Matthew 6:25
Dear Christ Community,

This has been a very interesting few months for the life of our church, our families, our state and our country. There have been mixed reviews on how the “church” has been handling COVID-19 and “mandatory” stay at home orders. Some of you in the church feel the church has been too silent. Others find it reassuring that we are listening to science and governing authorities and staying home. In the last few months, we elders have met multiple times to discuss the latest news regarding COVID-19, to seek out God’s direction through His Word, and to pray regarding next steps. Our focus has been threefold:

1. Honor God and maintain the validity of His commands, ordinances, and moral law

2. Honor God’s people and consider the physical and spiritual health of the congregation

3. Honor God’s governmental authorities

Many passages of Scripture can apply to a person’s stance and point of view. If Hebrews
10:24-25 comes to mind, you probably lean on getting together sooner rather than later. “ And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” If Romans 13:1-2 is coming to your mind, then you might lean on the side of staying home. “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 resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” No matter what our particular stance is, we seek to honor God above people when the two oppose (Acts 5:29).
 
Last Wednesday evening our elders met yet again to pray and seek what God is asking us to do at Christ Community moving forward with both gathering and respecting authorities. Before I share next steps, please allow me some time to share with you the “why” we are moving forward with next steps. Three months ago we were asked by our President to stay home and quarantine for 30 days to help slow the spread and flatten the curve. Each state was given directives on how to maintain this lock down and governmental authorities began issuing statements on who is considered essential and non-essential. At that time, the government made it clear that churches were not considered essential. The 30 day window was to allow for adequate medical responses, tests, hospital beds to make sure we were prepared in the event we were going to be overrun with cases. The Army Corps of Engineers were called in to set up emergency rooms, and a Navy medical ship was sent to provide much needed support in case COVID-19 was to break out the way it was initially described. Towards the end of the 30 days, Washington state’s medical teams helped slow down this virus to the point that the Army Corps of Engineers packed up their tents and the Navy ship was sent out to another state that needed them. The great news in these first 30 days was that we did not need this added help. Praise God! As Washington state’s curve went down, the requirements set out by our Governor continued to change, morph, and became increasingly unclear. Communication between federal, state, county, and city governmental authorities have been at odds with each other. As such, we have been faced with a difficult question: Which governmental entity are we to follow? Our Mayor? Our Sheriff? Our Governor? Our President? All of the above? Each of these individuals are saying different things. The United States was established and given a set of rules that we call the Constitution, and as a constitutional congregation we understand the importance of maintaining such written guidelines. This was created to help free us from the tyranny of England and to give us a set of guidelines to protect us from the potential of people that would push against our civil rights as Americans who live in this wonderful and free country. You might have already read the Constitution and our right to assemble as a church. It forces clarity by stating that the church does not lead the government and the government does not lead the church. If we interpret Romans 13 through the lens of our Constitution, we would still be honoring the governance of our country as we begin to reopen our churches. Now, some of you might be saying, “Ok, Pastor James, that is a stretch!” Well, I can also point out to the fact that Governors, when sworn in, also agreed to uphold the Constitution and its contents. Up until about 30 days ago, I would have said this was being done. Unfortunately, that situation appears to be changing.

The elders feel we have adequately respected and honored our governmental authority, but believe we are being pushed aside as non-essential and being denied our rights to gather. Which leads me to the passage in Hebrews. We are called to gather. We are called to lift each other up, pray, worship, and learn together. Although Zoom has been a wonderful asset in the early months of this pandemic as we inquire to learn more about this perceived threat, it was never meant to exchange our physical gathering. God designed us for relationships. When Jesus commanded His disciples to “Go,” he did not put conditions on it. He did not say, “Go, unless people are sick.” or “Go, unless the government tells you not too.” or “Go, but be very, very careful of what lies out there in Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth and if it gets crazy and uncomfortable then come back.” Jesus simply said “Go!”. This is an action word. It is a Power word. It is a word that does not mean slow down, stop, or neutral. It means put the car in gear and drive. Furthermore, Jesus said, “I will be with you always”. We have a wonderful Helper that navigates these situations as we seek out His will in our lives. As such, our elders have decided the following;

1. Three weeks ago, we gave LIFE group leaders permission to meet face to face in
addition to zoom according to their own discretion and convictions. So far, four life
groups are meeting together in-person and five are meeting on zoom. If you are desiring
fellowship, please check our website and Facebook and find the groups that are meeting
live. We would love to have you join. If you are not in a life-group and are missing
connection, then please dive into a group. They are not scary. In fact, they want to
welcome you in with open arms.

2. Similar to the decision with LIFE groups, we gave the youth ministry permission to begin meeting in person in addition to zoom. So far, they are continuing Zoom meetings on Tuesday night, but they have been gathering face to face for bonfires on Saturdays. If
you have students who are interested, please contact Ben Larson.

3. Starting in June, we will have Prayer and Worship gatherings. These will take place on
June 7th and June 21st at 9AM, 10:15AM, and 11:30AM. The gatherings will be 45
minutes long with 30 minutes between for cleaning. We would love to have you join us
at one of these times. There will be no children’s ministry but children are welcomed at
these gatherings. We will continue posting full services on-line every week throughout
June. Adjustments might be made for the June 21st gathering depending on our
experience with the June 7th gathering.

4. Starting in July, we will have regular church services every Sunday at 9:30AM and
11:00AM. We are shooting to have the children’s ministry ready to go at this time. Beginning in July only the sermon will be posted online.

We want to value the safety and security of our church and our people, so we will have adequate hand sanitizer stations that will be available at multiple access points. We will be cleaning between each gathering to make sure we do our due diligence. We will also be encouraging the 6 foot rule between families. If you wish to wear a mask, please do so. If you do not, we are not requiring you to. We will have a permission slip that will need to be signed if you put your children into the children’s ministry. Also, if you are sick, please stay home. If you do not feel comfortable coming to church, not a problem, we still love you and want you to experience Sundays with us online until you’re ready.
We thank you for being patient with us as we work through this process, and we are grateful for your prayers. Please also be extremely graceful with your brothers and sisters who may have differing convictions than you. Above all, let all of our interactions be filled with love and peace.

Worship Service Times

Sunday (Blended) Service Time 9:30am
Sunday (Contemporary) Service Time 11:00am
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