Our response to COVID-19

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Members and friends of Kelsey Memorial,

When pastors get together to talk about ministry, from time to time there’s a refrain we use: They didn’t teach us that in seminary! Well, we’re at one of those times seminary did not prepare us for. Actually, this isn’t anything any of us are totally prepared for.

By now, I trust you understand the seriousness of what our nation and world are facing. The spread of COVID-19 has had an impact on us all. We have had to adapt how we shop, how we teach and how we interact with each other. Unfortunately, with this pandemic, we must also consider what changes are in order regarding our corporate worship.

Your church leadership has spent time in conversation about the best way to care for you, your family and the rest of our church family. Ultimately, that is a decision I must take responsibility for. So, knowing we care deeply for one another and as per our local government’s recommendations, I am modifying our church’s activities. The following changes will last 3 weeks. Our expectation is that time may be extended, but I will determine that as we continue to monitor what happens in our community.

First, all on-site committee meetings, Bible studies and gatherings are suspended. Second, we are not hosting our regularly scheduled Sunday morning worship gathering. That is the toughest decision to make, but one I feel led to offer for the wellbeing of our church. There are, however, several ways to offer praise to God with the church during these uncertain times. Here are our options:

  • The sanctuary will be open Sunday mornings from 8am to 11am. This is not intended to be a coordinated gathering. If having a moment of prayer and worship in the sanctuary is a meaningful way you need to express your adoration, please feel free to come and go as you are able. But also know we will not allow more than 10 people at one time.
  • A modified worship service will be broadcasted for everyone to tune in to Sunday mornings at 11:30am. This broadcast will not be through our Facebook group like it normally is. Rather, you can access our broadcast on our website, www.kelseymemorial.org, or at www.wearekelsey.info.

Also, please know you have my blessing to remain home during this time, especially if you are considered part of the “vulnerable” category, older adults and those with particular health issues, or are in constant contact with someone who is. You do not have to prove anything to me, to the church or to God.

Of course, nothing about what we are doing is perfect—remember, they didn’t teach this to me in seminary. Believe me, when this is over, we are going to celebrate! In the meantime, these changes will go a long way to help protect our church and community. With these modifications, I think we can allow everyone to participate as much as they feel safe and comfortable.

If we need to further our restrictions or when it’s deemed responsible to meet again, I will let you know. On the other side of this, if it turns out we overdid it, I’ll be okay with that.

You can call, text or email me any time with your questions. And if you weren’t sure before, know now that your leaders and I have prayed for you and our church. As we walk through this together (at a distance), may it be that we trust in God’s care, find strength in God’s peace and know his joy through Christ.

Finally, check in on each other. Commit to call (or video call) 2-3 people from church to see how they’re doing. Take time to write someone a card or letter. Don’t spend so much time on Facebook or watching the news that you don’t get to spend time in God’s word. Let this be a time the church is able to say, “Surely, God is our refuge!”

Blessed Beyond Belief,

John Fletcher

P.S. Please continue to support our shared ministry through your prayers and tithing. You can access online giving on our website or mail your offering to our office.