Common Sense Precautions Against the Spread of Covid
We have just experienced our first outbreak of Covid at Calvary Chapel of Hope. It was shocking to see how pervasive the spread was and how rapidly it worked its way through our congregation. I myself have been quarantined and came a hair’s breadth from being admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. It’s been an uncomfortable experience for me, my wife and many of us, the family at CCOH. But we have been guided by our two verses of the year. Do you remember what they are? – “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). That is what we have been doing and will continue to do.
Another verse that we have been mindful of during recent times is 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Putting these verses together, the Pastoral staff and Board leadership of Calvary Chapel of Hope are proceeding as follows:
Instead of fear we will open the church to services. Our plan is to reopen Palm Sunday 3/28. In recent weeks we have closed the church in order to prevent the Covid virus from spreading further. We’ve kept in touch through social media, texting and phone calls. We’ve encouraged each other and supported one another through meals provided by our SHIELD ministry which has been vital to morale and health. Now that we have quarantined it’s time to begin reopening.
We will reopen our empowering fellowship. We will reopen in love. And we will reopen with sound precautions from sound minds. We will regather together Palm Sunday and have our best Resurrection holy season ever.
Fellowship and bearing each other’s burdens are a powerful essential of our faith. Fellowship is where we acknowledge and spread the love of Jesus. And fellowship is where through sound teaching and spiritual and intellectual stimulation we keep our sanity, self-control, and mental discipline.
As we resume our services and meetings therefore, we ask you to join us in a renewed commitment to the following common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of Covid:
Wear a mask. Mask wearing is controversial. It has been associated with political control and there is an element of truth to this. It’s effectiveness in preventing the spread of Covid has been questioned. Masks are uncomfortable; we get it; we feel the same way. But masks are a deterrent if even minimally. If a mask prevents .5-1.5% of a group from being infected, it’s worth wearing a mask. Just think, are you willing to jeopardize one to two people in a congregation of 100 by not wearing a mask? Look around you. Who of your brothers or sisters or loved ones are you willing to risk getting infected by not wearing a mask? Every life is precious in the sight of God.
Therefore, when you come to church wear a mask. When you are seated you can remove your mask. But when in conversation or moving around the church facility please wear your mask. Wear one that makes a statement; one with a scripture or holy symbol or message on it. Let’s turn a burden into a blessing and ministry tool. Let’s take control and wear a mask for His glory and to protect each other and perpetuate our fellowship.
Social distance. We love to hug and handshake and exchange holy kisses, but it’s just not prudent at this point given our situation. Therefore, we ask that physical contact be kept to a minimum. Substitute elbow bumps if you must touch. You can sit close with those you came to church with, but please social distance with others. Remember, you or someone else could be contagious before you show signs of symptoms of the virus. Social distancing is a powerful preventative measure we need to observe and use.
Kill the germs. If you use the bathrooms or move about the church, touch a hand rail or door knob or any structure, wash your hands with the variously placed hand sanitizer dispensers around the building. Our church is cleaned after every service or usage but germs are sneaky devils and we need to keep them at bay with hand sanitizer.
Protect one another. If you have tested positive for Covid make sure to self-quarantine for the 10-14 days suggested by the medical community. If you are feeling sick or experiencing symptoms such as a cough, congestion, runny nose, queasiness or simply an abnormal weird irregular different feeling, get tested and take precautions to protect those around you. Please do not come to church sick. If in doubt, participate in our services via YouTube, WGSS 89.3 FM, or online. Err on the side of caution and protect one another.
Conflicting views on Covid. There continues to be a lot of discussion on what is effective in preventing the spread of the Covid virus. There are conflicting views on all of these preventative measures. There is simply a lot we still do not know about this virus. Therefore, in an effort to be as safe as possible, and to put your health and safety first, we are opting to observe these measures.
Can I get Covid again? This is another area of uncertainty. There have been instances of reinfections. They are rare, but there seems to be evidence they occur. Therefore, even if you’ve tested positive and passed through the illness and quarantine, for the sake of the health of the Body of Christ, we are asking you to observe the above precautions.
Following these precautions will help us enjoy the powerful blessing of the CCOH spirit of fellowship. We can and will overcome this situation by the love of the Spirit. We just have to approach it with sound actions from the sound minds our Jesus has given us.
Let’s humbly empathize with each other. In closing, one of the related issues to acknowledge is that the situation with Covid has been complicated by its politics. There are many views and responses connected with this virus. There is a lot of division associated with the Covid issue. If we are to overcome and get on with the ministry of Jesus; we have to put the people Jesus died for over and above our political views. Our verses for the year emphasize humility – “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him. For He cares for you.” In Romans a related verse that comes to mind is “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). Another relevant verse is “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). And lastly, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me’” (Romans 15:1-3; cf. also Romans 14:1-23). In view of these verses, we ask for humility and empathy. We ask that you humbly join us and be “of one accord” so the Spirit can continue to move among us (Acts 1:14; 1:8; 2:1-47).
Let’s come together. Let’s come together Palm Sunday. Let’s prepare in prayer to make this a glorious reunion in Christ. Let’s keep Jesus on the throne. And let’s get ready to celebrate the glorious atoning death and resurrection of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. We serve a risen Savior. He’s in the world today. His name is Jesus. He is risen! He is risen indeed! See you soon!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7