Dear EACF family,
It has been an amazing past few days here in the Atlanta area as the community responds to the COVID-19 situation. With school systems closing or moving online, universities shifting to virtual instruction, sports and community events being canceled, there has been a lot to take in. Our brothers and sisters at ACCC also are flooded with news from China and Asia, so there is much to process. We're thankful within EACF to have our resident CDC employees to give some guidance, as well as other medical professionals and thoughtful members as we all prayerfully consider what we should do. I'm thankful for all of you as you remain faithful.
EACF elders have discussed suspending our gatherings. While communicating with other group leaders and staff at church, and tracking with other religious leaders and community leadership decisions, EACF leadership has decided NOT to meet for Sunday service this weekend. We are also suspending other official gatherings for this weekend (Community Groups, Youth Group, etc.). We will continue to monitor the situation and announce plans for following weekends as we go along.
God calls us to have faith and not to fear, "casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)." So I encourage you to pray for faith, for hope, for peace, and for wisdom for all of us as we make decisions for ourselves, our families and friends, our church family, and our community at large. As God gives us peace, we have peace to offer to others, so "let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10;24-25). How can we meet while following guidelines for social distancing and suspending official large group gatherings?
1) Virtual Sunday Service - I will post a sermon and prayer through a private YouTube link which will be sent out through email. This link may also get posted on our Facebook page. (Facebook Live apparently will be flooded Sunday morning so it may be prudent to avoid that platform.) We can continue to learn together and pray together.
2) Maintain relationships - call, text, email, and (on a limited basis) visit with each other. As we did during our 40 Days of Prayer, we can pray for one another and catch up through other forms of communication to keep growing our relationships with each other. Community Groups and Discipleship Groups and others can consider online platforms for meeting during this time. The introvert in me wants to hole up for two weeks and just read and watch movies, but God works in us when we keep sharing His love with one another.
3) Pray - if you are sick, please tell the elders so we can be praying for you. Otherwise, keep praying for one another, for our healthcare workers, and for our community.
4) Serve - Christians have a unique opportunity during community crises to show the love of God. If you know families with kids who are being kept home, you can ask if they need help. Some households rely on meals from schools; I am staying in communication with some faith leaders to see if there are ways for EACF to help respond to this need. Serving some may mean keeping a healthy distance while still communicating care; we have five widows around us and both my and Sonia's parents to care for...while staying away from them physically! In any case, words of encouragement or some acts of service may be helpful in showing Gospel love to those around us.
If you have any questions, thoughts, or prayer needs, please do not hesitate to send me or any of our elders a message. May God bless us and glorify Himself through His church even in times like these!
With you in spirit and by His love for us,