This is a profoundly sad day. The Elders have said all along that if there was a mandate for us to suspend services that we would. We made a plan to minimize our numbers and keep appropriate distances. “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9). That plan was made to do our best to maintain some function of church life, while making an effort to minimize contact.
Today, Governor Sisolak, ramped up restrictions:
- The Governor first released “New Directive for nonessential businesses” https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.20-Press-Release-005.pdf.
- He also issued “A Declaration of Emergency Directive 003,” https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020-03-20.Declaration-of-Emergency-Directive-003.pdf
Although the Governor does not directly address churches, it seems, at least from the State’s perspective, that we would be an essential business.
Before I address the new plan, let me make two observations. I do in fact see an inherent danger in allowing the State to determine whether the Church is essential or non-essential. It is my firm conviction that although currently the motives are good in desiring to protect the public, the trajectory of such directives may well prove problematic for churches in the future.
The second observation is that initially this was to be a 15 day “slow the spread” shut down. Please notice that this new directive extends to April 16, with the possibility of a renewal. I realize that the extended time is deemed to be necessary considering the number of new cases in Nevada has increased over the last two days. This too may set dangerous precedence. Those who think the state is benevolent towards the Church need to realize that freedoms given up for the sake of security are sometimes, indeed oftentimes, permanently relinquished.
With those qualifications, the plan for dividing the congregation into three sections with three service times is cancelled. We will have one service at 10:30 AM, which will be live streamed. We will live stream the music and the sermon. We are asking first that only those necessary for the function of the “service” be present. If you have a family member that is part of that, feel free to be present, but we are asking everyone else to stay home.
Kids notes and song sheets have been sent out already.
The sermon will be “The Prescription for Dealing with COVID-19 Stress” from John 16:33.
Please see the article I wrote and sent out earlier this week, “The Dangers for the Church in the Present Crisis,” for our perspective on live streaming
The Elders will evaluate the situation weekly. We covet your prayers.
The Elders will be seeking ways for ministry to take place. We will update you on Wednesday Bible Study, Charlie’s Friday Bible Study, and prayer groups of less than ten.
Please remember also that the bills continue for the church, so please either mail in your tithes and offerings or do so on-line https://www.gracenevada.com/life-together/giving/.
Pray that our Almighty God and Father will bring this virus to an end. Pray that He would sustain His people with a mighty hand.