Friday, March 13, 2020
Dear Anchor Family,
This is such a confusing time and there is so much information coming in every day, so I wanted to create this page to let you know about the steps we are taking to help ensure the health and safety of our church family, given the existence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have been paying close attention to the guidance given by experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and, based on the information they have provided, we will be taking the following steps:
SERVICES AT THE ANCHOR
Santa Clara County has officially prohibited any gathering of 100 or more, with health regulations on 35 people or more until April. We want to honor the governing authorities over us, knowing that the heart behind these rules is to help protect the most vulnerable among us. So, out of our love for our community and in obedience to the guidelines, we will not be having any corporate gatherings at the church. This means that our Sunday morning gathering, our Wednesday night prayer, and our youth ministry need to look a little different. I'm not gonna lie, this is tough for me. I truly love gathering together each week. But remember, the church was never meant to be a building or an event...The Church IS the people of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ. This means, while our services might be canceled, the Church can't be. We have the opportunity to gather as The Church in smaller communities, strategically placed around our cities. Since we can't meet all together in one place at one time, it's going to require you to be more intentional about gospel-centered community.
Here’s the plan:
THIS SUNDAY - We encourage you to gather as a Family. Maybe that means you circle up your own family, or invite another family over, or gathering a small community of friends together...the point is fellowship with believers. Use this time to break bread, to worship, to open God's Word, and, most importantly, to pray together. I'm working on some resources to make available for your "house church" to use and will post them online when they are complete. If you are hosting other people, please make sure you are practicing good hygiene by washing hands and disinfecting surfaces. If you are feeling sick at all, please stay home and isolate yourself. We love you and would love to be praying for you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll blast that out to our prayer team!
WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAYER - This is another difficult move, but love compels us to reconsider how we are gathering together. One of the options to consider is to meet in some sort of an online forum. I'll be investigating and testing out several methods for large online meetings and will keep you posted. This is another area where it might be best if we move this into homes through smaller gatherings for the time being.
SUNDAYS MOVING FORWARD - We should have our live stream setup complete by the 22nd and will stream our service online. There will be worship, a message and, while a live stream will never be a replacement for the corporate gathering of believers, we pray this is a blessing to your walk with Christ. Continue to gather with your family or friends and we pray the teaching and worship streamed through the internet will be a source of strength for you all during this season. More information and updates will be posted on our instagram and facebook pages. You can also sign up for our email list by clicking HERE. Just because we can't meet all together as one does not mean that we can't still participate in many of the rhythms of worship we have as a church...just on a smaller scale. You can still worship through recieving communion together as a group. You can still worship through the giving of tithes and offerings through the website or app (if you write a check, you can mail it to the church). You can still worship through the hearing, recieving and applying the Word of God...and you can still definitely worship through song. There are plenty of ways to worship as The Church!
Like I said, this is a confusing time to be sure. There are so many little details and things that we are trying to get our heads around! And while we are required to make a lot of adjustments, and it could be that some of us or people we know will directly be affected by the coronavirus, we can still trust the Lord and know that JESUS IS GREATER THAN THE CORONAVIRUS! It's important to remind ourselves of what we already know. Worry is not our friend, and panic is not our way. Solomon reminds us, "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small." (Proverbs 24:10). May it never be said that God's people are governed more by fear than faith.
During times of crisis such as the coronavirus, natural disasters or tragedies, the world needs steady people who are strengthened by God's grace and selfless by God's power. So, we press on! We pray for the sick. We walk in God's strength. We love the family of God and we do good to all. We don't hoard resources, we share them. We do not believe that God has lost control or that He didn't see this coming. This means we can have faith that the Lord is going to use all of this to glorify Himself and build His Church. As Christians, we have the opportunity during this crazy time to proclaim that sickness and death and suffering do not get the final word. Jesus does. Our hope goes far beyond the momentary and, as followers of Jesus, we have a peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). So no matter how crazy this world gets, remember: God is still in control. God still knows what's best. And God still loves us. So may we walk by faith and freedom!
I love you guys,