Dear Cross United
Dear Cross United,
What a wild and surreal season we are in! Between social distancing and new school and work schedules, in some ways we're busier than we have ever been. Between fear of the spread of the disease and faith in the strength of the Lord, we're experiencing a wide range of spiritual and emotional responses. I know this is a trying time for many of you. You're concerned about work, family, school, and our nation. Some of you are in danger of losing your job. Others of you are missing out on a long-planned event like a graduation, family vacation, or wedding.
You might remember that in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus promises to be with us "always." Literally, the original Greek reads, "all the days." I love that thought. By his Spirit, the Comforter, Jesus is with us all the days. He is with us on prosperous days and impoverished days. He is with us on days filled with faith and days feeble with fear. He is with us on days on the road and days quarantined at home. He is with us in our community of believers and in our social distancing.
In just a minute, I want to share a few updates with you. Before that, I want you to know that our church ministry (like many areas of life right now) is re-writing a temporary playbook on a moment by moment basis. In that light, please let me know how I can serve you as your pastor in this season. You can always email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call/text (954-873-2077).
With that said, here are a few things to know about some of our plans for the days ahead.
1. We are suspending all physical, in-person gatherings through the end of March. This aligns with the President's recommendation of 15 days to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The Ladies Bible Study has already been working on a way to meet virtually through Zoom. For the men, we will work to set up a phone-in system.
2. I will be doing a daily teaching at 1pm on Facebook Live. This will be a study in Habakkuk called, "Living Faith in a Season of Crisis." After Habakkuk, I will look at another study we can pursue together. This will be available via Facebook Live and video replay on our church Facebook page. It will also be uploaded to our regular church podcast stream.
3. I am working to set up a phone-in prayer line. I will let you know when it's up and running.
4. Our next couple of Sundays will look at lot like this past Sunday. I will provide an online Bible lesson/sermon, and we will point you to resources for worshipping God in your home.
5. Please continue to give financially. By God's grace, most of our church already worships through giving through our online option. If you have never set this up, now is a great time to start! You can give online here. You can also text (941) 702-9001 to set up secure giving via text.
6. If you need financial assistance, please let me know. If this crisis has hurt you financially and you need resources, Cross United Church stands ready to help. We are a family.
7. If you need help running errands or getting groceries, let me know. I realize some of you might not be able to safely go for food or groceries. We are ready, willing, and looking forwarding to helping if so. We are a family.
Again, let me know if you need anything.
As always, I love you, I'm praying for you, and I will, Lord willing, see you soon.