Greetings in Christ.
Right now I'm sure the Corona Virus has everyone's attention.
We want to update you on what is happening at Oak Hills Community Church in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Like you, we’ve been following this evolving story with great concern. Please read through this entire letter as it contains detailed plans for living out our redeemed community during this season.
The biggest issue is to trust God without testing Him.
Scripture guides us to reject fear, even in the plagues the Bible promises are part of life this side of heaven. We are also commanded to never test the Lord our God. The dynamic of trust-without-testing can play out differently for different Christians, and the book of Romans specifically decrees trust and understanding across the various consciences of the brethren. Therefore:
If you choose to stay home, we understand that. No one will judge or assume you are enslaved by fear.
If you choose to continue gathering, we agree with that as well. No one will condemn you or assume you are testing God.
At this time, officials are not recommending the cancellation of public events or church gatherings here in our area. Oak Hills facilities will remain open, and we will continue to have Sunday services and midweek service.
In the event that local and state health officials do recommend closure, we will inform everyone to the best of our abilities through our website, emails and social media.
We are committed to keeping our campus safe:
We will continue our normal practice of sanitizing highly touched surfaces. We will also continue our regular cleaning of our building.
Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.
During this time, we are asking you to help stop the spread of the virus in the following ways:
Stay at home when you or a family member is sick. If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved, and take any necessary precautions here at church.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your arm and get in the habit of NOT touching your face.
If you wish to not shake hands, let others know by smiling & waving instead. They will understand.
If you or a family member are sick or need to stay home during this time, we have an option for you to listen our messages online. These are posted early in the week and remain up there so you can listen to messages that you have missed or want to hear again.
Ways you can help:
Pray. Pray for those impacted by the virus, as well as their families and loved ones. We will also have special times of prayer in service for all affected.
Prepare to give. In the coming weeks, there may be opportunities for our church to help the Oak Hills Community Church family and our surrounding communities. Also, our ongoing costs will not be dropping during this episode, so please continue your faithful giving before the Lord.
Look for the opportunity! Our forefathers survived many serious outbreaks and were remarkable for turning crises into an expansion of doing the great commission. For example, the last great outbreak of bubonic plague slammed into 18th century London. Daniel Defoe wrote a fascinating account, A Journal of The Plague Year. Consider this paragraph:
The threat of imminent death bro’t people together. People crowded into churches and did not, as usually was the case, care if the people around them were Dissenters [those who did not belong to the Church of England]. In fact, since many of the Church of England’s clergy had fled to the countryside, it was sometimes left to the Dissenting preachers to perform the services. The people who once persecuted Dissenters now had no problem inviting them into to preach.
Those Dissenters were our theological forerunners, and their willingness to help people in the most important way – spiritually – led to the ending of persecution. It made no sense for the government to countenance continued oppression of the very people who stood in the breach at the darkest hour of need. May that be true of us! When this virus blows on, as they always do, may the world be better because we stood strong in the Spirit who empowers us with love and discipline. Amen.
Oak Hills Community Church Leadership