Dear Rush Creek Family, It’s been 24 hours since the last update, and yet the landscape has shifted again. As our government makes swift moves and mandates, and as the first cases of COVID-19 are now being reported in Kent County, we have adjusted our way forward accordingly. Please know that we are not only trying to abide by the letter of the law (government mandates) but the spirit of the law as well, which is to stem the spread of the virus.
Moments ago, the President declared a national emergency. At a more practical level, some of you had to rapidly figure out childcare and family dynamics after finding out late last night that Governor Whitmer had mandated all Michigan K-12 schools be closed for the next three weeks. Even further, just today the Governor mandated a ban on all gatherings of 250 or more until April 5th, which means our Sunday Morning worship services will not be able to happen as we currently know it for the next four Sundays. When we take stock of everything that has happened in the last 48 hours we quickly realize that getting life done with some semblance of order will be far more challenging in the days ahead.
And yet, as God’s people we are resilient! Not because we are better, but because we have a hope and acknowledge the incredible grace that we have the opportunity to display to the world.
So here is the latest. In light of the gathering mandate we are going to share our game plan for the next week (3/15-3/21) in order to honor both the letter and spirit of the law:
- For the next four Sundays: March 15, 22, 29, and April 5 Rush Creek will be offering our Sunday a.m. service online only. No public gathering. No Second Hour. No Children’s Ministry. No Nursery. No Creekside Chapel (evening service).
- You can find all of our services at www.rushcreekbc.org/live. (if you or someone you know need help viewing the service this Sunday, sign-up here)
- This weekend’s student retreat has been indefinitely postponed.
- Our Sunday evening Missions dinner and closing ceremonies will be canceled unfortunately.
- Our mid-week activities will be suspended next week (3/15-3/21) as well. This includes:
- I want to emphasize that this announcement is for next week only (3/15-3/21) as we re-evaluate the landscape from week to week and continue to keep you updated and informed.
All of this news might sound a bit discouraging, but I want to encourage you in some very practical ways. I have mentioned the opportunity in front of us: to be light and life to our RCBC community and our communities of influence. While the ministry methods as we know them may be changing, our mission will not. It will simply take a different form.
Here are the opportunities that we as a staff and board see before us:
- Childcare for families that are burdened by the closing of the schools for the next month (if you or someone you know need help please let us know here)
- Combatting hunger in our community (because of school closures) through an increased partnership with Hand2Hand
- Increased intentional outreach to the Senior Members of our congregation
- Outdoor student gatherings throughout the week
- The use of our gym and PlayZone for families to use in small gatherings to stave off cabin fever
- The use of our facility for smaller discipleship gatherings
- Encouraging smaller in-home gatherings for Sunday Worship online
- Helping the tech-challenged among us to be geared and ready to participate in worship online each week
- And potentially many more opportunities to come!!
Tomorrow morning our leadership team will be meeting with our very dedicated and competent medical team to ensure that we are safeguarding through accurate and thorough communication and protocols that promote health for all our programming. You will hear from some of these professionals this Sunday morning during our live stream worship service.
Finally, I will mention that statistics show that absence from corporate worship adversely affects giving. If ever there were a time to rise to the occasion of exercising generosity, that time is now! We would like to encourage you to consider setting up regular giving through PushPay, our secure online giving platform. The vast majority of you reading this do so already, but we have not been consistent in putting this giving option in front of the congregation. So please consider an act of worship in this way by giving at https://pushpay.com/g/rushcreekbc?src=hpp. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Rush Creek office and staff if you need any assistance in this area!
Sometimes circumstances force change. What that offers is the opportunity to look at life through a fresh lens. We are encouraged as we think about what God has in store for the future and look forward to navigating that journey with you!
Blessings and Health,