SBPC Coronavirus Response – March 12
Dear Church Family,
I’m writing to update our response to the coronavirus outbreak. The facts and risks seem to change by the hour.
By Wednesday morning the World Health Organization classified this as a pandemic, the governor recommended cancelling all public meetings of 250 or more, and the president set travel bans in place. While I was meeting with staff this afternoon, the San Diego County supervisors banned large gatherings and asked that all other gatherings meet the social distance standard of six feet. All public officials have asked us to take into consideration at risk groups.
For these reasons and out of love for our church family, we have made some difficult and important decisions.
First and foremost, we will suspend in-person Sunday morning worship services through the end of March. We will continue to stream worship services in English and Spanish with messages and music at 8:30am and 10:30am. The website will provide easy access to all Sunday morning content (message outlines, small group questions, announcements, online giving).
Also, small groups will not meet. We will provide small group questions for personal reflection or discussion in families. Use the small group curriculum to share with your small group members by email, phone, video conferencing or social media.
In addition, beginning Sunday the following will be suspended through the end of March.
- Sunday morning programs for all ages
- On-campus programs, ministries and meetings
- In-person visitation
Until further notice,
- The offices will remain open
- The preschool will remain open, but will close with public schools
In this season of Lent we are called to humility, surrender and sacrifice; to let go and to hold on. We let go of our gatherings and our expectations and hold on to God’s presence, peace, hope, and love. In an ever-changing world, God remains the same. We are committed to facts not fear, but also to live by faith, trusting that God is at work in the midst of this health crisis. God has called us to love in biblical ways:
LOVE GOD with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Gather your family and a few friends to engage the online worship service. Continue to spend time alone with God reflecting on scriptures, in solitude and prayer. Plan how to give your tithes and offerings online or by mail. Pray prayers of gratitude and praise for God’s goodness and faithfulness, and for God’s plan and purposes for us and for the world.
LOVE EACH OTHER as brothers and sisters. Reach out to each other by phone or email to make sure others in your circles have received this letter and commit to praying for each other, the church and the world. Pay attention to the needs of others in your small group who may be at risk, to children or grandchildren who may be scared or disappointed that routines have changed.
LOVE NEIGHBORS. How can we be good neighbors in the places where we work, live, play, or shop? Stay home if you are sick. Be gracious to your employees. Cut back on travel that might put you or others at risk. If you live in a senior living community, ask your activity director to help you and others watch the worship services online. Share with your neighbors. Be kind and compassionate.
Your leaders are prayerfully in this with you. Please pray for our discernment beyond the end of March. Individual ministries will communicate more details of specific changes and our website will be updated.
How will we be the church differently because of this global crisis? Remember, we are the church—a sign and foretaste, an agent and instrument of God’s kingdom. Let’s live our calling as the church.
Pastor Mike McClenahan
P.S. When you finish reading this letter, would you pray the Lord’s prayer with me?