Greetings Encounter Church Family,
What a week it has been, as we have seen the news change on almost an hourly basis concerning the coronavirus and its impact on our lives, our community, and our country. I want to take this opportunity to affirm that we believe in a God who is in control – who does not change – and who was not caught off guard by the events happening around us. We have an incredible opportunity to ‘be’ the church during these days and weeks – to recognize the severity of the problem, while at the same time not live in fear. The Psalmist was clear when he said in Psalm 91:1-2: “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.” We can trust in the faithfulness of God even when we face that which we don’t fully understand.
Over the past couple of days we have heard from our President and PA Governor the many measures being taken to combat the coronavirus. It has been Governor Wolf’s strong recommendation that gatherings of more than 250 people should be canceled, that people should stay away from recreational and public areas, and he has directed all public schools to be closed for at least two weeks. Recognizing that we are called to respect those in authority over us, and that we desire to be a positive witness to our community, we are CANCELLING our public Sunday services until further notice.
Since things are changing at such a rapid pace, I encourage you to regularly check our social media platforms and our website for ongoing information. Because of the technology that is available to us at Encounter, we are working diligently to provide online opportunities for worship, so stay tuned!
Again, a lot is happening at a very quick pace, but we are trusting that God is leading us, and we do not make our decisions out of fear. Rather, we are trusting in the wisdom of our leaders, both public and in the church, to make the best decisions based on the information we have. I also encourage you to use this opportunity to pray! We have the privilege of asking the God of the universe to act on our behalf according to His will – and He will!
Our BIC Atlantic Conference Bishop Bryan Hoke has been in touch with all our conference churches this week and has been a real source of guidance and leadership. He concluded one of his emails with the following verse from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans 15:3: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” May you have a peaceful weekend, as you trust in the One who is control!