A Personal Note from Pastor Ray: Update on Coronavirus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
For most of us, the circumstances we are facing with the threat of the Coronavirus are unlike anything we have ever experienced. People are afraid to hug, shake hands, or even leave their homes. Grocery store shelves are stripped of supplies, businesses are suffering, schools are closing, sporting and entertainment events are being canceled, travel is restricted—we are all affected in some way by the Coronavirus outbreak.
But before I bring you up to date on Maranatha Chapel’s response, I want to encourage you, as your pastor and brother in the Lord. God says to us, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). In the midst of all our preparations and precautions, we can be assured that God is with us and is still the Lord of our everyday lives, and of the bigger, global picture.
Our response to the threat is not based on fear, but on love and consideration for our church members and community, and respect for government authorities. We also want to be good stewards of the health resources available, helping to preserve critical health services for those who will need them most.
Yesterday Governor Gavin Newsome announced that California public health officials issued an executive order that large gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state. “Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person.” San Diego County Health officials issued a similar directive today; both of these are effective through the end of March. Maranatha Chapel is following these orders.
Updating the measures we outlined in yesterday’s letter from the pastoral team, here is how we are adapting to these new requirements:
- We will not be holding services at our church building and campus. We will, however, broadcast our weekend services through our website and Facebook at the regular times: Wednesdays at 7:00 pm, Saturdays at 6:00 pm, and Sundays at 8:30 and 10:30 am. These will also be archived to watch at any time.
- Growth Groups will continue to meet during this time. If you are not currently in a Growth Group, this an excellent time to join one. You can watch the services together, fellowship, and encourage one another. “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together… but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching,” Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts us.
- All other ministry group gatherings on-site are temporarily suspended. We will continually monitor the situation and make changes accordingly.
- Thank you for giving online. If you haven’t set that up yet, it is easy to do on our website. We appreciate your faithfulness.
We need to pray for and support one another as a church family. Worship, take communion, serve one another. Be the church!
We will post some guidelines and suggestions for small group fellowship and worship on our website at maranathachapel.org.
Meanwhile, over and over, the Lord tells us throughout His Word not to be afraid. The Bible contains 365 verses that whisper, shout, admonish, exhort, comfort, and encourage us: Do not be afraid. Fear not. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Be anxious for nothing.
Look up these verses and meditate on them every day!
Psalm 103:19 reminds us: “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” Your life is precious to the Lord. He sees the big picture —but He also sees and numbers the very hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30).
I want to thank you for being part of our wonderful church family. We will go through this challenging time together. I look forward to when we are able to meet together to worship the LORD in His house.
I can think of no better way to sign off this letter than by reminding us of that beautiful prayer we sing at the end of our services:
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Love, Pastor Ray