COVID-19: Elders update 2020-03-24

Dear Church Family,

Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ – the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of dead, and the Ruler of the kings of on earth.

As an eldership, we hope to provide weekly feedback concerning the developments in our country, and indeed from around the world. Our immediate focus for the time is on how we can continue to love & support one another in light of the lockdown commencing at midnight on Thursday.

This has no doubt caught many of us by surprise. Yet, we must thank the Lord for our statement president’s calm yet decisive tone as he calls the nation to action. Let us be grateful that it falls to him, and not less worthy men, to lead in this hour. And we must remember that Scripture places the burden of prayer upon the church – a kingdom of priests in a fallen world. If we neglect to pray, especially for our nation’s leaders, and choose rather to criticise, then any failings on their part are in some measure our own. So, please intercede on behalf of president Cyril Ramaphosa, and his advisers, who are doubtless both exhausted, and facing enormous & variable pressures. Then, pray also for the economic impact of these decisions, which will be considerable, and felt by many of the Lord’s children.

Here is a short update regarding church activities:

  • Sunday Morning Services: There will not be a service at the church premises for the duration of the lockdown. Live-streaming from Martin’s home will also not be possible, owing to logistical limitations at this time. However, each week Martin will be pre-recording a whole service, that will then be uploaded & accessible from the church website. This pre-recorded service will include announcements, prayers, Scripture readings, a children’s talk, reading the words of a hymn or two, and the preaching of God’s Word as we continue in our series in Revelation. Should you so desire, you could also pause between segments to sing a song/hymn together as a family.
    • We strongly encourage you to download this service and participate from your homes on the Sunday morning. The Lord has granted that we have such technical privileges in our day, and we hope to use them to the best of our abilities.
    • We will also look at a pre-recorded “Good Friday” service, including the contributions of others.  
    • Once the lockdown is lifted we will resort to live-streaming, until such time as it is prudent to meet at the church premises once more.
  • HFG’s:
    • Those with the technical know-how, may want to consider some sort of social-media get together for HFG’s.
    • Furthermore, we will consider continuing with Pilgrim’s Progress in the same ‘pre-recorded’ format (to be confirmed).
  • Sunday Evening Services, and all other corporate church activities/programmes remain suspended until further notice.

In this time of fear, contradiction and conjecture, let us hold fast to the immovable confessions of our faith. It was not for ‘no-good-reason’ that the Lord filled out the pages of Scripture with commands and assurances, often written in circumstances similar to our own. So, we must speak sternly to our own hearts, rather than listen to their whispering anxieties. And we must speak much to our compassionate Father – as all sensible Christians do – seeking His mercy, guidance and grace. Pray also for the church, and seek to help your brothers & sisters as far as you are able. For some, the impact of the lockdown will be minimal, owing to the nature of their work; for others, it will produce great financial difficulty, as they live hand-to-mouth. We must have our eyes open to need, loving others as we would desire them to love us. Again, please actively reach out by phone or social media. Perhaps pick up the church directory, and call just two or three people a day, to see how they are doing, and how you might pray for them. Please also feel free to reach out to the elders, who remain contactable during this period, and are attempting to stay in contact with all. Watch your own life and doctrine too – we must use some of this time to examine our hearts for idols and attitudes that would make us unready for the Lord, or shrink back from Him in shame at His coming. Then, let us also be alert to the chance to proclaim the gospel of salvation to others, whom God may be awakening from the materialistic illusion in which they once lived. There are many who were blindly confident in the achievements of man, or enraptured by thrill-seeking…yet who now feel their mortality, and tremble. It is in times such as these that the Lord both tests the faith of His people, and shatters the folly of the world. In short, we must not miss the sovereign hand; we must not fail to ask “In light of all these things…how then shall I live today?”.  

What sweet comfort for the Christian, that the Lord is our eternal ally –

One who bids us look to the birds of the air, and not worry;

One who considers the arrogance of a godless world, and humbles it with an microbe;

One who makes well-being and creates calamity;

One who has shown His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, He died for us;

One who knows our frame, and remember that we are dust;

One who hears, and answers prayer;

One who is coming again…

With our love and ongoing prayer,

Martin, Winton, Shane & Andrew