No American church in modern times has experienced a crisis such as COVID-19. Church services throughout our country have been and are canceling as a precaution to help alleviate the spread of this virus. Big congregations. Small congregations. All alike are canceling their weekly gatherings and Sunday services. There was almost no warning. There was certainly no training (i.e., no preparation) to move from a regular Sunday gathering to home and individual “virtual” gatherings for Sunday worship. (And, I don’t just mean how to go “virtual,” but training our people to change this habit and discipline for Sunday.) This has been a hard call, a difficult decision, for church leadership to make, including our own elders at CPC New Haven (aka 135).
So, as of this Sunday, March 22, 2020, Christ Presbyterian Church in The Hill will not be holding Sunday services until the COVID-19 threat has passed.
Our church, however, isn’t closed because our church is not a location. Yes, of course, we have a special place where we gather each week on Davenport Ave. Yet, we understand church is the Christians that gather. The church, our church, CPC in The Hill, is a people. In fact, this crisis shows us how important gathering together is for us as Christians—to grow in the Lord, to build each other up, to learn from the word, to develop faithfulness for times of crisis, and, of course, to give thanks and praise to “our Father who art in heaven.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our governing officials have requested (and in some places, mandated) that the American people shut down as much as possible, at a minimum, for a two week period to prevent a spike in the spread of COVID-19, which would overwhelm our medical system. The City of New Haven has banned gatherings of 10 or more at this time; and our CPC leadership has made the decision to do just that.
This is a reasonable request. Having to worship as the scattered church rather than the gathered church for a couple of weeks, in light of these extraordinary circumstances, is not an assault on the church. And, again, this shows us why it is so important to meet together before crises arise! Now, it is an opportunity for us to show solidarity with our neighbors and exhibit concern, not only for those most vulnerable to COVID-19, but those with other medical conditions whose care would be compromised if the medical system is overwhelmed.
This is also a good time to identify with brothers and sisters in the Lord around the world, who, because of persecution, have never experienced (or rarely experience) the freedom to gather openly in large groups. This week (and perhaps for weeks to come), as we gather in our own homes, knowing that brothers and sisters around the country are doing the same, we can remember, also, those who are persecuted as though we, too, are persecuted with them. Perhaps we can get a small glimpse of their difficult experience of corporate worship—where they don’t have a five-day work week, weekends off, or the freedom to gather together at all.
Important Note: I will be posting on Facebook, emailing, texting a link or a PDF (and a word document) to our church family a one page order of service that CPC in The Hill may use for family worship at home.
Thank you all for your patience. If you need anything (we will try to help) or even for prayer, please contact me via email @ ChipCPCtheHill@gmail.com or IM me anytime.
Sincerely, in Christ,
PS Please utilize this Bulletin for family or individual worship this Sunday
Wasted Blogger, Chip M. Anderson
I am the pastor and church planter for Christ Presbyterian Church in The Hill; a flawed practitioner of Wasted Evangelism. I am learning about Wasted Evangelism through my experience in The Hill and through the good people of CPC in The Hill.