Central Rocky Mountain Disciples Of Christ
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NRSV
I write this letter to you and to myself as we live amid the growing Coronavirus /COVID-19 Pandemic. I want to remind us as a Region of God’s grace and lavish unfailing love in these times of fear and uncertainty. As the Apostle Paul teaches us in this Romans passage: “there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
The disruption of our daily lives is unprecedented. Our governments and major institutions throughout the country are suspending events and activities for the foreseeable future. Our schools, colleges and universities are closing their campuses. This is the world we now live in. But I am convinced that nothing will separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus!
I have been in daily conversations with my regional colleagues, our moderator and vice-moderator and some of you about how to faithful live in the face of this virus that is rapidly advancing. We are diligently watching as the information about the Corona Virus COVID-19 Pandemic is changing daily. We must respond to fear and uncertainty with the truth of the gospel. God loves the world and calls us to live out that love in this world, right now!
As your regional pastor, I pen these words to assure you of God’s grace and love for you and the world. In this hour, we are called to be living epistles – love letters from God to God’s people throughout the world with acts of love, discernment, and wisdom.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE REGION
• I am recommending we suspend gathering for worship for the next two (2) weeks.
• I recommend we suspend in person meetings as well for the next two (2) weeks.
• Please contact me immediately if there is an outbreak of COVID-19/Corona Virus in your congregation or community
• Please do not disclose publicly the name or personal information of anyone impacted by COVID-19/Corona Virus in your congregation or community.
• Share what you and your congregations are doing to love one another, your neighbor and the stranger among you in the midst of the pandemic.
WHAT IS THE CRMR DOING?
1. ALL REGION RELATED TRAVEL IS SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, including
a. International Affairs Seminar for our youth
b. Executive Minister’s Travel
c. Regional Board Travel and Scheduled Regional Events (to be evaluated)
2. CONNECTED TO RELIABLE SOURCES FOR INFORMATION
a. General Church
b. Center for Disease Control
c. Public Health Officials
d. World Health Organization
3. SHARED INFORMATION and RESOURCES
a. Watch your Email for updates
b. Facebook Updates
GOD’S CALL TO BE LIVING EPISTLES – LIVING LOVE LETTERS TO THE WORLD
In the words of my colleague David Shirey simply stated: “our faith mandates us to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. “In this circumstance, what does love require?
1. Love requires us to protect the vulnerable.
This virus puts the elderly and people with compromised health conditions at special risk. To protect the vulnerable, we are making hard decisions to cancel corporate worship this Sunday and offer different worship formats that will safeguard our most vulnerable and address the deeply ingrained desire to worship weekly.
2. Love calls for us to seek the common good.
By voluntarily taking a sacrificial action such as cancelling corporate worship, we love our neighbors by doing our part to take an action that we hope will slow down the spread of the virus, thereby preventing as-yet-healthy persons from contracting the virus or making it easier for infected persons who may not yet know of the infection to spread it unknowingly to others.
3. Love calls for us to act in solidarity with persons of good will.
We choose to follow the best wisdom of public health officials, and we choose to join a community-, state-, nation- and worldwide concerted coalition whose cooperative efforts will protect the well-being of all people.
4. Love calls for actions that minimize regret.
If we were to proceed with events or activities that lead to the infection of persons or the unwitting spread of the virus, we would rue the decision to proceed with “business as usual” when we could have chosen otherwise.
I pray for God’s wisdom for us to live faithfully and lead with the confidence of Christ in these exceedingly difficult days. Let us pray for one another and the health and safety for all of God beloved children around the world. And so, God’s beloved, let us have confidence “no thing” will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Always remember: God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it!
In Christ love,
Joan Bell-Haynes, Executive Regional Minister