Statement on the Corona Virus-March 13, 2020
In response to inquiries from many pastors and church leaders, I am issuing this statement that has been approved by the Executive Officers of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus!
These are unprecedented times with the announcement that the Corona Virus, and the COVID-19 illness stemming from the virus, has reached pandemic stage. Church leaders are questioning the wisdom of holding public services. Many are praying for wisdom in responding to family, friends, and neighbors as the national crisis expands.
As a Congregational fellowship, our churches are autonomous and make their own decisions through prayer and mutual agreement, following the direction of government authorities. We have different theological perspectives and personal views on this matter. Some of our churches are in areas where there is a “state of emergency” while others are in places where there are no public cases of the disease. Yes, we can be like the men of Issachar who understand the times and know what to do. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
We should be cautious and prudent when planning our public gatherings. Many of our devoted church members are older people who are in church whenever the doors are open. We need to tell them that it’s okay to stay home since they are the most vulnerable to this disease. We should also communicate this to those with compromised health situations. Churches may choose to cease public worship for a while if most of their members are elderly. Every effort should be made to show love to those who don’t attend church through telephone calls, cards, and visits.
Many of our churches will continue to hold Sunday services. I understand that churches will limit handshakes and passing of the peace. Others will not pass an offering plate and will provide other means to receive the offering. Those with the technology will broadcast services via the internet or Facebook Live. Churches that continue services are doing extra cleaning and disinfecting.
This is an opportunity to expand our Christian witness in a time when many are looking for answers. We can boldly let others know the reason for the hope that we have. (1 Peter 3:15). We should pray for those in authority with the burden of making difficult decisions. (1 Timothy 2:2) We must be agents of reconciliation, not division. (2 Corinthians 5:18).
We encourage you to follow the advice of your personal physical and other health experts. These resources can be helpful as we prayerfully seek God’s will and direction in these matters.
We will carefully monitor the situation and issue other statements as things change.
In the Lord,
Ronald Hamilton, Conference Minister