March 13, 2020
My Dearly Beloved Church Family:
One of the most challenging realities of pastoral ministry is having to make decisions for the congregation that will be met with both appreciation and consternation. The following may be one of those decisions.
I have spent considerable time in conversation with our church’s leadership, as well as Pastor Emeritus Lawson regarding how best to respond to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has now become a pandemic around the world. At the time of this writing, 46 states have confirmed that individuals have reported contracting this virus, and multiple deaths have been recorded both inside and outside of the United States. As we have learned, the elderly population is most at risk, but we also know that persons can carry the virus for up to five days before they experience any symptoms, no matter what age they may be.
To our dismay, one of our members has self quarantined as a consequence of travel on a cruise, in an effort to be sure it is safe to return to normal activity once the quarantine time has passed. Based upon the sheer membership of our congregation, there is surely the possibility that other members of our church family may be asymptomatic, may show signs of having symptoms or may have come into contact with someone living with the virus.
Therefore, we have decided to suspend our regular activities at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church during this challenging time, just to be sure we do not unwittingly expose any of our brothers and sisters to any sickness or disease. Beginning today, March 13th, the church campus will be closed to ensure that our church family is kept safe to the degree that we can secure such safety. We will make follow-up determinations each week, and as soon as we feel it is wise for us to return to our weekly activities, we will do so.
Our Sunday worship will consist of cyber worship that will be viewed via our website, Streaming Faith or Facebook. I will share some verbal remarks regarding worship and our ever-evolving plans during that time. Please do not come to the church campus during this time! Do your best to stay home as much as you can so that you do not cause yourself or anyone else any undue harm.
Whether you receive this note with appreciation or consternation, let’s pray for one another during this time. Let’s pray for our congregational and governmental leadership as decisions continue to be made with regard to this pandemic. This is a most sensitive time, so the people of God must “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Our Prayer Line will remain open for those who need a prayer partner to intercede on their behalf. Let’s trust our God to bring us through these challenging times, as He has done so many times before. And rest assured, your pastor is praying for you!
May our God give us peace as we safeguard our trust in Him!
With pastoral care,
M. D. Cosby