Weekly COVID-19 Updates

April 4, 2020

RE: COVID-19 Update – From the Pastor’s Desk

 

Dear CBT Church Family,

As I write this update, my prayer is that you are happy and healthy. Governor DeWine has taken some of the most aggressive and groundbreaking steps in the nation in order to slow the contracting of the Coronavirus, and yet he continues to hold the church in high regard and view it as essential.   

 

This past week during one of his daily briefings, he stated, “Any pastor who brings people together in close proximityto each other, a large group of people, is making a huge mistake. ”DeWine said, “It is not a Christian thing to do. It is not in the Judeo-Christian tradition to hurt people.”

 

Governor DeWine was not stating the law, but expressing an opinion. His position concerning the church continues to be admirable and constitutional.  His opinion is one fueled by public perception that he and his staff have helped to shape, and it reflects the political tightrope that he must navigate. I do not envy the position that our Governor finds himself in.   

 

I have given much prayer and consideration to this subject. Let me share just a few reasons why I have chosen not to shut down the church completely. 

 

1.​I believe the church is essential, and even more so, in times of crisis. 

 

​I wonder how many Covid-19 deaths have been linked to churches across our ​state? I know how many deaths are linked to Abortion clinics and yet, they ​are considered essential and remain open.  

 

​There were 20,630 aborted babies in the state of Ohio in 2017.   That means ​that there were 1,719 abortions per month. These past two months, while 91 ​Ohioans died from COVID-19, 3,438 babies were killed and yet, abortion ​clinics are considered essential and there are few, if any voices calling for ​their closure.    

 

​I find it hard to close the House of God where people find spiritual strength, ​daily hope, and needed encouragement when the abortion clinics pedal death ​and still have the legal authority to operate.  

 

2.​I have made it abundantly clear that no one need attend that has concerns for ​their safety and well-being. I continue to support the decision of members ​both young and old to either attend in person or via live-stream.    

 

3.​We have taken steps to comply with CDC guidelines concerning social ​distancing. Every other set of chairs is closed off creating 6 or more feet of ​distance between people. We ask that folks maintain the 6 feet rule and that ​they arrive close to start and exit promptly after.    

 

4.​I admit that there is risk in attending a service, but I don’t believe it is any ​more dangerous than the possibility of catching it at a drive-thru, ​grocery store, work, Target, or Walmart.    

 

5.​We were first asked to social distance for two to three weeks, which ​promised that the curve would drop significantly, permitting our medical ​personnel time to prepare for the coming onslaught of cases.   That has come ​and gone—now it’s been extended almost 5 more weeks and there is talk that ​it may even be extended into May. I prefer taking it week to week for now.  

 

6.​I have kept my ear to the ground during the course of this current ​situation.  To this point, I don’t know of anyone who has been hurt by ​attending. I don’t even know anyone who attends our church who has the ​Coronavirus or has immediate family that does.   

 

​With more extensive testing, we are bound to hear of those who have the ​virus. I assure you that no one cares any more for the physical and spiritual ​well-being of our congregation than I do. I am not opposed to 100% live-stream, but I pray it isn’t necessary. 

 

The balance between keeping our congregation not only physically safe, but spiritually strong is a tough balancing act for a pastor. We are admonished to “walk by faith and not by sight”, but that is very difficult in the Corona-fueled media storm that saturates our world.   

 

I am not on a quest for glory and have no desire to take Custer’s last stand. I do, however, want to exercise our constitutional and Biblical right to assemble safely and carefully for as long as we can do so.  

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get through April without an interruption in service and not a single person who attends our church getting the virus?   

 

Will you pray to that end?   

 

We are in a very fluid time, and as I mentioned above, we could change course at any moment, but until further notice, we will continue to meet in a controlled environment at 11:00 AM Sunday morning and via live-stream only Sunday and Wednesday evening.   

Psalm 57:1 KJV - “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast."

Pastor Mark O'Donnell

 

Community Baptist Temple
1435 Kelly Ave.
Akron, OH 44306
Email: info@cbtakron.com

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