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Pastoral Word: Covid-19 Pandemic

March 19, 2020 Published by Rev. Eugene James

Dear Colleagues,

            To say that we are in the midst of profoundly challenging times would be a gross understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust us into circumstances and situations that we have not experienced with the accompanying fear of the unknown.

            Governor Whitmer’s order of March 16, 2020 closed the following:

Beginning as soon as possible but no later than March 16, 2020 at 3:00 pm, and continuing until March 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm, the following places of public accommodation are closed to ingress, egress, use, and occupancy by members of the public:

Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption;

Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption;

  • (c)  Hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on- premises consumption;
  • (d)  Theaters, cinemas, and indoor and outdoor performance venues;
  • (e)  Libraries and museums;
  • (f)  Gymnasiums,fitness centers recreation centers indoor sports facilities,indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and spas;
  • (g)  Casinos licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, racetracks licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, and Millionaire Parties licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board; and
  • (h)  Places of public amusement not otherwise listed above.

While not indicating churches specifically, they could be considered as “indoor performance venues” and the rationale for closing could apply.

            On March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control recommended suspending large events for eight weeks “The CDC on Sunday recommended canceling or postponing all events nationwide with more than 50 people — the most aggressive federal guidance issued yet in the worsening the coronavirus crisis. The new guidelines on mass gatherings apply for the next eight weeks, the CDC said, and exclude schools, higher education institutions and businesses. The agency also specified that the guidelines would not take precedence over rules imposed by individual states.”

            Worship is central to expressing our faith, giving glory to God, having fellowship, and gathering at the Lord’s table. We also have a moral responsibility to make the necessary sacrifice to mitigate the spread of this pandemic. I encourage you follow the guidelines CDC, state and local health agencies. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Yours in Christ,
Eugene James
Regional Minister