regardless of what we face in this world.

Philippians  4:4–7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.