My Dearest Theophilus,
I am writing to let you know that after serious, prayerful consideration, and much dialogue, the staff at Theophilus have decided to suspend Sunday services for the next two weeks in response to the recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. We will not be gathering as a community on Sunday March 15 or Sunday March 22. This decision is also fully supported by the council and elders.
It is important that you know this decision has not been made flippantly or in a spirit of fear. In a time where fear and anxiety are more palpable than ever, is it extremely important that we are reminded of our responsibility to resist fear and live with love and a sound mind. As the staff sat and prayed together as a group, we asked ourselves what the most loving and wise decision would be, given the information available to us. We have talked with doctors in our community and read extensively on the topic, and though we don’t claim to be experts, it has become very clear that social distancing is the most effective way to help curb the spread of the virus.
With that, we will heed the wisdom of the experts on the topic while remaining vigilant and available to respond to a world crippled by fear. Let us use this time to remind ourselves of the hope that we have in Christ and look for opportunities to extend that hope to others around us.
We will be sending out emails with readings and reflections on the scriptures we have been working through in this season of Lent. We encourage you to read those emails, and engage in the material. Many small groups with continue to meet in individual homes to pray together, worship together, and read the scripture together. The pastoral staff will remain available to respond to the needs in the community. If you need prayer or are struggling to maintain community through this time, please reach out.
The staff, council, and elders will be constantly evaluating the situation as it continues to change. If we feel it is prudent to suspend our gatherings for more than two weeks, we will. If it seems that it is safe to resume our meetings after two weeks, we will. If we press into the hope we have in Christ and all embrace the responsibility we have to one another during this time, I believe this has the power to draw us closer together rather than farther apart.