Bright Star Community Church Family,
With the ever-growing concern, world-wide and at home, regarding the coronavirus, The Church Board and I wanted to reach out to you and inform you of our response to this pandemic. First, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul; (2 Timothy 1:7) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Secondly, let us exercise “wisdom.” (Proverbs 2:6) For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Many churches, sport’s venues, political campaigns, etc. are suspending events until further notice. Here at Bright Star Community Church we care deeply about your spiritual edification and your physical safety. After much thought and prayer, we do not believe, at this time, the Lord is directing us to suspend our services, or other scheduled events. Having said that, we are strongly urging everyone to be very cautious about their interactions with one another here at Bright Star, and to practice good hygiene (washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough, etc.).
We’re not trying to match sterilization standards for a surgical operating room. But we are interested in good sense hygiene measures and everybody assuming some individual responsibility for the welfare of all. Additionally, we encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses. Here are a few steps we have taken in order to reduce the chance of anyone contracting the coronavirus here at Bright Star;
(1) We have placed hand sanitizers at the main entrance into the sanctuary and request that everyone enter through the main front glass doors and use the Hand Sanitizer before entering the Sanctuary or Fellowship Hall. There is also hand sanitizers in the Fellowship Hall area.
(2) We are stepping up our efforts to make sure our areas are sanitized (Kitchen, Bathrooms, Offices etc.); and are discouraging parents to not bring their children to church, but to stay home if the child is sick.
(3) We are also encouraging people during morning greeting time to not shake hands but rather to simply acknowledge one another with a greeting (God bless you) or a Friendly Smile and we will dismiss by lifting Holy Hands and receiving the Blessings of God. If your right arm is like mine, spring-loaded to launch into a handshake, you’ll have to fight the impulse, tuck it away, and smile at the challenge.
(4) Offering baskets will not be passed. Worshippers will bring their gifts forward to the Altar.
We owe it to each other to be diligent in observing common sense hygiene practices, or what infectious disease folks sometimes call “basic manners.”
STAY HOME if you are sick, think you might be sick, or are still recovering from having been sick recently. At issue is not whether you feel fine or are confident in telling others you’re Blessed and Highly Favored and that you’re “really past the worst.” At issue is what you present to others around you whose own health or medical fragility makes them vulnerable. Please use good judgment here.
BURY YOUR COUGH OR SNEEZE into your sleeve or into a sturdy cloth or tissue. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands or into the air. Thoughtfulness here is paramount.
WASH YOUR HANDS regularly and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Pretend you are in love with soap. It may mean raw knuckles some days; but hand lotion is an inexpensive antidote to rough skin, and it’s going to be on store shelves much more dependably than hand sanitizer these days. Remember Not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
These steps will not safeguard us against this virus 100% but will reduce the risk.
In addition, If you are sixty-years old and older, especially if you have a condition which makes you more susceptible to contracting a virus, you may want to consider the possibility of not attending services, for a couple of weeks. Reports reveal elderly individuals have a higher chance of contracting the virus. Having said that, I know I’m getting close to that age but I definitely plan on being at every service! If you decide to stay home, you can listen to the message online at brightstarcc.org by the following Monday afternoon. Also your continual financial support during this crisis is very much appreciated, you can drop your offering off in the church mailbox.
Here’s some other ways we can respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19):
–Trust in God as the good and sovereign Creator and Sustainer of life upon whom we all depend.
–Pray for opportunities to show and tell the love of God to those with whom you speak.
–Pray for mercy for the sick, strength for doctors, insight for researchers, and wisdom for officials.
–Look for opportunities to love and care for others, whether they are sick, isolated, marginalized, poor, or oppressed.
–Avoid every semblance of prejudice or racism.
-Even if we are unable to gather at certain times, stay closely connected to the church family.
–Respect the space of others
–Rest in God.
Jeremiah 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
Psalms 91:1-10 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. 4 He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, 6 nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 But you will see it with your eyes; you will see how the wicked are punished. 9 If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling.
A FINAL WORD
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet one more reminder that we live in a fallen world. Ultimately, none of us are immune to any of these things. But that’s why the gospel is such good news. God has not left us alone in this world of sin, sickness, and death. The greatest news in all the world is that Jesus lived a life with no sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. Now anyone anywhere who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of all their sin and restored to relationship with God forever. That means that through Jesus, we never have to fear sickness or death because we know we have eternal life with God.
This situation continues to change quickly, so we will remain vigilant, continue to monitor the situation and update our members and guests regularly. You can continue to stay up to date on the latest information about our response and preparations on our website https://www.brightstarcc.org.
We should be prudent, but not panicked. We should count our blessings in place of worry. For us who believe the good news, we urge you to share your faith in Jesus with others. Times like these remind us all of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. So, let’s spread the greatest news that death has been defeated, that God is present with his people, and that eternal life is available to all who trust in Jesus.
Be Blessed, Be BOLD, Be of Good Courage,
Pastor James and 1st Lady Dianne Strayhorn
And the Church Board of Directors