Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under the sun ... a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces. Ecclesiastes 3:1,5
New Joy Worship Services Suspended
New Joy Lutheran Church is suspending worship services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is our time to avoid embraces.
This is not a decision I made lightly or easily. I did not make this decision alone, but as Pastor I bear primary responsibility for our life together.
I discussed our response to this outbreak over recent days with our Board and other leaders, and had come to a different decision up to this point. But in this changing environment I have reconsidered the situation and, in consultation with medical and congregational leaders, I have decided that we will close for worship.
Messaging from federal and local government officials, public health officials, experts on television and radio, and medical professionals is not consistent. This reality makes it very difficult for we who are not public health experts to discern the best way forward.
I have spoken with and heard directly from local medical professionals who are strongly urging that everyone maintain "social distancing" to avoid transmission of this virus, and that we not meet in large groups. This applies to Sunday worship, Wednesday Evening Prayer, and Wednesday Bible Study.
The church office will remain open. The Preschool has closed.
This is a serious enough situation that the Governor and the President each have declared states of emergency. Certainly people will have different - and strongly held - opinions about our decision to close and about the widespread disruptions in our daily life that response to this virus is causing. So be it. If erring on the side of caution is the best we can do, then let's do it for the sake of our neighbor and nation. After all, we live not for ourselves but for others.
Modified Livestreamed Worship
A modified worship service will be live streamed on the New Joy YouTube Channel. Livestream is new to us. We'll do our best to make the technology work, and I'm sure we'll get better at it as we gain more experience.
In this time of heightened anxiety and disruption, let us be a sign of Christ's peace to one another.
Pastor Chris Duckworth