We wanted to continue to keep you updated in light of our gatherings and the Covid-19 virus. We messaged you yesterday afternoon letting you know that in view of the pandemic we would be gathering this Sunday the 15th March as a church at 9 and 11am as normal, and then moving to church in homes for Sundays 22nd and 29th March. This was in light of the California Dept. of Public heath’s guidelines discouraging mass gatherings in California. As you are well aware, the situation is incredibly fluid. After extensive consultation today with medical professionals, as well as the closure of all schools in Fullerton, Brea and Yorba Linda school districts in what is now understood to be a national state of emergency, we have decided to move our ‘church in homes’ strategy forward to this Sunday the 15th march and next Sunday 22nd march.
This is not a fear-based decision. It is erring on the side of caution out of love for our neighbors. Because the COVID-19 virus is a-symptomatic and testing for it is very slow in the USA, most health experts agree that not waiting to cancel larger gatherings is key to stemming the tide of the virus, especially given what we know about how a large percentage of people are carrying the virus without knowing they are carrying it. So, we will not gather together as one congregation this Sunday, but will rather gather in homes for at least the next two Sundays, until we have further information. This has been a prayerful decision and we believe it is being done in faith, love and wisdom. We honestly believe that gathering in homes to worship and sit under the word and fellowship is a deeply meaningful way of being the Church and I am excited to see what God does among us in a very unusual situation.
So, this Sunday 15th March and the next, we encourage you to gather in homes and watch a pre-recorded video of my message from Acts 27/28 on “Contagious Calm in a Time of Crisis.” We are working with leaders and hosts of these home gatherings to equip them to make them as edifying and encouraging as possible. There will be worship resources, resources for children to learn as well as questions for discussion of the sermon. We will be communicating those locations to you shortly via email as well as posting the locations at www.southlands.net. These will include existing life group locations, but there will also be a few extra locations for those who are not currently in life groups. Obviously, if you are ill or have a compromised immune system you are welcome to watch the sermon on your own from our website or on Facebook, but we encourage you to make the most of this unique challenge by building community in homes if at all possible. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for any logistical questions.
Thank you for your flexibility and co-operation as we take these unprecedented steps. May the Lord protect and strengthen us for His glory at this time. The Church has always been at its strongest in crisis and scattering, so let’s trust Jesus that he is powerfully at work among us during this time. We are not merely asking that the Lord would help us to survive this crisis. we are asking that he would use it to revive us and the people around us. Let’s be praying together to that end.