March 19, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Westminster,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed we confess, great is the mystery of godliness - that the Son of God would take to himself flesh and blood, to bear our sins and infirmities, that we might be reconciled to God, and have life everlasting.
As under-shepherds, it is the duty of the pastor and the elders to labor diligently to ensure not only the worship of our great and triune God, but also the spiritual welfare and safety of his people. Though called to walk by faith, we are also called to walk in wisdom - to care for one another.
Our present situation has put both our faith and wisdom to the test. How ought we trust God in such strange times? How do we love our neighbor in these trying circumstances?
Earlier this week, in light of the guidelines provided by the CDC, our Governor has required assemblies (including churches) to restrict their public meetings to no more than fifty people for the next eight weeks. Furthermore, our President has requested that there be gatherings of no more than ten for the time being.
It pains us to contemplate the prospect of cancelling public worship for the next eight weeks, so the session has been busy pursuing alternative ways that both comply with our superiors and seek to honor our God and Savior.
In light of the above, the session has approved the following temporary measures.
1. Lord’s Day Service: Because Lyonsville Congregational Church has closed the building to all renters, we will NOT be meeting at the church building through April 12. However, for March 22 and 29, we will live-stream a joint morning and evening worship service (9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.) with Covenant OPC, Orland Park, for everyone to participate. Pastor Iain Wright and I will share responsibilities during the worship services. He will preach in the morning and I in the evening service. We will send out a link so that you can view the livestream, along with any other necessary information.
We encourage families, if healthy, willing and able, to gather together with your local elder (please contact him before coming to make sure everyone is healthy) or together in your homes to worship - albeit abiding by the laws of the State of Illinois (‘under 50’), attempting to meet the recommendations of the CDC and our President (‘under 10’), and practicing the proper sanitary guidelines and distancing as provided by our superiors. [updated and superseded by the Stay-at-Home Order, March 20]
2. Regarding other church activities: Sunday School is cancelled until we are able to meet at the church building again. Mid-week Bible studies are NOT cancelled. Women’s and Men’s Bible studies may continue, however, in different locations. Check with your Bible study leader for that information. If you are uncomfortable gathering with others for mid-week events, we encourage you to lay hold of the vast array of free online resources, to study God’s word as a family or in small group. Right now, for instance, Ligonier is streaming all their teaching series online for free.
3. Giving: we encourage you to continue give to the church of the church through the church website at our new Giving page.
4. Elder and Deacon follow-ups: your elders and deacons are available for you and your care throughout these days and weeks to come, to ensure you are well-provided for, in body and in soul, throughout this time.
Even if, due to age or health concerns, you are unable to join with another family to worship, we encourage everyone to continue to reach out to one another using the technologies our Lord has so graciously given us: phone a loved one, Facetime with a friend, or Skype with another family. Above all, pray for one another during these difficult times.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Ps. 90.1-2)