First of all, let me just say thank you for tolerating a few emails today. I never like to send too many messages since we all live full lives with more than enough to do, read and attend to. However, the news that was shared today from the Governor of Washington has required us to make plans that none of us like but need to consider.
Let me start by sharing exactly what we are dealing with in case you have not read or were not able to watch the live address from Governor Jay Inslee today. HERE
is the actual footage from the address earlier today. The Governor has issued a Proclamation under a state of emergency and with the recommendation of the CDC and Washington State Department of Health as follows;
"Gatherings of 250 people or more for social, spiritual and recreational activities including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, or sporting events; parades; concerts; festivals; conventions; fundraisers; and similar activities."
- PLEASE SEE PROCLAMATION HERE!
This proclamation is for the purpose of slowing the spread of COVID-19 or otherwise known as the Corona Virus. Just so you are aware, ALL of our three weekend services are over 250 people which means this specifically applies to us within the weekend context (as well as our Ignite Gatherings). This proclamation is targeted for at least the month of March and details beyond that are still forthcoming. As it pertains to gatherings under 250, the Governor's office has issued some very clear restrictions as well which are as follows;
You can read the restrictions on the original website HERE!
- Events with more than 250 attendees are prohibited.
- Public events with fewer than 250 attendees are prohibited, unless event organizers can take steps to minimize risk. Event organizers must ensure that:
- Older and vulnerable individuals have been encouraged not to attend
- Recommendations for social distancing and limiting close contact are met
- Employees or volunteers leading an event are screened for symptoms each day
- Proper hand washing, sanitation, and cleaning is readily available
- Environmental cleaning guidelines are followed (e.g., clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily or more frequently)
I have already had a number of conversations with other pastors, our staff and several of you. To be honest, some of us are disappointed while others don't quite know what to think. One thing is for sure, we at Northwest Church need to respond and communicate with you what we have decided to do. So, here is our prayerful initial response to all of this;
1. We will comply with our state leaders concerning the prohibition of gatherings over 250 people. To that end we have cancelled the Ignite Gathering tonight and our ONSITE weekend services for March 14/15th.
2. We will still have a LIVESTREAM tonight in place of our Ignite Gathering at 7pm. You can tune in through our LIVESTREAM
channel OR on our Facebook page
3. We will LIVESTREAM
our weekend services through both our livestream
account and our Facebook
page for all three services. Yes, that means all three of the services will be live so you can tune into whatever service you normally attend.
4. We are not yet sure as to what we will do for our weekend services in March but we will keep you updated frequently.
5. We are going to modify our weekly activities schedule to comply with the requirements issued today. If you have a scheduled gathering of any kind please contact the leader of that ministry or group to learn what is cancelled or still ongoing. Many of you are emailing me and I am not able to get to everyone so it would be the best practice to email or call the leader of that ministry. Our ministry leaders will seek to communicate well about all activities that are currently on the calendar.
6. Please pray. First, let's pray that God would extinguish this virus completely! Second, let's pray for those who have it to fully recover. Third, let's pray that God would give peace in place of fear and panic. Fourth, let's pray that God would give us unity as we move together in light of these circumstances.
I believe that God will give us great opportunities in the midst of all of this. I sense that many non-Christian hearts are more open to God because of fear. Let's make the most of this opportunity by praying together from our homes, getting together in our homes, reaching out to our neighbors and especially those who may be vulnerable. God can use us mightily as we move together and push back on the panic that this virus is creating.
I have decided to seek God through fasting and prayer and I am inviting you to join me as a church. God will give us wisdom as He leads us together. My hope is that we draw closer together as a church and reflect more and more of what we read about in the book of Acts as we see the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. Will you join me in this?
If you have any questions, comments or concerns - please feel free to reach out to me by email, text or phone. My number is 425-239-6528. Also, if you just want prayer you can call or email us here at the church anytime. I will be sending a few emails a week to update you as this all unfolds.
I am grateful to serve as your lead Pastor as we navigate through new territory together. There is no place I would rather be and there is no church I would rather be a part of. Much love to all of you today.