I want to take a moment to write to the Restoration family, as your pastor and shepherd of this flock, to let you know that we have been paying close attention to the spread of the Coronavirus and the response in our community. I read a quote from Andy Crouch in an article called Love in the Time of Coronavirus that challenged me as a leader. He said, “A leader’s responsibility as circumstances around us change, is to speak, live, and make decisions in such a way that the horizons of possibility move towards shalom, flourishing for everyone in our sphere of influence, especially the vulnerable.” This spoke to me and pushed me to make the hard decision about what Restoration will be doing for the next two weeks in light of the spreading Coronavirus pandemic.
For the next two weeks (March 15 and 22) Restoration will close our doors for Sunday worship and suspend our weekly activities in order to be sensitive and compassionate to those who are vulnerable, show solidarity with those who are fighting this pandemic, and pastorally love others in this time of the anxiety and uncertainty. We will reassess at the end of that period.
Through prayer, seeking wisdom from others, and listening to the concerns from our own congregation, we feel this is the best way forward. To quote our own bishop, Todd Hunter, in how we are to view ministry: “We are to engineer church from the mission field backwards.” I realize this is especially important during critical times in the church and in the world today when the church is called to lead by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Cancelling worship services this week does not diminish the importance of gathering as a church body. Nothing replaces church and I will grieve the loss of gathering with you all each week. We will offer morning prayer this Sunday at 10 am on Facebook Live in addition to our usual Tuesday morning prayer. Giving is still an essential part of our worship as well. Please visit our giving page for more information on online giving and simple instructions to set up recurrent gifts to Restoration.
I am asking all our community groups to cancel their meetings through the end of the month. Over the next few days we will introduce other ways of cultivating community while we cannot safely meet in person. If you are not currently a part of our Restoration Activity Facebook Group I encourage you to join. We will use it as a place to post about needs in the Restoration family as we face days ahead with some members potentially without access to resources, paychecks, childcare, and other necessities. If you would like to post a need and are not on Facebook please contact Amy and she can share it with the group. If you are in need of pastoral care for any reason please contact me.
We do not yet know what the weeks ahead will look like but we will press into our faith in Jesus and lead with love. Let me close with a great quote I read this morning by Matt Pearce: “I imagine all the closures and cancellations give people a sense of ominousness. But it’s really an amazing act of social solidarity: We’re sacrificing so we can give nurses, doctors and hospitals a fighting chance. Start from there and hopefully we can figure out the rest.”
Stick with us as we start here and figure out the rest. We place all of our hope in Jesus the Healer!