Do Not Fear!

Dear Scotsdale Church Family,

Greetings to you in the name of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am sending you this letter for two purposes. The first part of this letter is for your information. The second part is for your encouragement.

Recently we have seen a sharp upward trend in Covid cases in El Paso. Our Mayor has made a plea for our citizens to be wise and cautious in all of our public outings. After the last extended closure, and during our subsequent re-opening of church services, the Elders sensed that it would be dishonoring to the Lord for us to cancel services again. This decision is based on Hebrews 10:23-25

23Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Since our re-opening we have encouraged those with immunity challenges to remain at home and to participate with us by way of our online services. I will have more to say about this in a moment. We are resolved to continue meeting in person at the Scotsdale Baptist Church location. I want to emphasize to you that WE are the church! The building is just the place where we meet. With that being said, please be assured that we are continuing to do all we can to maintain a clean facility and to provide a safe environment in compliance with recommendations.

If you are one of those who do not feel comfortable returning to our in-person services, I respect where you are. I would, however, encourage you to participate with us online. I am aware that we have had some serious challenges with providing a consistent, quality livestream production. This week we had some new equipment installed which should provide a much better service in both sight and sound for those of you who will view our services online. If you have given up on viewing our services due to past frustrations I would ask you to give us another try. Actually, give a few tries to get the kinks worked out. If you do not have online access, but you would like to watch our services, please call the church office to request a DVD. We will get one to you.

Due to this recent “up-tick” in viral infections our office is going to go back to Phase One operation status. This means that we will remain open Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:30. Our personnel will be in the office, but access will be less convenient. The gates to the courtyard will remain locked during these hours. We want to continue to serve you to the best of our ability. If you should need to come by the office for any reason during those hours, we ask that you call the church office (915) 595-2811 to let us know that you are coming and how we may assist you. If, for some reason, you need to actually come into the office please wear a mask, and please maintain a safe distance. Remember, this is for everyone’s protection!

At the beginning of this pandemic we often heard and used the term “unprecedented times.” I believe we have moved from unprecedented to “uncertain times.” There are still so many unknowns for all of us, from medical professionals to us common citizens. If we are not careful this uncertainty can lead us to worry and fear.

I want to encourage you and remind you that our Heavenly Father is still on His throne, and He has ultimate control! I don’t know about you but promises from God’s Word always help me to get His perspective on issues. So, with that in mind, allow me to share some favorite verses with you with the hope that these words will alleviate any fear or discouragement you may have.

  • Joshua 1:9 – Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
  • Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
  • Colossians 3:1-2 – 1So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.

Dear Church Family, we have so many things tearing at the fabric of this nation. We have an enemy who wants us to fear, be discouraged, and worry. Our Heavenly Father commands us to do just the opposite. We need to suit up and go to war (Ephesians 6:10-18), not with one another, but with the one who wants to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) this nation, our marriages, our families, and the Lord’s church. We must not let that happen! If you can come back to church, come back. If you can’t, watch online or request a DVD by calling the church office. Commit this phrase to memory—GOD IS BIGGER!

Your Pastor,

Patrick Six

Coronavirus Plan of Action

Beloved Church,

As all of us know the top headliner in all news outlets is the Coronavirus pandemic. The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of how we are responding in light of what is happening. Obviously, the spread of this virus is dynamic and spreading so the information that I give you now will no doubt have changed by the time you receive it.

As of this writing there have been over 30 verified cases of COVID-19 in Texas, and four verified cases in New Mexico. To date, none of these cases are anywhere close to El Paso. While this is the case currently, we are all aware that this could change rapidly due to the method of transmission. By the way, El Paso is one of the Texas cities that has a testing center for the virus.

We are also aware that those most vulnerable to the virus are the elderly and those who already have a compromised immune system. Those most fatally affected by this illness are the elderly. For this reason I want to emphasize the need for our elderly members to please use caution about being in large crowds. We completely understand and respect your decision to avoid church services during this hopefully short-lived crisis if you should feel this is in the best interest of yourself and others. I would also encourage anyone who is less than healthy to avoid attending church services until you are completely recovered. Parents, please adhere to the sick policies passed by our Children’s Ministry.

Here is what we are doing to provide a safe environment during these times:

  • Cleanliness: Our custodian (Ruth) does a wonderful job of maintaining a clean facility for us; however, we are taking even more precautions during this season to give special attention to disinfect places where people are most likely to place their hands. We will also spray disinfectant spray around our space before, during, and after events or meetings. We have also checked and maintained hand sanitizer units throughout the church facility. Ruth also wears sanitation gloves as she cleans. Our children’s workers are diligent to disinfect the children’s ministry area.
  • Lord’s Supper: On Sunday, March 29th we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper during our morning service. In order to provide the most sanitary method of distributing the bread and cup we have ordered elements that will have a sealed wafer and a sealed cup. Our Deacons will wear sanitary gloves as they prepare the elements trays. In this way the only person who will touch the elements offered to you is you!
  • Potluck Luncheon: We had a church-wide potluck luncheon scheduled to follow the morning service on March 29th. As a precaution we have opted to cancel this meal at this time.
  • Future services/events: Since there are no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in El Paso we plan to continue with services as scheduled. If, however, any cases of the virus are verified in El Paso we will revisit the issue and alert you as soon as possible. In the worst case scenario that we are forced to cancel the Sunday morning service, we will provide an online service, which would most likely be just me teaching from home, broadcast live on our Scotsdale Baptist Church Facebook page.
  • Donations: As you know, if services should be canceled, as we had to do one other time during my nearly-eight-year tenure here, there is a great risk of suffering a negative impact in financial donations. The church will have ongoing expenses whether we cancel services or not, so I would ask that you please pray and continue to give to the Lord’s work. You may either mail your check, make donations online, or make your donation via direct bill-pay through your bank.

It appears that, like the flu, COVID-19 is relatively short-lived, yet potentially economically devastating. At some point the spread of the virus will subside and life will return to normal. This is a great time for us to trust in the Lord in a way we have perhaps not had to do before. Our God is faithful! He has promised that He will not leave or abandon us (Matthew 28:20). When so much seems so uncertain in our world, God has not changed, and neither has His plan to save those who seek Him. May we be faithful in sharing the hope He has given to us with those who need Him.

Blessed to be Your Pastor,

Pastor P6

(Update from March 13, 2020) If you, or someone that you have been in contact with, has returned home from an area where the Coronavirus has been detected PLEASE DO NOT attend church services until you know that you do not have COVID-19.  It is so counter to my nature to ask someone to not attend church, but for the sake of the health of others please do not create any unnecessary risks for them or for yourself.  We ALL must respect the seriousness of this illness, but even more so for the elderly who may be in attendance. Thank you for your understanding. You are always able to watch the service live streamed on Facebook.

(Update from March 14, 2020) Please click here to read a letter from our Elders.