Bethel Church Family,
Psa 11:3 (EXB) “When the foundations of a stable society collapse, what can good and righteous people do?”
We’re closely monitoring the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) both locally and globally, and we’re paying attention to guidance published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our weekly services will continue, and we’re following recommendations from state and local government agencies as best we can.
Presently, there are only a handful of confirmed cases in Wisconsin. While we know the coronavirus is primarily spread through close contact, we’re endeavoring to take all precautionary measures to ensure a safe place of gathering and worship at our wonderful church. As such, we’re implementing a practical plan for extra safety and sanitation.
We believe God is still, and will always be, in control. The spread of this virus has caused a level of fear, anxiety, and even hysteria for many people. While we know and believe that God will cover his people in the midst of the storm, we don’t take this situation lightly and understand the importance of operating with wisdom. Scripture is clear, “God has given us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind, and not a spirit of fear.” (2 Tim 1:7).
As you attend our services, here are some additional steps and measures we’re implementing to ensure a safe and healthy environment in our gathering places.
If you’re currently experiencing symptoms or illness, please enjoy the service online rather than physically attending a service. This will ensure you recover more quickly, and that you do not pass on an illness to others. If you desire prayer for healing, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
During the greeting time in our services, we recommend you greet each other with smiles and waves instead of handshakes & hugs…maybe some “air high fives” would be best.
DOORS & ENTRANCES:
To minimize contact points with other congregants, our ushers & greeters will hold exterior doors open to greet you. The customary handshake will be replaced with a friendly verbal greeting and as always, an encouraging word. We’ll also endeavor to make hand sanitizer more readily available throughout our buildings and at our entrances for all services, as supplies are available.
Let’s continue to be the generous body that we’ve always been. If you can’t physically attend the services, would you please “make up” your giving or continue your generosity by sending your tithes through the mail? Please remember that there are bills to pay, staff to pay, (some with young children) and missionaries to support. Pastor Kim and I are MORE THAN WILLING to forego our salary in order to cover expenses, but if we simply continue our faithful giving as we’ve always done, then every need will be met.
We’re also excited to announce that Pastor Jim has set up the opportunity for online giving as an option. We’ll be making this announcement in our services and will have a video for further instruction so that you can go to our website and begin using this option.
As a further health precaution, to minimize many hands touching the same offering bag handle, let’s try something novel: when it’s time for our tithes & offerings, we’ll have the ushers stand in the front and you can do a “victory march” and place your gift in the bags. Again, our goal is to make you feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
KIDS & YOUTH AREAS:
Our wonderful nursery, children, and youth volunteers will endeavor to provide the healthiest and most sanitary environment that they can. If you or your child is sick, we recommend that you/they not come to services during this time to avoid exposing others to illness.
Although we encourage you to join us in person, we’re so glad that we can livestream our services. If you’re not feeling well, or feel more comfortable “attending” virtually, we encourage you to join us by going online at bethelec.org and clicking on “Watch Live.” We stream at 11:00 a.m. & 6:45 p.m. on Sundays. We’ll even endeavor to stream our Wednesday service if possible.
WILL WE STILL HAVE SERVICES?
We’d like to specifically address the question of, “Will we continue to have services during this time of uncertainty?” Yes we will. The reason for this is several fold. First, we’re COMMANDED to not forsake gathering together. (Heb 10:24) Paul said gathering is for the purpose of ENCOURAGING one another. During this hysterical time, people will certainly need encouragement, hope, and peace.
Secondly, the church has historically ALWAYS marched to a different cadence. When Nehemiah’s enemies threatened the builder’s lives, they GATHERED TOGETHER and “met the threat.” When Jesus was crucified, the disciples GATHERED TOGETHER. They may have been fearful, but they were TOGETHER. When Peter & John were released from interrogation, they GATHERED TOGETHER. When they did, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31)
This above mentioned point ties us into our third reason for gathering. The COVID-19 pandemic is a SILVER PLATTER from God for us to MINISTER to people who are scared out of their minds. Fear & panic have gripped their lives and they NEED THE PRESENCE OF SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIANS to point them to the One Who not only calms those fears, but gives ABSOLUTE ASSURANCE of life after death! We want to swing our doors WIDE OPEN and pray for an infilling of the Spirit in our GATHERINGS.
We encourage you to talk with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers and invite them to hear the “good news” of God’s great plan for their lives. Share scriptures with them, point them towards the Prince of peace, and above all, pray with them.
If you still feel that you’d prefer to stay at home and not come out for the services, we hold NO malice towards you. Get in a comfortable chair, drink some coffee and “cheer us on” through our livestream. PS—Send your tithes & offering 🙂
SCRIPTURES TO BRING PEACE
Isa 8:12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.
Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matt 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Psa 91:5-7 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
Ex 8:22 “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land.
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
JN 14:27 “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.
Here are some of the basic measures listed on the CDC website:
Please continue to pray for those affected, especially those impacted in the Chippewa Valley. We know that God answers us when we pray.
We love you! Pastors Tom & Kim Couture