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The Plan (Coronavirus 17 March 2020)

March 17, 2020
 
Church Family:

This challenging time has inconvenienced many of our normal routines, but it also invites new opportunities for us as the people of God. The church is not a building — it is a redeemed, Spirit-filled people. God’s word says in Hebrews 10:24–25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” We can’t gather physically at the moment, but we definitely can continue to be the church in every other way!
 

OUR PLAN

Based on the collective counsel of our elders, pastors, local officials, and medical personnel, we will postpone physically gathering at our church building until 5 April 2020, but we will continue to gather for corporate worship on Sunday as a shared online gathering:

JBC Sunday Worship Online at 10:45am

  1. We will stream our regular weekly sermons online on Sundays at 10:45am through both YouTube and Facebook. Look for links through email, our website, and social media.
  2. We will provide a shared order of worship (a digital bulletin) to allow unified worship, prayer, reflection, preparation, and response to God’s word.  
  3. We will continue to offer opportunities to give as an act of worship through online, text (703.721.4466), or mail-in giving (5424 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA 22039). Special Note: In addition to your regular offerings (Unfortunately, the churches expenses will not change much despite the fact that we are not physically gathering.), please prayerfully consider contributing to our general benevolence fund for those with unexpected needs within our church.

Wednesday Night Online Corporate Prayer at 7pm

  1. We will meet by video using Jitsi Meet. You can use either the Chrome browser (Safari is not supported) or the FREE Jitsi Meet  phone app.
  2. If you are not able to meet by video, please pray with us at the 7pm hour. 

Shared Life Bible Study Resources for Small Groups and Family Worship

  1. We are giving all of our congregations FREE access to RightNowMedia.com — the equivalent of Netflix for Christian resources (over 20,000 videos). Please use this excellent tool for personal growth, family worship, and even small groups. An invitation to this resource has already been sent to the email we have for you on file. If you did not get the invite, let us know and we will get you on the list.
  2. Stay in touch. Make a phone call just to talk. Pray together on the phone. Think creatively about how you can encourage the community of faith, as well as neighbors, and do what you can. 

Sharing and Helping with Special Needs

  1. Financial Needs: There may be individuals within our collective church who suffer a great deal from a loss of work hours. If you are financially willing and able help above and beyond your regular giving or if you are willing to be contacted if a need arises, please email us or call the church office (703.278.8166) to let us know.
  2. Grocery, Pharmacy, Errands: There may be individuals within our community who are exceptionally vulnerable in this time. If you would be willing to help with errands or if you know of specific needs, please email us or call the church office (703.278.8166) to let us know. 

Precious family of God, the truth is that we do not know how long all of these changes will be. All of these proactive changes have been made because of love for the vulnerable among us, and not because of fear. We want to continue to function as normally as possible as we seek to encourage one another to love and good deeds. We will return to physical gatherings as soon as it is responsible to do so.

I pray that the Lord will allow what seems to be an incredible disruption to our normal lives to recalibrate our focus on His purposes and priorities (Matthew 6:9–15).  

In Christ’s abundant love,
Pastor Jonathan Parker



Coronavirus • 14 March 2020

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” The context is different than our present situation, but the reality behind the passage still applies — it is love and self-control, not fear that must lead our lives and decisions. Love is what is driving this decision.

We have been carefully and prayerfully watching the developments associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition to reliable sources and the public declaration of a national state of emergency, we have consulted competent believers in the medical field for a fuller understanding and counsel. Most recently, we were made aware that the Fairfax County Health Department plans to announce a rise in cases, and we are also aware of at least one exposure within our own church community.

The combination of these and other factors suggest that it is right and loving to purposefully act on behalf of those who are vulnerable among us — those within our church family and our spheres of contact. Medical counsel suggests that the immediate threat level of this virus is much higher than influenza. At this time, our plan is to cancel all regular church activities, meetings, and office hours beginning Sunday, March 15, through Saturday, March 21. Our pastoral and elder leadership will meet to discuss how to best accommodate future changes and to minimize whatever effects we can to normal church life. Please join us in praying for our community.

The foundation of our faith has not moved. Know that we are truly hopeful because of whose we are. Our desire is to resume normal activities as soon as it is possible to responsibly do so. Please see our website or social media platforms (Facebook • Instagram • Twitter) or call the church office (703.278.8166) for the latest updates.

 
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Jonathan Parker


Coronavirus • 13 March 2020

Church Family:
Like you, I along with our elders, pastors, and staff have been carefully watching the developments associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19). We remain cautious but hopeful as we prayerfully consider how best to steward our church and our ministries, while implementing practical adjustments to deter needless risk.
At this point, our church services will operate on a normal schedule, but we have several proactive changes we will implement that need your help.

  • Feeling sick? As a precautionary measure, please stay home if you or your child feels ill.
  • Physical contact: Please avoid physical contact with others at church for the next few weeks.
    • This is tough because we are a friendly church, but it is a simple adjustment that we can easily accommodate.
  • Welcome time: We love greeting each other in Christ, but we will forgo this time during the welcome for the next few weeks.   
  • Offering: Instead of passing an offering plate, ushers will have offering plates available as you leave after the service to receive giving.
    • This limits one place of shared contact.
    • Also, we offer online and text-to-give (703.721.4466) options that are easy to use.  
    • You may also mail your offering to the church: 5424 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA 22039.
  • You have grace to stay home:
    • We want nothing more than to be together worshiping the Lord, but we want you to have peace about staying home. This is especially true if you or your loved one falls into higher-risk categories. It is because we love you that we want you to protect yourself with a clear conscience. 
    • If you need to do this, be sure to take advantage of our online sermons — this week’s and previous sermons.
  • Updates:
    • Please see our website or social media platforms (Facebook• Instagram • Twitter) or call the church office (703.278.8166) for the latest updates.

Please know that we are not alarmed, but we do think the risks are worthy of these simple changes. Our hope is secure and our God is good (cf. Psalm 23). Please join me in praying that the effects of this virus will be minimized in our community.

It is truly my pleasure to serve you as pastor.
Sincerely,
Pastor Jonathan Parker