Posted on March 18, 2020
To the RCC Family,
Greetings! I want to share with you a quick update concerning RCC’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The church leadership met last night to pray and make key decisions regarding church services and programs for the near future. The CDC’s strong recommendation to limit social gatherings to ten and under over the next eight weeks certainly presents challenges to faith communities like RCC. As a church we want to be socially responsible, respecting the informed decisions of government and practicing social distancing as an expression of “love thy neighbor.” At the same time, we also want to be spiritually vital and creative, pursing short-term, alternative expressions of worship, community, and ministry.
With this introduction in mind, here are RCC’s updated plans and strategies for the next two months. Please share this information with other members of the RCC community, especially those who may not be connected to social media.
For the next eight weeks (through May 10th), RCC’s worship services will be completely online. For clarity, this means there will be no in-person Sunday AM gatherings over the next two months (including Sunday school classes). Beginning this Sunday at 10:30 AM, we will offer a worship service through Facebook Live. Within a couple of weeks, we also hope to offer either live streaming of our service or the option to watch a video of the service on our website. As soon as this second online option is in place, we will make this known to the congregation.
Related, we have purchased the necessary licenses to be lawfully able to record and post online our entire worship service. Audio podcasts of full services should be available by early next week. We are also going to make CD copies available to those who cannot access Facebook or the church’s website. Please communicate with us if you would like a CD mailed to you.
All other routine, onsite church programming including 242, adult education programs, children’s ministries, and student ministries are cancelled through March. The leadership will decide at the beginning of April if this programming hiatus will be extended for the full eight weeks. With this in mind, we are considering possible online study and community opportunities. We’ll share more details soon. Additional types of smaller gatherings will be judged on a case by case basis over the next two months. Call the church office if you have any questions.
The church will continue to function according to the normal weekly office hours (8:00 AM – 3:00 PM). Staff will be available if you need anything.
Beginning next week, we plan to send out through email a weekly congregational news update. If your email has changed, please let us know. Also, let us know if you would prefer a print version of the update mailed to you. This weekly RCC news source will include relevant announcements, prayer needs, and a devotional study based on the current sermon series. On that note, we plan to resume our study of Peter’s life this upcoming Sunday.
Finally, we are actively and prayerfully thinking about what ministry needs the church may be able to meet in the weeks to come. With unease over the virus spread and the resulting economic hardships, RCC wants to be ready to be the hands and feet of Christ to our community. One initiative is that we are providing “buddy bags” to students in the community who might be hungry.
A second initiative is a “community cupboard” we have set up to support families in our congregation. Located in the office hallway, various goods are being brought in to share with anyone who has need (Acts 2:44-45). We do not want anyone in the RCC family to do without. If you need something, please visit the “cupboard.” If you would like to donate, please stop by. Rather than panicking or hoarding, let’s share with one another and bear each other’s burdens.
I will close with the beautiful promise of Isaiah 40:31 – “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”