COVID-19 Response

March 18, 2020

Dear Covenant Family,

With the arrival of the COVID-19 in our land, our president, our governor, our county judge, and our mayor, as well as national, state, and local medical authorities have asked us to take proactive measures to limit the spread of the virus, especially to those advanced in years, those who are weak, and those who have compromised immune systems. Part of our keeping the Sixth Commandment (Ex. 20:16) is caring for and preserving the lives of others. Authorities are telling us that the best way to save lives is to avoid meeting in groups of more than 10 and to maintain safe social distance. This has direct implications for the public worship of God as we consider our response to authorities’ requests.

We believe in the priority of the soul over the body (Luke 12:4-5) and that corporate worship is essential to spiritual health and God’s commandment to keep the Sabbath day (Heb. 10:25; Ex. 20:8-11). Our first priority is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. We want to balance concern for the First (Ex. 20:3) and Fourth Commandments (Ex. 20:8-11) with concern for the Fifth (Ex. 20:12) and Sixth Commandments (Ex. 20:13). One example is that we sometimes close for ice and snow to preserve the life and property of our members. What we are experiencing now is a viral storm.

So then, to glorify God by loving our members and neighbors (Matt. 22:36-40), to preserve physical life (Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 135), and to submit to proper governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-7), the Session of Covenant is taking the following actions until March 31, 2020, when the situation will be reevaluated:

  1. We are suspending Sunday school classes, prayer meeting, youth group, and Bible studies for two weeks in response to the president’s and the Centers for Disease Control’s requests.

  2. We are limiting the number of Sunday morning participants to 10, to a limited number of elders, musicians, and singers necessary to facilitate worship and livestreaming.

  3. We will be livestreaming the 10:30 AM and the 5:00 PM services beginning this Sunday. Livestreams can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/covenantchurchpca/. No Facebook account is necessary to view the livestream. This is a temporary measure, and we earnestly desire that we will be able to resume corporate public worship as soon as possible.

  4. We will be worshiping together, but in separate locations! We are asking groups of no more than 10 to gather, to listen, and to worship virtually. We will still be worshipping together, but just sitting much farther away from the pulpit and from each other. Virtual worship will cease when the health situation becomes safer.

  5. We encourage you to continue to support the ministry of Covenant Church and Faith Promise for Missions financially. If you haven’t turned in your 2020–21 Faith Promise, please do so anonymously by mail so the missions committee can set the 2020–21 Faith Promise budget.

  6. We ask you to pray about and seek ways that you can serve the church and community during this national crisis. We can share the Good News and show those who do not know Christ that they can be delivered from the fear of death and hell by the power of the Gospel.

  7. If you have pastoral needs, contact Paul, Jay, Doug, or one of the Elders directly. The Elders will be calling on and caring for those in their shepherding groups. If you have practical needs, financial or otherwise, contact the Deacons through the church. If you contract the coronavirus or come into contact with someone who has it, let us know so we can take appropriate precautions to care for you and others.

This decision to limit our church’s ministry during this crisis is something we have not come to easily. It is not motivated by fear, nor by mere desire to follow the guidance of the governing authorities, but because we fear God and earnestly desire to honor His commandments. We sincerely believe it is in this way that at this time we can care for our members and strengthen our witness for Christ to the community. Pray for the Session and Diaconate as we seek to do our best to care for our all of our members during this health crisis.

On behalf of the Session,

Pastor Paul Sagan