Redemption Church Family,
In consideration of the public health concerns related to COVID-19, we will not be hosting worship services at any of our Phoenix or Tucson area congregations on Sunday, March 15. The dynamics related to the coronavirus are changing quickly, and we anticipate having greater clarity next week.
Our Flagstaff congregation will continue to meet, as there have not been any reported cases of the virus in Coconino county.
Each of our congregations’ leaders will be communicating through email and social media about how they plan to engage with you and your family during this season. Some of you are in vulnerable situations and need care, and others will have the opportunity to provide that care.
Though we are being cautious, we are not afraid. We believe that God will use us to shine the light of Jesus as we respond with faith and love in the midst of a climate of uncertainty and fear.
If someone asks why your church chose to respond to this health crisis by closing its doors, here’s our response:
1. We are loving our neighbors by protecting our neighbors.
2. We are not being fearful. We are being responsible.
3. Love requires that we look out for the most vulnerable among us.
With love in Christ,
Redemption Church Leadership Team
A NOTE FROM TEMPE
We wanted to update you on some additional details relevant to our Tempe congregation.
THIS SUNDAY’S MESSAGE
This Sunday, we (Josh & Jim) will be sharing a message together on “Love in the Time of Coronavirus,” seeking to cast vision from God’s Word on how we can respond well as the body of Christ, in love rather than fear, in this season ahead. We encourage you to join us online (we will be live-streaming the message at 9am, through Facebook-Live on our Redemption-Tempe Facebook page; the message will then be posted for access anytime later in the day on our website).
In love for the vulnerable in our community, in partnership with civic leadership, and in seeking to respond wisely as good neighbors to the coronavirus situation, we have decided to cancel our larger church gatherings this month. This includes our Formed – Prayer night (Wednesday March 18th), our Women’s Gather event (Wednesday March 25th), and our upcoming Membership Classes (Wednesdays March 18th & 25th).
We are recommending that smaller group gatherings continue (such as Redemption Communities, ID Groups, and College Collectives). Smaller group gatherings like this do not pose the same health risk as larger gatherings. (For those interested on why it makes sense to cancel larger group gatherings, yet continue to gather in smaller settings, we highly recommend this article by Andy Crouch).
During a time when many are experiencing isolation, fear, and anxiety, these can be an amazing opportunity to gather together for worship, fellowship, encouragement in God’s Word, and prayer together during this season. We are asking, however, that all small group gatherings abide by the following protocols in this season:
PROTOCOLS FOR SMALL GROUP GATHERINGS
1. No one present is sick or has any reason to think they have been exposed to COVID-19. If anyone is sick or has reason to think they have been exposed, they should stay home and not attend your group.
2. Shared surfaces are disinfected before and after the meeting.
3. Everyone washes their hands thoroughly (more than 20 seconds) upon arrival and upon returning to their home.
4. Food and drink are served individually, rather than in a shared “potluck style” format.
5. As much distance as possible is maintained between members of your gathering. (This means spread out the seating arrangements, at a larger distance than will probably feel natural to most people).
IF YOU NEED HELP
We are committed to continuing to support and love our community well in the midst of this crisis. If you need groceries, prayer, other forms of help and support or you able to help others in this time, fill out the form here.
Our goal in all of this is love of God and neighbor. We look forward to pressing into Jesus together with you in this season ahead.
Josh Butler and Jim Mullins
Lead Pastors – Redemption Tempe