Dear Church Family,
It seems at this point like we have few options except to cancel all remaining activities at FBC through the end of March. All services, meetings, whether on or off site, are cancelled. This includes Linda Egli’s funeral service and meal that was scheduled for Saturday, March 21st. That will be rescheduled sometime in the future.
I realize that not everybody will agree with this decision. The elders are not even unanimous on this decision, which reflects the thinking across our country. But as your pastor, I believe it is the right decision, and therefore I take responsibility for it.
We will re-evaluate when we get to the end of the month, and update you as needed.
Some things to note:
- I cannot stress enough that the financial needs of the church will not diminish at all during this down time. Our missionaries still need supported… the bills still need paid… salaries still need to be met. So if you are able please try and continue supporting FBC, either via the online giving portal at https://www.FriendshipBibleChurch.org (click on “Online Giving”) or by mailing or dropping off your offering at the church office. I also realize that the economic impact to many of you will be very real at this time. So we’ll trust the Lord together to meet both our needs and the needs of the church.
- I will maintain, as much as possible, regular office hours at the church. If you need me at any other time, please don’t hesitate to call. I will be doing my best to maintain a regular visitation and office schedule.
- We will not be live streaming any services. I have long resisted that, as the Bible makes it clear (at least to me) that community is a vital part of worship. Community cannot be experienced through a screen. Church is not TV… it is not something you “watch” but rather something you participate in personally. So what I’m hoping each family will do is gather on the Lord’s Day and hold a family worship time. I will provide materials and a suggested service each week to help with that. If you are hesitant in how to lead your family in such a sweet time, the materials will give you step by step instructions. Family worship time will be just that – worship. We watch enough TV and look at enough screens as it is.
- If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, please contact me at the church – 330-325-7836×2. If I’m not there, that will ring through to my cell phone.
One other thing to note – we will be partnering with Atwater Congregational Church and Lifepointe Church to provide school lunches to those kids in need. If you’d like to help with that, please let me know. We will support this effort financially, as well as being a distribution point for the meals. That distribution is currently scheduled for Tuesday and Friday mornings.
These are interesting times, no doubt. I know many are suffering financially and emotionally at this time, and some may even be suffering from the virus itself. But may I encourage you to keep the faith. Our God’s got this, and is not even remotely surprised by any of it. Psalm 139:16 reminds us – Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. He knew every one of your days before you were even born, including these days, and the days yet to come. You are safe in Him.
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV)
Your Pastor, Brother, and Friend,