As we've watched the Coronavirus spread this week, we remember that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) - any trouble being physical, spiritual, financial, or relational. This is crucial to remember as the COVID-19 outbreak is unfolding. I want to encourage everyone, to remember that we have no reason to fear. "For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I am the one who helps you" (Isaiah 41:13).
After much prayer and discussion, the Church Council has decided to suspend our in-person gatherings until April 22. This includes all face-to-face worship services on Saturdays, Sundays, and mid-week Lenten worship.
We think this is a first step in loving our neighbors and wisely protecting our church. Evidence shows that social distancing significantly slows the growth curve of the COVID-19. At the same time, many who are carriers of the virus, but who have no symptoms or mild symptoms, will never be diagnosed due to limited testing resources. Therefore, the greatest risk for rapid spread is if those of us who contract the virus, but feel healthy, were to carry-on as normal and spread it. Despite the preventative measures we put in place and communicated this past week, the risk is still significant to a large part of the population.
On Friday, we participated in a clergy conference call with leaders from the State of Colorado that shared heightened morbidity rates (greater than 1.5%) for those over age 60. As we have many members that would potentially fall into this demographic, one of the most practical ways we can love our neighbors and protect the vulnerable is to not gather in large groups, even if we feel just fine.
RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION:
The Pastors will be available to provide Holy Communion to individuals who wish to receive the Lord's Supper. Private appointments to receive Holy Communion can be made by reaching out to the church office at 303-798-0711.
Each week we are recording our Sunday and Lent Worship Services and making them available online. We are hoping to find a way for us to join in worship via a live stream of the service soon.
CONTRIBUTING TO SHEPHERD:
During the next few weeks, it will continue to be critical for us to support Shepherd with our financial contributions so we can continue to pay salaries, the mortgage, other obligations and contribute to missions. Your options for giving are:
1. Mail a check to Shepherd of the Hills
2. Click HERE to be directed to online giving.
3. Bring your offerings when church services resume
All gatherings at our building will be cancelled through April 22.
WHAT'S TO COME?
We will continue to monitor the situation so we can make timely decisions. And we are preparing for heightened sanitization measures when we can resume large gatherings.
Thank you for understanding and for your continued prayers during this time. May you know the peace that surpasses all human understanding.
Ed Barstad and Tad Deering on behalf of Church Council.