Worship Updates for October 2020
Dear Siblings in Christ,
Starting on Sunday, October 18, we will gather together for worship in our homes, scattered across our community as we livestream the service from inside our sanctuary without a gathered congregation.
Governor Holcomb recently issued a statewide order requiring continued mask-wearing and social distancing. Several large corporations are keeping their office buildings closed into next year. Area schools are open but mostly on a hybrid basis. And Bishop Bill Gafkjen, in a letter published just this week, urged continued caution for churches. Read Bishop Gafkjen's letter here.
The reality is that we have a small space for worship and fellowship, and that size significantly limits our ability to maintain safe social distance from one another. It's one thing to gather outdoors with a steady airflow and a wide space across which to spread out. In the enclosed space of our sanctuary and entranceway, spacing is limited and air circulation is not vigorous. In Christian care for each other and for our community, we will not gather indoors for worship until pandemic conditions significantly improve.
Even as we agreed not to come indoors for in-person worship, the Ministry Board decided to start a new Member Care Team called to connect more with our congregation as we enter a new season of distancing. The Ministry Board also is looking into leasing a larger space for Christmas worship, allowing us to come together safely during the week prior to Christmas to herald the birth of Christ. We are also expanding Zoom fellowship and Christian Learning opportunities, and will maintain our Sunday worship livestream and Zoom coffee hour.
I am proud of how New Joy has adapted during the pandemic. Thank you for your faithfulness. Keep up your prayers and acts of Christian care, and find us on YouTube for worship, learning, and more.
And most importantly, seek comfort in the cross of Christ and the empty grave of Easter. You can't do it all these days. The fatigue caused by the countless adjustments, emotional let-downs, opportunities lost, anxieties and disruptions caused by the pandemic is real. Find rest and comfort in our Lord Jesus, who urges all who are weary to come to him, for he will carry your burdens (Matthew 11:28-30). Receive Christ's peace (John 14:27), and let divine grace hold you during these troubled times.
"We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren't crushed. We are confused, but we aren't depressed. We are harassed, but we aren't abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren't knocked out" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Our God is with us, guiding us through this pandemic and leading us from challenge to promise, death to life, despair to hope.
Dear friends, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the church still gathers. I'll see you at church.