March 18, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I am writing to inform you that this morning the Mountain City Church elders, Matt, Chris and I, decided to cancel all services for at least the next two Sundays. We announced last Sunday that we would follow our state government’s lead which has limited gatherings within the state to 50 people. We were right at that threshold last week and possibly could exceed the limit this week as folks from other local congregations, which have already canceled services, are finding their way through our doors. We feel that we have a moral obligation to protect those that God has given us to care for and that it would be in the best of all to not meet for at least the next two weeks. This decision is subject to revision should the state of Maryland hand down new guidelines.
Our thinking as elders accords well with the word of Francis Grimke, pastor of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Washington DC, during the Spanish Flu in 1918, “The fact that the churches were places of religious gathering, and the others not, would not affect in the least the health question involved. If avoiding crowds lessens the danger of being infected, it was wise to take the precaution and not needlessly run in danger, and expect God to protect us.”
For the duration of Mountain City Church’s closure, we will not be streaming services online. If you would like to know some of the reasoning behind this, you can click on the link provided that will take you to a podcast that explains it well. https://www.9marks.org/pastors-talk/episode-119-on-when-the-church-cant-gather-2/
If you would like to listen to a message on Sunday morning, I will choose a relevant message from our archive for each week that we are closed and make it available on the main page of our website. We will continue our sermon series through Philippians when we are able to meet again as a faith family. Let each of us use any absence of gathering as an exceptional time under the hand of God, to reflect on our life, our church, our community, to pray for the sick and medical professionals, to offer whatever help we can, and to rest. I believe it was no coincidence rather God’s sovereignty that we spent the first part of the year looking at “Making Space for God” in our lives. He has providentially made that space for us!
We have an exceptional opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities. If you know of anyone who is in need and you yourself cannot meet that need please contact one of the elders and we will try to meet that need as a faith family.
As we continue to pray, read our Bibles, love our neighbor and show generosity. I wanted to remind everyone that you can give to the church online through our website, there is a GIVE button at the top of our webpage. Along with Matt and Chris, I will be praying for you, as always, during the weeks when we are apart. Please let us know how we can be specifically praying for you during this time.