We as a church have placed our hope in the “Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Nevertheless, because of the truly unprecedented nature of this moment, each week the pastors and ministry leaders have spent time changing. Changing plans. Changing expectations. Changing our strategy. What has not changed is our belief that all of us need to meet with God by the Holy Spirit through word and prayer. So, slowly, week by week we have created as many venues as possible for people to “gather” around God’s grace found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
On the Wednesday before our first virtual Sunday we were strongly advised to cancel our normal services. Roughly a hundred emails later, that decision was made, and the morning and evening services transitioned to a single morning service and an evening devotional from Dr. Goligher. During the second week, small groups went virtual and people started praying for each other over Zoom and the like. We also saw what could be possible for community building during the pandemic as our tech savvy youth, college, and mercy ministries met virtually for Bible school. The icing on the cake, of course, was the videoed version of the Waltons’ pre-K Bible school class. Those of you singing “What can take Your love away, Nothin', nothin', absolutely nothin'” know what I’m talking about. As Liam geared up to preach on Joel 2, Colin, James, and the tech team geared up for adding as many words and helpful pieces of information to our virtual Sunday experience as possible.
Moving toward the end of week two and into three, we heard wonderful reports of the ways our parishes were reaching out to Tenth members and regular attendees. At-risk individuals were contacted first—an effort which continues to this day. Throughout these early weeks we also kept up with our medical professionals through texts, phone calls, and the reports provided by Dr. Laura Layer and the Medical Campus Outreach team. We must continue to pray for these individuals. As the fourth week commenced, the pre-school has settled into a rhythm of providing creative visual activities for children, our Monday/Wednesday/Friday mid-day prayer gathering was now a familiar routine, and admin staff evolved into a new ever-faithful version of its previous self. Another reminder of the past and the future was our virtual Living Church promoting the Easter Sacrificial Offering. This attempt at re-establishing normalcy continued in week five with the Good Friday service. Moving into the weeks ahead, our hope and prayer is for the number of cases to shrink and the possibility of gathering to rise. Until then, Lord willing, we will resume the evening service via livestream starting this Sunday, April 19, at 6:15 PM.
Hopefully this gives you a brief look at how Tenth has responded to the pandemic. There is more going on and we covet your prayers for wisdom, creativity, and patience, as well as for our global partners around the world. Ultimately, we invite you to pray for God to intervene and for this pandemic to lift so that lives will be saved and the saints can gather for worship. As many of you have studied in your small groups, Exodus 2:24 tells us about a previous crisis situation for the church, “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” We rest in this truth knowing God hears, cares, and has the power to heal his good creation. If you are looking for a way to interact with others and meditate on God’s grace, join us Monday through Friday, 12:30-1:00, for a midday boost of encouragement; at one or of our Sunday services; or in a small group or Bible school class on an ongoing basis. Last, and perhaps most important, please let us know if you or a close family member tests positive for Covid-19, or if you are waiting for a test result. We are committed to walking with you through that trial.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Gavin Lymberopoulos. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org