In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the elders would like to address the situation, especially as it relates to our church and with the rapid escalation of events within the past days and hours.
After careful consideration, TRC will suspend live Sunday worship services until further notice. Please know we do not make this decision lightly. Although we seriously value the Lord’s Day as God’s regular means of grace through worship and the preaching of the Word, we are aware of the risks posed by the Coronavirus pandemic and its capability to spread at an exponential rate. While COVID-19 would likely pose a reduced risk to many in our congregation, this action is taken to protect the at-risk population both within TRC as well as abroad. We know that social distancing helps stop the spread of this virus, and that the best way we can love each other and the city right now is to halt large gatherings of people in which the Coronavirus can rapidly spread. Also, within recent hours, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot announced recommended bans on large gatherings, which further reinforced the decision to temporarily suspend live Sunday services.
In place of our physical gatherings, we are working tirelessly to set up streamed Sunday Services that will include worship, prayer, and the preaching of God’s Word. The stream will start at 10:30am each Sunday until live Sunday services resume, and additional details (including a link to the stream) will be sent as soon as these details are finalized. While these streams serve as only as a temporary proxy to in-person gatherings, we are nonetheless thankful that technology can provide a mechanism to temporarily gather digitally and receive God’s grace.
We will also take the following steps to minimize the potential impact of Coronavirus amongst or through our church. • Thursday prayer meetingsare cancelled until further notice.• Physical life group meetings are cancelled until further notice (in the meantime, life groups are free to gather digitally, such as through Google Hangouts).
During this uncertain time, we want to “socially divide” in wisdom but also “spiritually unite” in spirit. There is no need to panic or give in to mass hysteria, as public health initiatives and concerted societal action will undoubtedly reduce the virus’simpact. More importantly, the Lord is in ultimate control. Let’s join together in praying for those who are sick, their families, those who care for them, and for those who are working to slow the spread of infection. History tells us that the church has had some of her finest moments in situations like this! Let’s lead in love for our neighbors.
Love you all.
P. S. This is an excellent article called “8 Reminders in These Days of Panic” written by Dr. Dane Ortlund, who moderated a portion of our particularization service. He is the chief publishing officer and Bible publisher at Crossway. It’s well worth the five minutes it will take to read it.
P.P.S. These are well-known at this point but here are some simple strategies to avoid spreading infection from the CDC and the IDPH:• Wash your hands often (for 20 seconds)• Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep a healthy distance from others• Sneeze and cough into a tissue or your sleeve (and not into your hands)