Updated May 19th, 2020
As you are aware, we are in the middle of an unprecedented health crisis with COVID-19. All church gatherings at Concord UMC have been cancelled until further notice, in compliance with the recommendations and mandates of public health officials. As of 3/25/20, state officials prohibit meetings of 10 or more people in order to control the spread of this virus. There is no official “end date” since the situation is rapidly changing and uncertain. As of 5/6/20, our bishop has tasked the trustees committees of each church to develop reopening plans for sometime in June or later. Concord’s Trustees have voted to continue streaming and hosting drive-in services through June, due to our church size.
Scripture’s command to “love your neighbor” means that we ought to love our elderly and immunocompromised neighbors. COVID-19 can be spread even if someone is not showing symptoms. It is also more infectious than seasonal illnesses. The fatality rate is alarming, especially among older populations and those with existing health issues. To put it bluntly, hosting in-person church gatherings right now would lead to greater spread and more deaths. Biblically speaking, Jesus commanded his disciples to care for the least of these. Therefore, the most loving thing we could do for all our neighbors will be for Concord to take these precautionary steps.
While we cannot meet in person as a community, we are live streaming or recording several church activities on Facebook, including weekly devotionals, a Sunday school lesson, morning worship, and an upcoming bible study. These videos will be saved for later viewing, too, should you “miss” a scheduled event. I will also be posting a weekly prayer guide, with prompts of what to pray for each day.
We want to support those facing economic hardship, so our food pantry will remain open on the third Thursday 1-2pm of each month (“drive thru” format, outdoors).
On another note, Christian ministry still depends on your financial generosity. Here are several ways you can contribute during this trying time:
- Support our church’s general fund by mailing your tithes to our address (Concord UMC / PO Box 410 / Lonoke, AR 72086)
- Help the “Share Your Lunch – Lonoke” ministry feed kids in our community while school is cancelled by visiting this link. This is a collaboration between Lonoke Assembly of God and Lonoke Family Resource Services.
Lastly, I invite you to pray for this entire situation. Pray for churches all across our state, country, and world. Pray for elected officials. Pray that we would be generous with our giving to outreach. Pray for healthcare workers. Pray for a vaccine to be developed soon. Pray that people would heed words of caution and to social distance. Pray that we would all treat people of Asian heritage, healthcare workers, immigrants, and members of the military with love and respect. Pray that people would be understanding and supportive of teachers who have to work around school closures. Pray for those who are sick. Pray for families who are mourning the loss of loved ones. Pray that God would comfort, guide, and protect us during this uncertain time.