Hello Dear Church Family,
As you are well aware, we are living in some challenging times facing circumstances that are unprecedented. I appreciate the encouragement from many of you upon receipt of the email sent to you yesterday.
Today I come to you again to share with you an update on how we will proceed in the midst of the growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are committed to doing whatever we can to provide a safe environment for you and your family.
I have been monitoring every update from government and health organizations. I have also been receiving updates from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Southern Baptist Convention. I want you to know that decisions regarding our services are being made with the best and most up-to-date information we can get and with the health and welfare of our church family as our highest priority.
After much prayer and consultation, I have decided to cancel all services at Old Town Baptist Church beginning with services this Sunday, March 15, 2020 and continuing through Friday, March 20, 2020 when we will reassess for next weekend. This will include all Sunday services, all Wednesday services - including the family night supper, all men’s and ladies’ Bible studies and all group meetings.
I want you to please understand that this has been very difficult for those us of making the decision. Canceling these services was so hard, but I want you to know that there are two principles that have shaped and guided our decision:
Our President and Governor are urging extreme caution and asking us to refrain from group gatherings. We are instructed by Scripture to honor our governing authorities.
We love you!!! You will remember the two tenets that guide how we function as God’s people here at OTBC.
Love God Supremely. Love People Unconditionally.
Loving you and loving our neighbors, many of whom are elderly and have prior medical conditions which makes them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, is reason enough for us to use extreme caution in these days.
While God has not given us a spirit of fear, He has called us to love our neighbors and to contribute to the welfare of our community. So I hope you will understand this is a decision grounded in our love for our OTBC family and our neighbors.
Through technology we are able to worship together. You will be in the comfort of your homes. I will be in the church sanctuary. I will bring to you through the church website livestream ( www.otbclife.org ) and through the OTBC Facebook page a Facebook Live at 10:00 am on Sunday, March 15, 2020 a message titled “Finding Calm in the Midst of Today’s Chaos.” Have your coffee, gather your family, invite a neighbor and let’s worship creatively during these unprecedented times.
The final thing I ask of you is to pray. Pray that God will stem the tide of this growing pandemic, here and around the world. Pray for our leaders (local, state, national, world) and for all medical professionals as they make decisions in the days ahead. Pray that the church (the followers of Jesus) will lead the way in exhibiting a spirit of trust in God, calm and love for others.
I believe this is a moment unlike we have ever experienced in our lifetimes. We are called to be faithful witnesses of Jesus as we share the hope we have in Christ and as we serve with the hands and feet of Christ.
I love you! May God bless you!