One of the chief goods we are praying for is that God would connect us together and to our neighbors in new ways that honor and glorify Him.
In addition to directives from federal and state governments in the past week, yesterday Lewis and Clark Public Health wrote to churches asking them to consider moving services to online platforms or to follow protocol to lessen the likelihood of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. We have decided that it would be best for us to follow that directive both in honoring our governing officials and taking reasonable precautions to keep our community safe. We do not know how long these requested restrictions will remain in place, so at this point we will be assessing at a week by week basis. In the meantime, we will host an audio service this Sunday as a means of helping you to continue to observe the Sabbath and worship with your household. As we get closer, we will update you on the particulars of that, but in the meantime, if you or someone you know does not have the technological ability to listen to a podcast online, please let us know. We will be working to make sure that everyone will be able to participate in some fashion.
We realize that the suspension of public gathering comes at the cost of a precious means of grace commanded in Scripture. The gathering of God’s people is a thing unlike anything else on the globe. It is where God has promised to bind us together and be present with us as His people. We trust, however, that God will with this trial provide grace. We believe that the God who rose Jesus from the dead will “work all things for the good of those who love Him…”(Romans 8:28) While we are beset with various trials, fear of illness, social isolation, economic worries, worry for friends and family, James encourages us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”(James 1:2–3) So, we trust that God is not only sovereign over this crisis, but He is actively working in it to bring good about for His people.
One of the chief goods we are praying for is that God would connect us together and to our neighbors in new ways that honor and glorify Him. We are encouraging the following means to deepen our fellowship with one another.
1. Prayer: Since we will not be able to gather and share prayer requests, Lynn McIver has offered to manage a congregation wide email prayer chain. If you need someone to pray for you, please email Lynn and she will forward out a daily prayer list for us to pray for one another.
2. Fellowship: As we’ve said before, fellowship in the bible is more than having coffee together. It means the shouldering of one another’s burdens in partnership with one another. Greg Murfitt will be helping me administrate our Emergency Fund, a fund set up to “assist people in our fellowship, and our community at large, who are in need.” The economic impact of this crisis is already being felt by some. We are ready to use these funds to help those in need. Further, there are some who are more at risk who may need help getting groceries or supplies or other extra help due to self-quarantining or some other reason. Lynn Mciver will be coordinating those ready to help with any needs as they arise. We also ask that you follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gcfhelena/. This provides us not only with another means of communication, but a way to interact with one another as well.
3. Stewardship: We do want to take this moment to remind everyone to continue giving as you are able. Since we will not be gathering physically, you can give online through https://www.gcfhelena.org/donate. We would also ask that you consider giving to our Emergency Fund, but to do so in addition to your regular gifts.
Contact information for all of your session as well as those mentioned above can all be found in the Directory App. If you need help getting set up on this, please respond to this email.
Also, if you are in contact with anyone who does not have internet access, please do what you can to keep them in the loop and also let us know what you are doing and for whom. It will be essential for us in the coming days to keep tabs on those in our congregation who are more isolated, at risk, or in need of help. Please communicate to us when you know of such needs.
Finally, in the sovereign grace of God, I urge each of us to live in faith that God has not and will not abandon His people. He may, however, use such a thing as this to shake us up and drive us deeper into depending on Him and loving one another. We don’t know how long this will last, but imagine what would happen if we used quarantine time as time for prayer with our families, if we called one another more regularly and prayed over the phone with and for one another, if we sought out ways to open up our bibles together to encourage each other. While I pray for God to keep us each safe, I also look with anticipation to see God drive us into a deeper fellowship with one another that extends beyond sitting next to each other on Sunday mornings. Please pray for how you can be used of God in this crisis. “And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.”(Acts 20:32)
In His Grace,
The Session of Grace Community Fellowship