I never like the idea of closing the church. It’s a place of instruction about things the world needs desperately to know about. It’s a place to be uplifted as we join our hearts and voices together in worship. It’s a place of comfort, as we celebrate with those who celebrate and mourn with those who mourn. It’s a place of safety and security, removing ourselves from the everyday and placing ourselves in the loving embrace of our heavenly Father. There’s something that happens when we gather together for worship that doesn’t, and can’t, happen anywhere else.
I never like the idea of closing church, but these are unusual times we’re living in, and we have an obligation to those who call New Brighton Christian Church home. Among our obligations are to provide safe and secure facilities and programs, employing everything from simple maintenance to background checks to always having someone at the front door. Unfortunately, given the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus, I am not confident that we can provide the safety and security our members deserve. Even adhering to precautions like hand washing and wiping down hard surfaces, the church is a poor place to practice social distancing.
We also have an obligation to the society in which we live. The government isn’t telling us we have to close; they are suggesting it temporarily for the greater good of our community. If it was only the church that was being asked to close, that would be one thing, but the fact that everything from schools to restaurants to government facilities are closing shows an “all hands on deck” mentality. By following the guidelines the government has set out, we show our support for and unity with our local community. Our enemy is always Satan, but so is the coronavirus an enemy, one that we can help slow and stop the spread of.
I never like the idea of closing church, but it’s happened before, and now it’s happening again. We will be suspending all our programming for the next two weeks: Wednesday evenings, Sunday mornings, Bible studies, and home-based Bible studies that primarily consist of individuals who are at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19. That would, if everything goes well, put us back in church April 5th, Palm Sunday.
Even though we won’t be gathering together, we will broadcast worship and a sermon on Facebook live. Go to facebook.com/newbrightonchristianchurch, follow us, and click on the notifications button. Then you will be notified every time we go live.
I know there are members who would show up any time the doors of the church are open, and I applaud your dedication and love for the Lord. I just think that for the next couple of weeks we have to encourage you to worship in your homes, much like the earliest church did.