March 17, 2020
Dear Refuge Calvary Chapel family,
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, a conclusive meeting with our church leadership and President Trump’s recommendation of not holding public gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 15 days, we are going to honor that recommendation to take extra precautions for our families, church family and our community. This is not a decision we take lightly or make under compulsion from civil authorities, but rather we are taking the presidents warnings seriously and cautiously with intent to quickly prevent any issues, while asking God for wisdom and guidance as our top priority so we can get back to meeting as usual.
So, from today, March 17, 2020 until Saturday March 28th, the church building will be closed to all activities. The week leading up to Sunday March 29, the leadership will reassess and make a decision in regard to Sunday morning worship on the 29th. Check your email March 28th.
In 1918, during the Spanish flu epidemic, many lives were lost unnecessarily. There were two major American cities that handled the epidemic in drastically different fashion and the results were dramatically different. (This example is similar to the results of actions in the affected provinces in China. The surrounding provinces that quickly responded and observed even a time of restrictions and distancing drastically reduced the severity and duration of the virus better than the province where COVID-19 started and did not respond with restrictions in time.)
In historic Philadelphia, life went on as usual including having a parade with over 200,000 in attendance. Three days later, every bed in the city’s 31 hospitals at the time was filled with sick and dying people. By the end of the week there were over 4,500 deaths. Conversely, in St. Louis, within two days of detecting the first cases among their civilians, the city closed schools, libraries, playgrounds, courtrooms and churches. These measures that we now refer to as social distancing kept per capita flu-related deaths in St. Louis to less than half of those in Philadelphia. This is known as flattening the curve and the goal of government officials as guided by Drs. and disease specialists. If they can slow the rate of those being infected by the virus, it will enable health experts and hospitals to keep ahead of the curve and give those that are sick and hospitalized the best shot at recovery.
This graph illustrates the distinctive results between Philadelphia and St. Louis’s response.
Our Temporary Plan
In order to keep a sense of cohesion, community and continuity in the church, we will be having online services on Sunday morning and possibly Wednesday evenings as well. Stay tuned.
One thing I would like to note in this regard is the timing of our ability to webcast. Back in December, Calvary Chapel Chester Springs, sent out an email asking if any of the church plants in the area would be interested in their old camera equipment. These were used in the past for their online ministry. Long story short, we were the only ones that responded and got a lot of nice and free camera equipment. In the last few weeks Vern Weaver, has been working very hard to get us up and running on YouTube and Facebook live. I’d say it’s pretty clear, our God, who knows the end from the beginning, was equipping us to be able to continue on in the face of this declared global crisis.
- Facebook - click here to find the link (Online service posted)
- YouTube - click here (Online service posted) then subscribe for easy future access
- WITH EACH OTHER – Call, text, check in and encourage each other as God leads
- CARE TEAM – We are currently in the process of putting together a care point ministry so we can attempt to reach some felt needs within our church body during this difficult time. More details to follow.
We realize that not everyone is going to agree on how to handle this unique situation but appreciate each one minimizing conflict and we value your respect towards the decisions of the leadership and efforts in keeping unity for the greater good of the body. Thank you very much for your willingness to read this and for your patience in this matter.
Please remember above all and most importantly, to keep praying that God will use this apparent calamity for His glory by drawing souls into His kingdom and stirring the church to revival.
Blessings to you all,