Dear friends in Christ:
Out of an abundance of caution, I have decided to cancel worship and Sunday School for Sunday, March 15, as well as Common Ground on Wednesday, March 18. However, for those who need spiritual consolation, I will be on duty Sunday morning in the Church Commons.
Several members of the Session have voiced support for this action. The Session will meet this week to appoint a Response Team, which will consider further actions. For now, other groups that meet in our building are invited to make their own decisions about meeting.
You know my reluctance to cancel worship; an AA member voiced it well, describing why they continue to meet, even in the worst weather: “Someone may need it.” The worship of God is not an optional activity, such as sports or entertainment, but is core to our humanity. Also, I do not presume to be wiser than our public health officials, who have not called for the cancellation of worship. Personally, I think the Catholics have the right approach: worship will continue, but do not attend if you are in the vulnerable population.
Yet in the present moment of uncertainty, I believe this is the right course. The novel coronavirus does not yet appear to have spread within the community, only to have come from elsewhere. But we can take this step to help prevent its spread, and protect the well-being of the faithful.
I regret that we do not yet have the means to provide for live-streaming or other opportunity to gather virtually. I hope that by next Sunday we will be able to offer you something. In the meantime, I will post on our website the sermon I had intended to preach. And I invite you to phone, email, or stop by individually with your prayers and thanksgivings.
In sum: no worship March 15 (and probably not for a while thereafter, but watch for news), but I will be available for prayer and Scripture conversation with individuals. No Common Ground on March 18. May God bless you and guide you in wisdom and faith.