As you know, I see the gathering of believers in worship as not just important, but crucial to the life of the believer and the church. My thought has always been, “If it snows too much on Sunday morning, get out your skis.” However, the past number of weeks have brought a new challenge, the COVID-19 virus.
Bishop Palmer sent out a message just yesterday evening, “…strongly urging West Ohio Conference churches to cancel public worship for the next two weeks.” My heart resisted that advice, not because it was ill-informed, but simply because I value worship so very much. However, after a great deal of research and reaching out to leaders of the church, it’s evident that COVID-19 presents a very real threat- one that we must take seriously. I imagine that you are well aware of the drastic measures our leaders are taking to address this threat. Most of their actions center on “social distancing” so that the virus spreads at a rate our healthcare professionals can manage.
We must do our part for the sake of the people, community and the country we love. Because of that, we will not be having Sunday morning worship services at Lindsey Trinity on March 15th or on March 22nd. Nor will we be having our Lenten services on the 18th and the 25th. I do not make this decision lightly. However, I would rather be proactive in addressing this potential threat than take unnecessary risk with the people we all love, especially given the evidence at hand. I ask for forgiveness from those who may disagree with this decision, but take comfort in the fact that everyone understands we are in uncharted waters.
I will be keeping a close eye on the developments surrounding COVID-19, and also listening to both governmental and church leaders in order to resume worship services as soon as it’s safe to do so. Furthermore, I will offer updates on future services as decision are made.
Until then, please pray for all those affected by this virus. Pray for our leaders, teachers and government officials, as they guide us through uncertain times. Also, pray for our churches. There is no doubt that this will be a challenging time for them, financially, spiritually and in service to those in need.
Finally, I want to say, “Thank you,” to everyone who serves through Lindsey Trinity, this amazing church God has blessed us with. What God has started in us He will see through to completion, even when the path is incredibly challenging.
May God continue to bless you,
Pastor Travis Montgomery