Dear Rush Creek Family, I write to you today to address the growing concern surrounding COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. I recognize that the reactions to COVID-19 range from complete skepticism to full-blown panic. Many college campuses are already canceling all of their face-to-face classes and moving everything online. The NBA has already suspended the remainder of their season and the NCAA has announced that the March Madness tournaments will be played without any fans in the stands. Furthermore, last night President Trump addressed the country and introduced a 30-day travel ban from a majority of European Countries into the United States in order to slow the rate at which COVID-19 spreads.
On a local level Governor Whitmer has called for a state of emergency in the State of Michigan upon learning that there have been two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan so far, both of them occurring on the East side of the state. However, it is increasingly likely that the virus will eventually make its way to Western Michigan. As a result of the state of emergency, Governor Whitmer is encouraging many schools and organizations to cancel or postpone events that bring together more than 100 people.
I share this with you, not to make you panic or worry, but to share truthful information about the reality we face…
But I also want to encourage you. On the Federal, State, and Local levels, the government seems to be acting swiftly and decisively in addressing the situation. From a medical standpoint, all of the experts agree that for the overwhelming majority of anyone who would contract COVID-19 the results would be flu-like symptoms including a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. For those who are already of good health, there is very little risk. However, we must be honest in saying that those who are elderly or have chronic health issues need to be increasingly cautious in light of COVID-19’s impact on those specific demographics.
It is in light of the nationwide reactions, changes, and panic that I want to inform you as to some of the steps we are taking as a church to be as proactive as we possibly can be, as well as provide some much-needed hope and reassurance.
As it relates to Rush Creek activities:
- We will continue to have Sunday morning worship services for the time being. If that decision ever needs to be reversed we will use all of our available communication channels to inform you of any changes.
- We want to encourage you to stay home and join our services online IF you are feeling sick in any way. Rush Creek’s services can be watched live on our YouTube page: rushcreekbc.org/live
- We want to encourage all those who do join us in person to be mindful of washing their hands and coughing into elbows to help decrease the spread of germs.
- We will increase our efforts to ensure that many of our physical common touchpoints (door handles, countertop surfaces, bathrooms, and many more) are cleaned repeatedly in order to work against the spread of germs.
- Furthermore, we encourage you to greet people with a smile and a wave in lieu of shaking hands or hugs. I know this will be very difficult for us as a church, and yet I know that we can do this in a way that is still warm, welcoming, and friendly!
- We will not be doing a “greet your neighbor” time during the services in order to ensure that we don’t have a mass number of handshaking.
- We will also be forgoing an offering that requires “passing the plate” and will for a period of time make available offering boxes in the back of the auditorium and the foyer that we can place our offerings into before or after the service, or anytime during the week. We will also make available Deacons and Staff Members to assist anyone who would like to move their giving to Rush Creek online through our PushPay giving platform.
- We will have forthcoming information as it specifically relates to many of our mid-week activities: Wednesday Night Activities, Drop Zone, Bible Studies, Evening service, and much more.
- This COVID-19 situation is obviously fluid and rapidly changing. And as such we will do all that we can to continue to update you regarding any future developments and decisions.
It is important to realize that this doesn’t just affect our Rush Creek services, but will also be something that the many groups which use Rush Creek as their meeting location will also have to work through. Specifically, please be in prayer for the FourSquare Homeschool Coop, Classical Conversations Coop, Ladies Bible Study Fellowship who use our building every week and will need to prayerfully consider how best they can approach the COVID-19 situation.
Lastly, I just want to leave you with a word of encouragement. As frail humanity, it is so easy to give in to fear and the unknown. We do not yet know to what extent this situation will affect our daily lives into the future. And yet we trust and pray knowing that the Lord is in control. We have not been given over to a spirit of fear for our hope is eternal through Christ Jesus our Lord. That doesn’t mean we act rashly or without regard for our well-being or the well-being of others, but it does mean that we move forward with bold confidence in the eternal plan of God for the world. It is in light of this that with love and grace we comfort those around us as our great God and Heavenly Father comforts us. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians:
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Rush Creek Family we are in this together, united as one Body, praying and trusting God in all things, and working on His behalf to see His goodness and grace take hold in a world that is scared and in desperate need of His comfort.
Blessings and Health,