For years The Sound has been talking about doing church differently. And while quarantines, lockdowns, and social distancing is not what we had in mind, it now looks like we will have to mix up our format out of necessity.
Many of you know that Orange County has issued an ordinance prohibiting all public and private gatherings of any number of people outside of a single household or living unit. While the verbage is confusing and the exceptions to this prohibition are unclear, the heart of health officials is evident: limit interpersonal interactions to “flatten the curve.”
There is no shortage of opinions, hot takes, and even conspiracy theories out there, and they come in every shape, style, and size to suit any social, political, economic, ethical, and moral paradigm. No one can seem to agree on what this virus is, where it came from, or what the best way to combat it is.
The one thing that all sides do seem to agree upon is that our current US health care system is not equipped to handle a mass outbreak on the level that COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to reach. Hence, flatten the curve. Flattening the curve does not refer to the overall number of infections that will occur but rather how many infections occur at once. The idea is to slow the spread of the virus, which will undoubtedly cause the pandemic to last longer over time, but the idea is to keep the number of infections that occur at one time to a manageable capacity of the current healthcare system.
To be clear, the threat of the virus itself is not the cause behind the panic that is currently occurring. The capacity of our healthcare systems is the largest concern behind the extreme measures that have been taken with COVID-19 that we have not seen implemented for health concerns such as influenza, SARS, H1-N1, etc.
To debate the validity of these measures is no longer the point. These measures are in place. So how can we as a church respond in faith, in love, in honor, and with grace while still moving forward towards the REALIZED promises that God has for us this year? How do we stick together in a time of division and isolation?
1. Reach Out
In a time of social distancing and isolation call, text, direct message, and video chat with each other. Join our church-wide Bible plan and comment every day. You will find the link below. This pandemic has significantly slowed the pace of life for most Americans. Use that time to connect and build relationship with friends and family and with other people in our church.
Two of our core values at The Sound are ‘Faith’ and ‘Health’. Be proactive in being healthy and in building your faith. Pray, exercise, eat well, worship the Lord. We are called to be people with hope, self control, joy, peace, patience, and gentleness among many others. Use this time to grow and bear more fruit.
Many people that we interact with on a daily basis are afraid and confused. Understandably so. We have an opportunity to represent stability in the midst of chaos, to represent hope in the midst of despair, to represent faith in the midst of fear. Let your light shine before all during this dark time, and allow your faith to inspire others.
Our leadership is currently hard at work putting together a plan for our church community during this time. We highly value our time together, the discussion that happens, and the diversity of voices that are represented at The Sound. Frankly, the solution that other churches have settled on, namely ‘Live Streaming’, does not satisfy our values as it does not allow for discussion, feedback, and response. So we are still at the drawing board, brainstorming, critically thinking, and problem solving. Thank you for your patience and your grace during this time.
With the latest ordinance, we will have to come up with an alternative solution to Sunday gatherings before the weekend. So keep your eyes open for another post, an e-newsletter, a text, or a phone call with all of the details.
Pastor Terry, the rest of the staff, and I are always available to chat, to pray with you, and even to discuss what’s going on in the world and how we can live as people of faith in the midst of it. So do not hesitate to call, text, or email us. We love you all and look forward to our next time all together, whenever that may be.
Brian & Danielle