Branch Family and Friends,
As we mentioned earlier this week, we have been closely monitoring the development of coronavirus (COVID-19). On Thursday evening, Governor Pritzker and his team organized a press conference to discuss the spread of the virus. This resulted in the issuing of a ban on gatherings of 1,000 people or more, as well as recommending that gatherings of 250 or more cancel their events.
After much prayer and consideration, and after speaking with other churches and leaders in the area that we respect, we have decided to cancel our services and events for the next two weeks.
We want to be perfectly clear: we still hold firmly the conviction that we are called to be a people of love, and not a people of fear. And it is only out of love that we make this decision. The truth is that many in our church family, and many of our neighbors are vulnerable to this disease. It is out of concern for their safety and well-being, and due to the fact that data is still being collected, that we feel the best course of action for the time being is to heed the advised precautionary measures.
If someone asks why our church chose to respond to this health crisis by cancelling services, here’s how we respond:
- We are loving our neighbors by protecting our neighbors.
- We are not being fearful. We are being responsible.
- This is what love requires of us in this season.
We will continue to keep everyone up to date as information continues to develop. We created a video update. For now, here’s a quick reference FAQ.
- As of now, we are cancelling our Sunday morning services and Wednesday night programming of Awana and BYG. We will stay in communication as information develops.
- All small groups will continue to meet according to their normal schedules, and in their normal gathering spaces. We are encouraging our church to stay connected as long as your health and well-being allows you to do so. Our church will add extra disinfecting measures to ensure the safety of our building for groups that choose to meet here.
- Our Volunteer Appreciation luncheon will be rescheduled for a later date, and we will update everyone when that date is selected.
- We will continue to monitor the news of the virus and the decisions of our schools before we make any decision on future events.
- We are committed to pray with you and for you. Whether you’re experiencing anxiety from the constant news cycle, or even if you’re experiencing symptoms of illness, our pastors would love an opportunity to speak with you and pray with you.
In the meantime, let’s allow the words of our Savior sink into our bones this week and in the weeks to come: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
May God’s perfect peace be with all of you. Stay safe, and we will see you again soon.
The Branch Leadership