13 March 2020
Dear Church Family,
After much discussion and prayer, the leadership of the church has decided to suspend our in–person Sunday Service. This action takes effect immediately for Sunday March 15 and will be in effect until it is wise to return to normal operations.
We will however offer an online alternative that will include worship, prayer, and a message from the Word of God. Details of how to access this will be made available in a subsequent email.
WHAT TO EXPECT
During this uncertain time, we will continue to be the church! As you know, community is a very important part of Bronxville Community Church. Do not assume that everyone is able to handle these circumstances without difficulty. Please be aware of the needs of your fellow church family and your neighbors at large. If you have needs or feel isolated, please contact the church office. As we learn to navigate this current season, please be proactive in your care and concern for each other.
We will be monitoring this situation and will take all appropriate and necessary steps to ensure your safety and to comply with all mandates from government authorities. Our hope and desire is to return to normal operations as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we are in the process of establishing additional opportunities to connect using available technology. These virtual meetings will provide space for fellowship, prayer, and devotions. More information concerning these forums will be forthcoming.
WHY WE MADE THIS DECISION
This has not been an easy decision, but please know that we have sought counsel and advice from many sources. We are not alone in this. Many churches, including those who have not been mandated to close by NY State Health Officials, have decided to suspend gatherings until there is a better understanding of the trajectory and spread of COVID-19.
Please note, that while I am not a medical professional, the information available seems to suggest that the risk of contagion is not necessarily to you. If you are healthy, have a strong immune system, and do not fall within a high-risk category, you may not contract or be susceptible to COVID-19. As always, continue to take appropriate precautions and consult your doctor if you are feeling unwell. The problem is, you can be a carrier and not be aware of it. Social distancing is not necessarily meant to protect the healthy and resilient, it is meant to protect the vulnerable and to stop the spread in general. This is a form of caring for our brothers and sisters and loving our neighbors.
MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS
I don’t like it any more than you do. I do not want to live in fear or succumb to a media frenzy of overreaction. And, most importantly, I do not wish to send the message that by taking appropriate measures to prevent the spread and by complying with recommendations of Health officials, that I am in any way not trusting God or am refusing to believe his Word. In all things, we must trust and stand upon the promises of God. The Bible is very clear that part of trusting is to seek wisdom, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to faithfully steward the gifts and talents that he has given to us.
There are very specific accounts in the Bible where God saved or protected His people from harm or danger. That is true for sure! But, because Jesus tells us that “in this world we will face trouble” I will continue to recognize and to take comfort in knowing that I do not need to be anxious in the midst of it, regardless of what happens, “he has already overcome the world” and that my eternity is secure in Him. (John 16:33)
Finally, as always, filter all information that you see on social media through God’s Word. Ensure there is proper context and that it falls within the framework that we have been given in the scriptures. As an example, you may have seen the very insightful and thoughtful article that is currently making the rounds on social media, written by CS Lewis in 1948 and entitled, "On Living in an Atomic Age" in Present Concerns, pp. 73-80. There is much truth to it and the overall imperative to go on living as we always have as followers of Jesus is sound. But, it is also important to remember, that in the context of the article, it would be seriously imprudent and foolish to ignore things like international diplomacy and attempts at arms agreements simply because we are all going to die at some point anyway. I trust Jesus with every part of my life, but, I do not take a nap on the railroad tracks simply because I do not see an oncoming train or because I think that I am quick enough to jump out of the way should one come. There are multiple sources in the Bible dealing with wisdom. Godly wisdom is a gift from a loving God for our protection. As we move forward, let us heed the advice of James, the brother of Jesus, who said, if you need wisdom, ask God and he will give it generously.
I pray that the peace and grace of Christ will comfort you in all of this,
Please keep in mind that even as Sunday services are suspended, the church continues to operate. You can give your tithes or offering online (BronxvilleCC.org/GIVE) or if you prefer, you can mail a check to the church office, 15 Park Place, Bronxville NY 10708. Thank you for your faithfulness and your continued desire to be part of what God is already doing in advancing his kingdom in our communities and beyond.