Special Hope Notes

March 13, 2020

Hey Hopers!

With the Coronavirus dominating the discussion this week and cancellations that were unimaginable a few weeks ago now being reality, we thought we should share with everyone the discussions we’re having and the reasonable steps that are in place to respond to what’s happening in our world. As of today, we are not planning to cancel any services or groups. New information and government actions are happening every day, so this situation will require that we adapt over time. We’ll get word out if anything changes. But for now, this is our approach.

First, we’re people of faith, and that has to be our primary response to this or any crisis. While faith does not mean we must ignore caution and wisdom, it does mean that our ultimate hope is not in what we can do, but in our Heavenly Father’s watch care over us and plan for us. So we’ll endeavor to let His peace rule in our hearts in the face of what we’re seeing, hearing, and being told.

Second, we wanted to share with you all the plans we have in addressing Covid-19. Our goal in sharing these points is not to add to any panic, but to acknowledge that we can be cautious without giving into the spirit of fear. These are the precautions we are taking and asking you to take to keep Hopers of all ages safe:

  • SYMPTOMS – If you or a family member is feeling sick, we encourage you to join us through our Facebook Live stream. Get well and join us when you are ready! There is a chance that, in the future, we will be required to move to a completely online service for a Sunday or several Sundays. Right now, we fall below the 250 person limit Governor Phil Murphy has mentioned. But the guidelines and mandates could change. If they do, we are working on the capacity to stream our worship in addition to the message. Accomplishing that, along with our ability for online giving, will allow you all to stay fully connected. If that day comes, perhaps it is a way that we can gather in smaller groups in homes and even invite others who don’t attend. Maybe the Lord would use even this to help us share Jesus!
  • SANITIZE – We encourage everyone to continue to concentrate on personal hygiene. To this end, we have a touch-free hand sanitizer at each entrance and hand sanitizer in each of our kid’s classrooms. We also encourage everyone to use wisdom and discretion in personal contact with one another.
  • CLEANING – While children do not have as great a risk, we will continue to disinfect our children’s classrooms after each service as has been our practice. We are also planning to implement further post-service disinfecting.
  • HELP OTHERS – Let’s be ready to help anyone who is directly or indirectly affected. Covid-19 doesn’t pose serious danger to most of our community, but we do have plenty of Hopers who are at greater risk. Let’s keep them in mind, take precautions for them, and be open to lending a helping hand however the Spirit may lead.
  • PRAY – As always, continue to pray. Let us pray that in spite of mass information and a propensity to rush to worst case scenario, we remain a presence of peace. Let us pray that we can use this moment to love our neighbors and our enemies. Let us pray for the healing of those infected, the safety of those caring for the sick, and wisdom for those seeking to slow the spread and ultimately find a cure.

“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – John 16:33

Pastor Dave