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,
(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.