July 4: COVID-19 Update
Dear Gospel Life Church,
We continue to find ourselves as believers and the body of Christ in interesting times as we navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our leadership continues to work and pray through government requirements and recommendations that are often vague and lacking specific application to churches, as well as to heed and apply practical medical advice. We are also doing our best to ensure that we are doing what God has called us to do, but in the safest manner possible. To further complicate matters we are leading a group of believers who have drastically varying opinions and personal views related to how they are handling the pandemic.
Our latest challenge as leadership has been to review the mandate for Pennsylvania to require masks in public places. If you have not read the specifics of the mandate, it is available here, as well as an accompanied press release here. While determining how this mandate is applied to a church setting is not straightforward, our leadership is unanimous in our view that we should continue to submit to government authorities on issues unless our religious freedom is compromised. This has been our approach from the beginning of the pandemic and while it may create inconveniences and many may disagree, we are asking that our church comply with this mandate and wear masks during our services and events until this mandate is lifted. We recognize that this creates challenges for normal worship and for many involved in ministries. We also know that some may be unable to wear masks for health or breathing reasons and thankfully we are not expected to verify any health reasons. We will also continue to provide masks for anyone who may need them for a service.
While we may have not agreed with many of the actions taken by our government, we do recognize some of the reasons for wanting to be proactive and ensure safety of others. Regardless of debates over COVID statistics, there has been a rise in coronavirus cases and many states are having to take drastic measures to attempt to reduce spread. Many of you may have noticed an uptick of cases in our surrounding areas and some instances of COVID among friends and family. We continue to hope and pray the risk is small and our body remains free from the virus, but we are trusting in God’s sovereignty and will.
We are also praying for God to be glorified through how our body responds to this request and to keep the truth of the Gospel as the main issue for us. We plead with you to be Christ-like and show love and compassion, maintaining the unity of our body. We should strive to avoid conflict and be quick to resolve any conflict that arises. As leadership, we recognize God’s leading to have our sermons currently on the topic of conflict and this week’s sermon (which was complete prior to the face covering order) be extremely appropriate for dealing with this issue.
We continue to covet your prayers for our body, us as leadership, and our world facing this pandemic. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to talk further about this matter.
The Elders of Gospel Life Church