To all Fairview members and attenders and visitors,
Hello. Greetings in the name of the God the Creator Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. He is our “three-personal God” (C.S. Lewis).
It seems every day another new statement about the Covid-19 virus is changing our everyday habits. In light of current conditions, and out of a love for God that leads to love for neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40), our elders decided to make some changes to church activities. [UPDATED 3/19/2020]
Session (the elders) decided the following
1 | Live by faith
It may be hard to do right now. But this is the church’s time to show that our life is in the hands of someone higher. Without Christ, the Almighty God is more to be feared than any medical condition (Matthew 10:28). But by faith in Christ, we can no longer be slaves to fear (Romans 8:15).
It doesn’t mean you’ll never be afraid, no. We are people afflicted by weakness. Paul said he was with the Corinthians “in weakness and in fear, and with much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3), aware of his own personal weaknesses! But, the Bible tells us, in Christ we were not given a ‘spirit of slavery’ (Romans 8:15). Rather, the spirit of sonship. In Christ, you are children of God. One day at a time, rest as a child of God.
2 | Sunday Home Worship
We will not meet at church for Sunday School or Worship, but you can participate in your homes. We hope to keep the Sunday schedule as normal as it always has been, aside from having to participate at home.
Worship will still “meet” at 10:45am. For at least two Sundays (March 22 and 29), Sunday Morning Worship will be broadcast for your home use. You can access it through a smart phone, a computer, or by calling in with a phone. We can’t change these circumstances, but we can make the most out of what we have.
We are using a software called GoToMeeting. Be patient with us as we do our best to bring worship to you. We’ve chosen GoToMeeting so that those without computers can also call in.
3 | Sunday School
Pastor Jeff is contacting parents about Communicants Class. All kids’ and youth Sunday school classes will not meet unless their teacher decides to try to do so.
For adults, at 9:30am we will offer an online Sunday School class by John Gallo. John has offered to continue his Sunday School class on Systematic Theology online. We’ll provide a link sometime Friday or Saturday either here, on facebook, email, or all 3. Although you will be able to click on it and watch at any time, I encourage starting the class at 9:30am as we always do. To try to keep that sense of regularity in a topsy-turvy moment. Join in!
4 | Sunday Evenings
Both worship and small groups — are suspended until further notice.
5 | NEW: Giving
Giving is a privilege and part of our task of worship. I haven’t tried it, but I’m assuming I can’t pass offering plates online. Here are three ways to give.
- Online. Click here (also under “Giving” on main Fairview home page). Keep in mind it will charge a portion. Pretty amazing we got this set up not all that long ago!
- Drop off. Come by the church M-Th 9-2pm. Drop off with Marci, she will put it immediately in our safe. You can only come in one at a time please! But a drop-off is also a chance for social connection.
- Mail in. Checks can be mailed to: “Fairview Church | ATTN: Deacons | 6366 Tuscarawas Rd. | Industry, PA 1505.” Please do put “ATTN: Deacons” as specified so that only the deacons open the envelope. Checks can be made out to “Fairview Church.”
6 | Everything Else
All other church activities are suspended until March 30. This includes the Rock youth Group, Covenant Kids, Adult Wednesday prayer, Play practices, Craft night, etc. Sadly, this means our Ladies’ Retreat, too (they might reschedule for the fall).
But this doesn’t mean ministry ends.
Ministry leaders are encouraged to find ways of using this time to minister in different ways. Youth and Children’s leaders can take the Wednesday hour to call youth or families and see how they are doing; or hold a brief Bible study over the phone in a group call, or something else. Personally take time aside to pray for your people. Or write a note of encouragement to older folks who are having to spend time inside.
Someone might ask, “Is suspending ministry fear?”
I assure you at least for this decision, these decisions were made out of conviction, not fear. For one thing, not only are the virus’s effects mostly ‘normal’ or mild for most people who contract it (80% of those who get it), but more importantly, we love and believe in Jesus Christ who the Bible says “sustains all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3) – he will sustain his people in this life as he chooses. No, these decisions are made out of love for neighbor (Matthew 22:39).
We believing in listening to our nation’s leaders right now (Romans 13:1) in trying to hold off what happened in Italy and Iran and China and Korea, when cases spiked very quickly and put great stress on hospitals because of lack of preventive action early. We accept isolation to preserve life! In 1918, a major parade once did not isolate during the Spanish flu, and this was catastrophic.
Love others more than yourselves.
What I don’t mean is, “Don’t love” yourself – no, you are made in God’s image. What I mean is, especially as it relates to this virus: Care for others by isolating yourself. “Right now, love is isolation.” I never thought I’d ever say that as a sentence! But it is. Show love by isolating in your families, or to very small groups of people, because isolating protects the virus from spreading so fast, and in this way, it also protects our medical workers from overwhelmed hospitals.
Feeling out of sorts, perhaps struggling for hope?
We will be calling you church members and regular attenders.
7 | My Pledge
I and the elders are honored and privileged to be your servant-leaders. I will personally do my best to keep you informed of important news (as needed), to care for you, provide regular worship and a “meal” of the word of God every Sunday, to pray for you, and to provide leadership.
8 | Remember Jesus
God isn’t ignorant of what is going on. He never has been. When God saw the world’s sin and misery, he didn’t save us from “out there” making distant decisions like a CEO. He saved us by entering “in here.” To the center of suffering. He chose to suffer the most horrible of human experiences by giving himself up to public crucifixion on a wooden cross. God has proven his love for you by how he saved. He will never leave nor forsake His own people. God will uphold you by his righteous right hand. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Remember that love of Jesus.
And in response, in him, we will meet this moment with courage, grace, love, truth and prayer.
Yours in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,