IN LIGHT OF CDC
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A Letter from Pastor Jim- 3/18/20
I just finished participating in a conference call with our District Superintendent and all the other pastors on the Philadelphia District. I want you to know that we were praying for you and the many needs associated with the spread of COVID-19. I also met with members of our church board last night to discuss the situation and the recommendations set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). As a result, your church leadership has decided it is in the best interest of all concerned to cancel all regularly scheduled church activities until further notice.
In the meantime, there is still much to do. While we will be working on creating podcasts and providing updates through our church website and Facebook page, we recognize that not everyone is well connected via social media. I believe this is an opportunity for us to "practice" being the church. What I am asking you to consider is hosting a small group, (no more than 10), on Sunday mornings for the foreseeable future. We'll provide whatever resources you need, but many of you already have Sunday school material, devotional books, Bible studies; and you can even connect to Right Now Media in your homes by utilizing the church's account.
Should the gathering restrictions suggested by the CDC be imposed for an extended period of time, staying "physically" connected with the body of Christ will be essential. I recognize that not everyone will be comfortable opening their homes or even having some form of physical contact with others. Please know that there is no judgement being placed upon you. Utilize as much social media as you can to stay "in touch."
If you are willing to open your home and lead a Sunday morning small group during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact me and let me know who you plan to invite. I would like to make sure that everyone connected with our church receives an invite to gather in a small group for prayer, worship, Bible study, and encouragement each Sunday morning. I need your help to make this happen.
Many people are wondering "why" this is all happening? There is great speculation concerning the spread of the coronavirus. I am not exactly sure how to answer many of questions being raised. But I do know this: the apostle Paul shares with us in 2 Corinthians 1:3 these words of instruction and encouragement:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God." (NRSV)
In the midst of this season, everything that has already transpired in our lives in which God has brought us through difficult days now becomes the footing from which we reach out to serve others. Share information. Be an encouragement to others. Make needs known. Connect in small groups, (10 or less). Work your social media network. And please coordinate your small group involvement with us here at the church so we can ensure that everyone is being included.
We, (obviously), will not have all these groups organized by this Sunday. We plan on "building this airplane while it is taking off!" Thank you for working together to honor Christ and glorify the Father through your acts of kindness and generosity. I will do my best to continue informing, lifting, and helping you in the midst of this global crisis. As we band together in service to one another, God will use this experience as well to "console us so that we may be able to console others."
Rev. Dr. Jim Peterson, Pastor
The Bridgeton First Church of the Nazarene