Dear Church Family,
As you know, the coronavirus has dominated the news cycle for a number of weeks now. Local schools, sports teams, businesses and entertainment venues are all making difficult decisions to adjust to constantly changing updates and recommendations as to how to best serve the community.
We were reminded last Sunday from Nehemiah that God is in control and that trusting His sovereign and providential rule still requires us to act. No matter the circumstances, He is still on His throne and He is the sovereign over all of His creation. He is working all things together for our good and His glory but we still have a responsibility to be obedient.
Sometimes the call to action is difficult to understand. Consider Israel being called to walk around Jericho or Gideon being called to drastically reduce the size of his army and then smash a bunch of jars or how a horrific form of Roman execution could possibly be a tool of redemption. We are in a season where it is difficult to obey and difficult to understand what God is doing but we must trust Him. “Trust God and wash your hands.”
Late Wednesday evening, Governor Newsom, in coordination with the California Department of Public Health, announced that all gatherings of 250 people or more are to postpone or cancel such gatherings until at least the end of March. Our pastors and staff have spent significant time researching this order and speaking with applicable agencies and believe it is not just a suggestion. It represents the express urging of our government and the local health departments for the good of our community – especially those most vulnerable to the virus. Pastor Steve was able to speak with the Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, who made it clear that this was given as much more than a recommendation. It is a directive to those who deeply care about their neighbors and the overall health of our community, and desire to see a prompt end to this health crisis.
In accordance with these guidelines, the Elders have decided that commencing this Sunday and continuing until at least the end of March, we will not hold our public Sunday morning service or Sunday school hour. Instead we will hold our services online, by live streaming at the regular Sunday morning time as discussed below.
We believe this is in line with the spirit of Romans 13 where we are instructed to submit to our governing authorities. Although the Governor’s announcement is not strictly a law, it is a policy put in place by those God has placed in power over us, and we believe it to be the godly response to that divinely ordained authority.
We also believe this is the best way to love our neighbor and care for the congregation. The goal of this policy is to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, to keep the medical system from being overwhelmed and save lives. This has proven effective in the past in dealing with pandemics. We believe this is the most effective way for us to submit to God, submit to our government and to serve our community, both at SGCC and the greater San Gabriel Valley.
We will still “gather” together online each week during this season. We would invite you and your family to continue worshipping together with us at 9:00 am on Sunday mornings.
You will be able to worship through song, prayer and the Word through online streaming. The link will be provided in a later communication.
You will be able to worship through giving by mailing your offerings to the church office or by using the following link:
In addition, the weekly bulletin will be emailed to the church family.
We recognize other churches may make different decisions than these. We do not intend our decisions to be a judgment on them. We must all give account before God for how we shepherded His flock and this is what we believe is best.
This decision will impact other events as well, as the guidelines establish requirements for even smaller gatherings:
· Family Camp –We are cancelling this event and intend to provide refunds to everyone who has already paid for camp. We are in communication with the Oaks about the possibility of a refund or using our payment toward a future camp. Please give us time to process the paperwork and work out the details.
· All on campus Bible studies or gatherings taking place on school days are cancelled until further notice. Visitors and guests will not be allowed on campus. This is to help ensure the health of the children who are part of our school ministry and complies with the policy of the local school district.
· Some evening Bible studies or gatherings may continue to meet as long as they are able to comply with the standards established by public health officials. You will be receiving communication from the various leaders with more details.
Our hearts were heavy in making this decision. It is the highlight of our weeks to come together and be with our church family. While we believe this is right, it is very difficult.
We make the decision with the full confidence that God is in control and His purposes will always be for our good and to advance His glory. Not meeting in person on Sundays does not mean we cease being the church. It does not mean we cease our relationships. The interruption to our routine does not mean we are any less responsible to our commitments:
· Worship, Sing, Pray, Listen, Study, Give, Serve
· Make a point to purposefully reach out to people; asking how you can pray for them, care for them. Think of creative ways to connect and fellowship
· Look for opportunities to share the gospel with a friend, neighbor or co-worker who is living in fear. Crisis often opens doors of conversations that would not otherwise be there.
· Live in such a way that people will see the hope that is within you. Be prepared to give account for that hope (1 Peter 3:15)
· Pray for medical professionals – praise God for the advances in medical science.
· Pray God grants wisdom to the leaders making decisions.
· Pray for the sick.
· Pray for the world – this whole crisis serves as a poignant reminder of how small the world is and how great the need is for the gospel. Pray the next thing to spread across the globe is a revival of the church of Christ and an embrace of the gospel among the nations.
The situation is very fluid and we will be monitoring things and keeping you up to date as more decisions are made.
These kind of circumstances make us long for eternity and for the time prophesied by Habakkuk when what covers the earth is the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.
To the praise of His glory!
Privileged to serve as your Elders!
(Victor, Greg G., Dave, Gilbert, Javier, Greg P., Jon, Rich, Nate, Bruce, Fred, Steve)