On Friday, Oct 2, the city of Appleton issued a “Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Alert” recommending a change in operation for businesses and organizations due to “very high levels of COVID-19 cases,” resulting in “hospitalization and death.” After discussions with local pastors, our elder board, healthcare workers, and ministry leaders, we have decided to pause our in-person services for the time being.
Some churches have made this decision after significant numbers of staff members came down with the virus. Thankfully, we have not seen an outbreak at our church, although I’m aware of numerous cases among our congregation’s friends and family members. Churches are not required to stop meeting in person, but we’ve seen fewer of you attending in person and we want to be responsive to that.
This decision was not easy to make. It’s not ideal (or nearly as much fun) to preach or worship online. As I’ve said before, the best context for ministry is in a relationship, and the best relationships happen face-to-face. But we also said that we would continue to evaluate how things were going in our community and respond accordingly. Back in May, there were only 59 active cases in Appleton. Now there are over 600 active cases, and hospitals are approaching capacity. This isn’t happening everywhere in our state, but Appleton is a hotspot right now.
Starting today, here’s the plan:
- We will not have Gospel Kids Midweek.
- We will do Youth Group via Zoom on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm.
- We will keep our Bible studies (God of Creation and the Ten Commandments) on Zoom. Join those at appletongospel.com/events.
- We will live stream our worship service (including worship music, prayer, and preaching) at appletongospel.com/live at 10:00 am on Sundays. We have been reposting the sermon on our YouTube channel as well. We also recently restarted our audio podcast.
- If the alert is still present, we will provide the Pillar’s Shelter Dinner food, but will not serve the meal.
For the sake of our congregation AND our community, let’s be careful, let’s be wise, let’s pray to the Lord for the mental/physical/spiritual health and life of the people all around us, and let’s keep living out our mission of sharing good news!
Love you all,