Beloved of St. Andrews,
If we lived in snow country, we’d be used to the fact that every once in a while a two foot deep blizzard would cause us to cancel worship and/or school, call each other and our neighbors to make sure everything is OK, and patiently wait until the snow melts or the streets were plowed. So what do we do when a pandemic is starting in our community?
Top immunologists, government officials, those who have experienced pandemics, and local, state, and national leaders have recommended we do not gather unless we believe we can meet certain protocols that ensure we do not further transmit the Covid-19 virus. The leadership at St. Andrews does not believe we can meet those protocols at this time.
Thus we are not going to be gathering for worship this Sunday, March 15th, or next Sunday, March 22nd. We will continue to monitor the situation and will continue to communicate to you and our community about actions taken over the next few weeks. Please check your email updates from St. Andrews and the Latest News sections of our website Here, our app, and Facebook.
The Good News
We are Live Streaming our Sunday and Wednesday services! The Word will be proclaimed to our community. Many of you have already taken advantage of this option while traveling or ill, and now all of us will get to experience this venue. Live streamed services can be accessed through our website under the worship tab or on our app. Services are then placed on our Youtube channel and can be accessed indefinitely.
Click Here to start live streaming.
Please stay tuned for our announcements on how we will offer Holy Communion during this time period.
What else are we doing?
- We are contacting everyone in our congregation that falls into the “vulnerable” list for this pandemic. We will not leave anyone alone, but we will respect the protocols for not transmitting the virus. If you are open to running errands or doing some shopping for those who fall into this category, please let us know.
- We will continue to help your family Abide in Christ, Develop Authentic Relationships, and Act in Faith at this time. Here are some resources your family can use for other devotions, spiritual growth and development.
Why are we doing this?
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control
2 Timothy 1:7
I don’t think we are afraid. From everything we have read and been advised on, we recognize:
- the vast majority of people have little more to fear from Covid-19 than a bad cold.
- it’s far more detrimental impact on various segments of our population, many of whom we serve (most especially the elderly and immune-compromised). Each life has inestimable value to us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- Our city’s medical resources and first responders are often taxed to their limit on normal days. What would an epidemic of people with respiratory distress cause, and what impact would an overwhelmed system have on the health of our medical professionals?
Thus, out of love for our neighbor (neighbor meaning any person in Stockton, our first responders, our medical professionals, our civic leaders) we have chosen to participate in the mitigation of the virus by not gathering groups at this time (rather than wait until our community’s resources are stressed). This means all other gatherings at St. Andrews will be cancelled for the next two weeks as well. You may use our church’s ZOOM account to conduct meetings, bible studies, small group gatherings, etc. Just contact a staff member next week for instructions on how to do so.
What can you do?
- Wash your hands. Stop touching your face. Stay home if you are ill.
- Fulfill your vocation. Don’t desert your post. Serve and love. Just be wise and careful about it.
- Call your neighbors! Call your fellow church members! Connect with people on FaceTime, Skype, etc. Stand or sit 10 feet apart on your front lawn and connect with people.
- Take a hike with your family! Plenty of social distance exists in nature.
- Invite people to participate in our (or other church’s) online services
- Pray for:
- A spirit of power, love, and self-control
- Our civic leaders
- First responders and medical professionals (they will bear the brunt of this pandemic)
- The economic impact to small business owners, hourly workers, business leaders, etc. These will be hard times for many.
- Whatever else the Spirit of God leads you to pray.
When Martin Luther was asked, “What would you do if the world would end tomorrow?” he responded with, “I’d plant a tree today.” I think he meant he would just keep on living according to his vocation and calling. It’s spring. Plant a garden. Smell the blossoms. The world will go on. We just need to be more careful than most of us have ever been for a while.
Peace to you,