THURSDAY, APRIL 2

A few weeks ago, we let you know that we were canceling all services and programs through the end of March. Well, now we find ourselves in April. And we want to let you know a few important updates in the life of the church.

First, we want you to know that, in keeping with the federal government’s extension of recommended social distancing for thirty more days, we have decided to cancel all services and programs through at least the end of April. We will continue to provide Worship Guides each weekend for you to use to worship in your homes, which you can find at christscovenant.org/worship

We also wanted to share a few very important financial updates with you–to keep you informed and to invite you into participation with us to ensure that we are being good stewards of the resources God has given to us. After all, our gatherings may be canceled, but our mission doesn’t stop.

First, thank you so much to each of you who have been generously supporting the mission of our church, some of you even switching to electronic giving in recent days.

We know some of you have either lost your employment, or are on the cusp of it. We want you to remember that our church has a Benevolence Fund, which our deacons help oversee to help congregants who are facing financial hardship. Please do not hesitate or feel embarrassed about reaching out to us if you are in need. You can contact Pastor Rod (rvalentine@christscovenant.org) or call the church office. This is part of how we function together as a church family—helping each other in our time of need!

Our giving had been lagging a bit behind our budget prior to our cancellations of services in mid-March. The last three weeks, that gap has widened significantly, with total offerings being about 50% less than normal each week.

Thankfully, we are not in a crisis mode. Because of wise stewardship in years gone by, we have emergency funds we could draw on if absolutely needed. Yet, we also want to be proactive about reducing spending and inviting your increased financial participation. Our pastors and Finance Committee members are discussing and analyzing our position and options on a weekly basis.

We would encourage you, whether you have been a regular financial contributor or not, to consider how you may be able to help ensure that our missionaries and staff are cared for, that our bills are paid, and that our ministries are able to continue strongly through this crisis and beyond. We are about to see fertile ground for gospel ministry all over the world in the days ahead; and we want to be in a strong position to minister. Ideas for how you could do that would include the following:

If you have been waiting until we are able to worship in person to give, please consider giving now by mailing in your offering or by going online to make a contribution digitally. You can do that at christscovenant.org/give or by mailing a check to: 2090 E. Pierceton Rd., Winona Lake, IN 46590.

If you are already a regular contributor, would you consider increasing the amount you contribute during this season of us being scattered?

If you’ve been a sporadic contributor, would you consider making your giving consistent and repeated? This is actually really easy to do through our online giving portal!

If you have not normally made a contribution, would you consider starting? This crisis is making us all evaluate priorities, and we would love to have you join us in helping fund God’s mission here locally and internationally.

If you are going to receive a federal stimulus check but are not in need of those funds, would you consider giving a portion of that to help further the church’s mission?

I have been incredibly proud of our church as we’ve entered into this crisis, and I am confident that God is doing good work among us as we minister to each other and to our community. Even while we are scattered, we are united by our common faith and our common mission. Press on brothers and sisters.

We will continue to share important updates as time goes on, and we will continue to do our best to care for you during this season.

On behalf of the pastors and staff,

-Pastor Marc

 




WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18

As the coronavirus continues to spread, we want to keep you informed of what we are thinking as your pastors and how we are planning as a church family.

You are likely already aware that we canceled our worship service this past weekend. Yet even in the last few days, since that decision was made, there have been a few other recommendations made at state and federal levels regarding public gatherings. You can read about those by clicking HERE and HERE.

We have decided to cancel our worship services and programs for the remainder of March (and potentially beyond, depending on how things unfold). We will continue to provide you with a “Worship Guide” each weekend, which you can use in your home. You’ll always be able to find those at christscovenant.org/worship

We’ve also decided to change plans for two additional events in April:

  • We are postponing our Art Gala Fundraiser, which was scheduled for April 18. Once the fog that is ahead of us begins to lift, we will seek to make plans to reschedule this wonderful event. In the meantime, maybe you could use some of your extra free time to create some pieces of art you could donate!
  • We are canceling the Blood Drive that was scheduled for April 1. The need is still extremely high though. So if you’d like to find a time/place to donate blood, you can go to: www.redcross.org/local/indiana

Though we are disappointed to have to alter our plans, we are confident that God knows exactly what He is doing.

We will keep you informed about things as time goes by, but would encourage you to be active in seeking to care for each other by making phone calls, sending notes, writing texts, etc. We still need each other–perhaps now more than ever.

Be on the lookout for various posts on our Facebook page in the days ahead for resources, suggestions, and encouragement as we all try to make it through this season together!

Blessings,

-Your Pastors




FRIDAY, MARCH 13

See below for a message from the pastors about the decision to cancel worship service for March 15. In lieu of meeting, we’ve provided a “Worship Guide” which you could use in your home. You can access it here: WORSHIP GUIDE


As you are undoubtedly aware, the world has been abuzz in recent days about the rise and spread of the virus known as COVID-19 (coronavirus). As your pastors, we are “physicians of the soul” (to use an old Puritan term)—not medical doctors. We are not experts about viruses, immune systems, medications, or anything of the sort. But we do have a responsibility to think on behalf of the congregation and to provide leadership about difficult decisions at times. Over the last few weeks, and more intensely over the last few days, we have been carefully following reports and recommendations pertaining to this virus from medical professionals and government authorities—while also processing potential decisions with other leaders within our church (deacons, staff, security team, etc.).

Ultimately, we have decided to cancel our worship service and all church activities for this Sunday, March 15 (as well as our programs/activities for Wednesday, March 18). No decision is being made as of now regarding dates or activities outside of the week ahead.

This has not been an easy decision. In Scripture, we see corporate worship commanded and celebrated as a gift of God (Hebrews 10:24-25). We love being together Sunday by Sunday. We see it as the best day of the week and hope that you do as well! Yet, there are other Scriptures that we must be guided by as well, which are contributing factors in our decision:

  • We are called to respect governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7). And our Governor’s office has announced restrictions on public gatherings for the time being. If our government isn’t calling us to sin, we should have a disposition to honor and follow them.
  • We also are called to love our neighbors (Mark 12:28). And while we don’t know the full extent of the risk and realities of the virus, it is loving to do what we can to help protect vulnerable populations. Out of love for neighbor, we’d encourage you to familiarize yourself with the wise practices described under the “general information and resources” at: https://www.in.gov/isdh/28470.htm

We should not be afraid of this virus—or even of death itself. Our decision to cancel our worship service is not fueled by fear. As Christians, we of all people should not be panicked. We are certain of God’s sovereignty, even over our sufferings. And we are certain that we have a Savior who has conquered death and will one day raise us up with Him. May we live like that is true, even as we seek to live wisely in this world.

In lieu of our worship service on Sunday, we are going to send out a digital worship guide sometime in the next day or so, which we would encourage you to use in your homes. Sunday will still be the Lord’s Day, and will still be a reminder that our Savior was raised to life that Sunday long ago. We’ll post that content on Facebook and on our website at www.christscovenant.org/worship/ It will have Scripture passages for you to read and discuss, as well as links to songs that you could sing and suggestions for ways that you could pray. We’ll also include information in there about how you could make financial contributions, since our local and international mission doesn’t stop because we’re unable to physically gather together.

We do not know what the next few days or weeks have in store. But our prayer is that the gospel’s relevance is realized, and that its power is experienced more and more—both in our hearts as God’s people, and in the hearts of the lost among us. Who knows what God may have in store. Let’s cry out to Him and then follow His leadership.

-Pastor Marc, on behalf of the pastors and staff of CCC