Coronavirus Update from Harvest Baptist
Hey Harvest family,
As each day brings new information and updates on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, it is important that we as a congregation consider how we respond during a situation like this. How do we manage the tension between being cautious and being faithful? Let us jump to the end and tell you what we are doing, and then back up and tell you why.
Medical professionals are recommending this.
Over the past 24 hours, we have been wisely advised by medical professionals both within our congregation and outside of our congregation to practice social distancing to help avoid the spread of this virus. Medical experts agree that limiting large gatherings may not reduce the total cases, but it will slow down the spread of the virus, allowing people to receive the medical care they need.
Our state and local government is recommending this.
Like it or not, government is ordained by God to protect, and Christians have a responsibility to heed that authority (Romans 13). When both the governor and the Allegheny County executive office ask that there not be large gatherings of 250 or more, we shouldn’t shrug that off as advice for someone else. This is an opportunity to live out Romans 13:1-7 and “let our souls be subject unto the higher powers.”
This could set an example for our young people.
If you have been “adulting” for any length of time, you have had a conversation with an adolescent or teen that goes like this. “I know you don’t understand fully, but I am a little older, wiser, and more experienced, and that allows me to see the big picture. This is good for you even though you don’t know it.”
This is an opportunity for parents and pastors and business owners to take their own medicine. We don’t pretend to understand all of the reasons why we are being advised so strongly to socially isolate, but we know that experts who are older, wiser, and more experienced can see a big picture that we can’t, and we don’t mind leaning into that wisdom.
We can still gather together using technology
Technology affords us the opportunity to socially isolate but remain spiritually connected. Granted, this is not the same as being together in person, and we would never want to do this long term, but we have the ability to still gather around the Word, share prayer requests, and encourage each other through technology. What an age to live in!
As I’m sure you can imagine, this is a difficult decision, but it’s important to note – this is not a fear-based decision. We have sought wise counsel and have prayed diligently about this.
We want you to know at Harvest we care deeply about your health and safety. And not only do we care about you, we care about our neighbors as well – especially those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems. Our hope is this decision communicates to our community that we care deeply about its welfare.
Over the next few days, we will be posting regular updates on our Facebook, Instagram, and the church website as we continue to monitor the situation and make decisions on future services and our academy schedule. We will be sharing how to stream services on your devices, ways to help others during this time, and instructions on how to still live generously. Although our community is feeling a lot of uncertainty, let’s remind them of the hope we have in Jesus.
I love you church,