Every day I read headlines about the indelible mark that the Covid-19 virus has left upon the world. It seems as though no part of the world has been left untouched. Sports and graduations have been cancelled, many have been laid off of work or furloughed. the world economy is reeling and political leaders have taken unprecedented steps to try and stave off another Great Depression. Not to mention over 60,000 deaths and over a million reported cases of the infection (at the time of this article). This will be a year most of us will never forget.
Like everyone else, Red Door Church has been making adjustments to this situation and we wanted to pass along some of that information to you.
First of all, our building is closed until this crisis passes over. Not long ago Vermont’s Governor, Phil Scott, gave a “Stay at Home” order to all those who were not deemed essential workers and he put a ban on gatherings larger than 10. That order lasts until April 15th, but I expect it to be extended.
Second, we are holding online prayer meetings each week. This week and the week before we hosted two and we will likely host at least one this coming week as well. Our other leader boards are also meeting virtually to avoid spreading the virus.
Third, we are increasing our Facebook Live presence. We started doing Facebook Live last summer and it was well received but it was only for the sermon portion of our services. Since the C19 outbreak, we have decided to do a more complete service on Facebook Live, with a time of prayer, announcements, and a little music in addition to the sermon. This will likely be temporary at least until we can make more needed upgrades to our sound and video equipment which we are planning on having installed this summer (if the Lord wills and the C19 virus doesn’t preclude travel for the team from NC that is coming up to help). Here’s a glimpse at what we are doing for Holy Week on Facebook Live this year:
Palm Sunday service at 10am
Monday morning devotion at 9am
Tuesday morning devotion at 9am
Wednesday morning devotion at 9am
Maundy Thursday service at 7pm
Good Friday service at 12pm
Saturday Morning children’s Easter story
Easter Sunrise service at 7am
Resurrection Sunday Service at 10am
Fourth, we are ramping up our efforts at our local Food Shelf. Our church oversees the South Royalton Area Food Shelf and since the C19 outbreak we have seen an increase in need. The challenge has been how we meet that need without endangering our volunteers and the families we are seeking to help. Thankfully the Vermont Food Bank has been passing along helpful info to local food shelves about how they can be more creative in safely helping neighbors during this crisis. At our food shelf here’s some of what we’ve been doing: (1) extra cleaning, (2) wearing masks and gloves, (3) not allowing the public into the building, (4) making deliveries, (5) and only allowing volunteers to serve who are healthy and have not been exposed (to their knowledge) to the virus. We are actively working on more solutions as we speak.
Fifth, the elders of Red Door Church created a Holy Week worship booklet that is available to families on our church website (we also mailed out about 75 of them). The vision behind this booklet is to allow families to engage in worship, prayer, and learning, while at home and away from the gathered body of Christ. The booklets contain reflections, scripture, songs and hymns, and maps and other materials for Holy Week. Those who have internet access are encouraged to tune in and use the booklet in conjunction with the Facebook Live services (or tune in to YouTube later in the week if they are not on FB). I recently did a short video that talks about these booklets and you can download the booklet here on our website.
Sixth, we have ordered 250 face masks for our community. Some in our church have been making masks and distributing them to local organizations, like the food shelf and other places. These 250 will be given away to those who need to be out to shop or to do other essential business.
Finally, we are simply seeking to remain connected with another. We know that community is essential to life, especially the Christian life, and we are striving to be in regular contact with our people. The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us of how critical it is to remain connected and to exhort one another every day so as not to fall away (Heb. 3:12-15). And, as that same writer reminds us later, we must strive to keep our eyes fixed upon the Lord Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith so that we will not grow weary or disheartened (Heb. 12:1-3). Community is essential if we are going to make it through this trying time, so we are making efforts to be in regular contact with our people.
Blessings to you all! May the Lord be with you during this time.
My life is one of contradictions. I’m a southern boy living in northern New England; a boring guy married to super-fun girl; a conservative pastor in a progressive Christian denomination; a changed man in need of change; a sinner loved by a holy and perfect God.