Westwood Church family,
We would like update you on church activities since the situation with COVID-19 continues to be both unprecedented and fluid. Recently, the CDC offered guidelines for gatherings that reduced the number of people in a single space to 10. This is a drastic change from the 250-person benchmark that was suggested only last week. Since we are five days away from Sunday, I have five points of contact for our church family: biblical principles, online services, new ministries, prayer, and support.
First, allow me to submit a biblical response to such a request. There are two major biblical principles that give us clarity. One is the issues of honoring our governing authorities when they direct in ways that are not immoral or clearly contradictory to scripture. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resist what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement.” (ESV Rm 13:1-2)
The second biblical principle pertains to the preservation of life. God’s people will always do what allows for the preservation and flourishing of life. This theme is underscored in amazing ways in Exodus 21 and Deuteronomy 22, but no greater example is found in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who gave His life a ransom for many so that all who believe in Him might have eternal life. Jesus preserves life by giving His, and therefore, the application is clear. If God demands we do everything in our power to preserve life, and if Jesus was willing to accept major change to His life — even to the point of death, how much more should we willingly adjust our life patterns in regard to this new virus? Our governing authorities have asked us to pause our social activities for a season in order to minimize potential life-threatening exposure to our vulnerable sector. It is our Christian duty to listen, and dare we impress this word upon our American conscience, obey our leaders.
Second, how will Westwood adjust? Last week we asked some to participate online, and whoever was comfortable participating in person at Westwood was welcome. This week, to honor what has been asked of us only those who are directly responsible for facilitating the worship service and streaming service will be in attendance. Thank you for all, past and present, that prepared this platform for disseminating God’s Word
Third, next Wednesday at 7:00pm we will begin offering a 30-minute time of teaching online (HERE) that will continue to facilitate your growth in Christ. It will be a lot of fun. Join us! Also, and just to have some fun in this pause to social activity, we aren’t sure what to call it, so submit a name online (HERE) for our new online teaching ministry. We will post the names submitted on the Westwood web page and ask you to vote for your favorite name. The winner will get…a case of toilet paper! Well, probably not, but we will have a fun gift for the winner.
Fourth, please, please, continue to submit your prayer requests. We want to pray for your specific needs. You can submit these requests online anytime!
Fifth, thank you for continuing to support Westwood financially. We could not accomplish the work God has called us to without your worship of God through giving.
We are maintaining office hours with a skeleton crew in case there is need. Westwood staff, or your assigned deacon will call you to make sure your family is cared for. If you have an emergency that we can help with, or need pastoral care, we will be available.
Thank you, Westwood Church, you are loved.