In light of current events, we are reminded of Psalm 91:2 “I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,  My God, in whom I trust!”. It is so good to know that the Lord is our refuge and our fortress! He is in control and he will guide and protect his people even through the darkest of days.

As you are certainly aware, the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to spread. The CDC has said that people over 60 or who have chronic illness should stay home as much as possible. Our governor has said no public gatherings of over 250 people in Oregon for the next 4 weeks. While our average church attendance is well below that number, we are still concerned. We believe the intention of this mandate would still apply to our services. Whether it be a group of 25 or 250 the concern is still the same. The guidelines state that we should keep a distance of at least 3 feet from the nearest person. We have a small building, and by necessity we are in close proximity to one another at every church gathering. We believe that the restrictions placed on public gatherings, should also apply to our church services.  In this unprecedented health crisis, we believe we will be putting our members at risk if we continue with public services.

The core aspects of our fellowship, taking communion, shaking hands, and being close to one another are all things that need to be avoided at the present time. To try to continue to meet with only “healthy people” is impractical and naïve. Experts have made it clear that even people who appear symptom free can already be infected and can spread this virus. We are not fearful, but we do want to heed the experts and do our part to help stop the spread of this horrible disease. Showing love for others involves making sacrifices for the benefit of others. So, in consideration of the public health emergency we are facing, and the mandates given by the CDC and State Government, we will cancel our public worship service this weekend. Going forward, we will suspend all public meetings including our Sunday service, Wednesday night service, and Men and Women’s Bible studies. There will be no services until at least the beginning of April. We will re-assess the situation then, hopefully we will be able to resume our normal gatherings, when this crisis passes.

This decision has not been reached lightly. We believe that there is a real and present danger to the lives of our community. To suspend our public worship service is in the best interest of all of us. We would encourage you to curb your social interaction to only what is necessary over these next few weeks. If possible, stay at home and keep your distance from others. This is not overreacting, this is not paranoia, this is the wise response to a very real threat. This is done for the safety and benefit of all members in our congregation. The world is dealing with a global pandemic, and we must take steps to try to stop this before it gets any worse.

We have many years of past sermons available online, so would encourage you and your family to watch one of those this Sunday for your family worship time.

Let us pray for our nation and for those infected. We trust in the Lord for all things and we trust He will see us through these difficult days.