Posted by Paul Tautges, Pastor
Dear Cornerstone family,
We know very well that the recent coronavirus outbreak is on everyone’s mind today. We want to take a moment to address the situation, especially as it relates to our church family and our gatherings.
God’s Word admonishes us to exercise wisdom and prudence as we live in this fallen world (Proverbs 13:16; 27:12). Therefore, we need to be aware of dangers and take necessary precautions. Scripture also repeatedly exhorts us to trust in the Lord and not our own understanding, since God is sovereign and has not given us a spirit of fear (Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 103:19; 2 Timothy 1:7). We are aiming to do both, to be prudent and to rest in our faithful God.
Today, the Ohio State Department of Health (OSDH) confirmed the fourth case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ohio. Please understand that we are not in a position to be a source of information about coronavirus, nor a source of medical advice. If you want to know more about coronavirus, you should visit the Centers for Disease Control website. And naturally you should always seek medical advice from qualified medical professionals. You may wish to watch this short video from Dr. Amy Actin, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, who gives recommendations as to ways to prepare yourself and loved ones in the event that one of you tests positive for COVID-19. If you or someone in your family is diagnosed with COVID-19, please let us know immediately so that we can provide necessary spiritual care and support.
Our purpose now is simply to let you know that we are thinking ahead about ways we can mitigate the spread of illness during our weekly public gatherings, and to ask for your help in a few ways.
We advise you to practice the standard, cold- and flu-season safety precautions we are already familiar with—including practicing coughing etiquette and good hygiene, washing your hands thoroughly (20 seconds is advised) and regularly, particularly after touching your face. A year ago, we installed wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers in the foyer, restrooms, nursery, and classrooms. If you’ve not gotten into the habit of using them, we encourage you to begin doing so.
In light of all of the efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus and Thursday’s (3/12/2020) guidance from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, we have cancelled our regular worship gathering for Sunday, March 15th. For March 15th or any future date we cancel our gathering, we will broadcast our regular worship service via our website streaming capability. Read the announcement from the elders about all meeting cancellations.
When we do resume our gatherings, we ask you to avoid attending church gatherings if any of these conditions are met:
- You have cold- or flu-like symptoms, fever, cough, vomiting, or shortness of breath
- You have been in close contact with someone with flu-like symptoms in the past 7 days
- You have traveled from an area in the past 7 days with confirmed cases and/or suspect you may have been exposed
- You have traveled to or from China, Italy, Iran, or South Korea or any other country flagged as level 2 or level 3 alerts in the past 14 days
If you are immunocompromised, elderly, or if you have infants or young children, please use your own judgment about attending our gatherings.
If you do need to avoid Sunday worship, we know it’s not the same as worshipping together in the same place, but if you meet any of the above conditions, we encourage you to participate in Sunday worship by watching our livestream or re-watching older sermons on the church website.
All future church communication will be distributed on the church website’s Events and News page. In the event that the Sunday service or children’s classes need to be cancelled, this is where those decisions will be communicated. For general information about COVID-19, the best source of information is the CDC’s website. The Ohio State Department of Health updates their statistics every Wednesday at 2:00 PM.
- Pray for the many medical professionals, public safety professionals, educators, missionaries, and others who are affected
- Pray for the Lord’s protection from illness among our people
- Pray for gospel opportunities to come from this outbreak
- Pray for wisdom regarding ministry decisions in the event of local COVID-19 cases
If you want some guidance about how to talk with your younger children about this virus and other kinds of “scary news,” here’s a helpful blog post by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
While we should always take reasonable precautions in the face of health risks and other dangers, as believers in our gracious Savior, God also calls you and I to walk by faith in God’s sovereign goodness and protection.
Thank you for helping us keep Cornerstone Community Church a safe place to love God and others. If you have any questions about our response to this virus, please feel free to talk to me or our staff or elders.