COVID-19 Update from Randy - April 1
Dear Gateway family,
We continue to live in times unlike anything our country - and perhaps world - has seen since World War II or before. We're all being asked to make sacrifices, to change our routine, to seek to do what is best for our community and our world. It's so weird to not be at the church office, to not see our church family on Sundays and throughout the week, to meet with others virtually. But we choose to do this, both to be obedient to the authorities, but even more importantly, to protect our neighbors by diminishing the ability of the Coronavirus to spread.
However, we continue to seek ways to be together even when we're apart. We have Facebook Live options almost daily for you, as well as reading the Gospel of John in our Through the Word with Gateway Facebook group, which now has well over seven hundred members.
With the actions of both our President and county/city officials, we will continue to offer our Sunday services online only (Facebook Live and YouTube), and our church office will remain closed. Even though our governor has said churches could meet, we believe it is not in our community's best interest to do that at this time. The Apostle Paul quoted a common phrase of his day, saying, "'Everything is permissible for me'", but then he reminded his readers "but not everything is beneficial." (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV) Just because we can doesn't mean we should. We always ask what is the most loving thing we can do in Jesus' name, and we believe, for now, continuing to meet online only is the most loving thing.
I want to share with you about three of our upcoming services. This Sunday, April 5, is Palm Sunday, but it is also a first Sunday when we traditionally offer communion. We have decided to do that this week in our homes. Under these unique circumstances, I invite you to have ready in your home bread or crackers and some kind of juice (grape juice if you have it, but any juice can be used). After the message, at our regular worship times only, I will lead us in a brief time of communion preparation and participation. I will bless the elements in all our homes and then invite all of us to partake of the bread and juice at the same time, as a community of faith. I'm telling you this now so you can have your communion elements with you for the start of our services. We're trying to do this in a way that keeps you from having to go out to get the needed elements, unless you are able to do so and want to - otherwise, please use what you have. Again, this will only be offered at our regular worship times of 9:30 and 11 am, as well as our 2 pm Bilingual service.
On Friday, April 10, we will offer an online Good Friday service. In addition to music and a message, we will again be joining together in communion in this service, so please also have the needed elements for this service as well.
Finally, we are working hard to offer very special Easter Sunday services, at our regular times of 9:30 am, 11 am, and 2 pm (Bilingual). In the midst of all that we're going through, the message of Easter and resurrection could not be more helpful or more encouraging! We will be celebrating in our homes this holy event! Please invite family and friends to join us online. We're also including a link if you'd like to host a Watch Party on Facebook.
Included in this email are links to help you feel more connected to your Gateway family. We'll also be sharing in a few days information about small groups meeting online and other spiritual growth opportunities after Easter. I encourage you to take full advantage of these opportunities. We love you and pray you are experiencing God's hope and peace in these challenging times. I am confident He will see us through and even bring some good out of this that we could not have even imagined at the first of this year (Romans 8:28).
God bless you!
Gateway Community Church