- March 29, 2020 - 12:00 am
In keeping with the guidance of national and local authorities
— and out of respect for the health of those we know and love —
all public services at the Danville Alliance Church
will be suspended until further notice.
From the beginning I revealed the end.
From long ago I told you things that had not yet happened, saying,
“My plan will stand, and I’ll do everything I intended to do.”
Dear Friend of the Danville Alliance Church,
For many years, weather-related events have raised the question as to whether we should meet for worship – or cancel – as other churches in the community would sometimes do. In the last 35 years, I can recall only two Sunday mornings when the worship service at the Danville Alliance Church was not held. Part of the reason is that our family lived right across the church parking lot, and getting the church facility opened and ready for worship was always a possibility.
The matter of whether to brave the elements was always left to the discretion of the individual members of our church family.
This same option was open to our church family in the earliest days of the outbreak. While some churches in our community were closed due to the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we remained open with the full understanding that each individual would make their own decision regarding attendance. At the same time, we understood the decision of those who were not feeling up to it and stayed home, exercising an abundance of caution. Also, at that time the Governor of Illinois had mandated that gatherings of more than 1,000 be suspended.
Much has changed in the last few days… governing authorities have dropped the maximum number recommended for gatherings from 1,000 to 250, to 50, and now 10. We are being encouraged to do our part to do as much as possible to minimize the spread of the virus in the next few days.
God’s Word is instructive about our response to the present situation and the urgency of the message being delivered by our national, state, and community leaders: “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God… Do what is right, and they will honor you… The government is God’s servant working for your good” (Romans 13:1, 3-4).
With respect for the knowledge and counsel of those who are watching out for the public good, all public services of the Danville Alliance Church are suspended until further notice.
This does not mean, however, that the Church is totally closing for the duration. In fact, the mission of the Church is most effectively experienced outside the walls of the church building. Jesus likened His followers to “salt” and “light” and neither are effective when they are hidden or isolated from the environments in which they were intended to make their presence known. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christians in Philippi: “Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others” (Philippians 2:4). The coming days will no doubt present the Church with numerous opportunities to make a positive impact as the hands and feet of Jesus. Please consider these helpful suggestions given by Ginger McPherson of the Christian Post:
For the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, give them a call. Listen to them, laugh with them. Laughter can truly be great medicine. If you know them personally (and you are young and healthy), offer to deliver their groceries. No human contact is needed. You can simply pick up the groceries and leave them on their porch for them to take inside.
For service workers, thank them profusely, every person you encounter. This includes the mail carrier, the plumber, the cashier at the grocery store, the Starbucks drive-thru barista, the security guard. They are people too. Encourage them. Let them know you see them and see how hard they are trying to do their jobs in the midst of what may seem like chaos at times.
For a single mother or low-income family, offer to help with their childcare needs. Have a weeknight pizza meal delivered. Order a box of diapers. Leave a puzzle or board game at their front door. Every little bit helps, and the reality that they aren’t alone can help even more.
For a small business near you, buy a gift card or two that can be redeemed later on a birthday, for your anniversary, or even for Christmas presents to relatives and friends. Buy directly from the business online or by calling (rather than through a secondary source) to really make a difference, and if you can, make sure to encourage the employee, manager, or owner by telling them you care.
For medical professionals, send a text and let them know you support them as they stand on the frontlines of this fight. Remember to encourage their family members too who may be waiting anxiously at home. Offer to mow their lawn or wash their car. To help with other maintenance needs. Most of all, just make sure they don’t feel alone. If you’re concerned, you can be sure they’re even more concerned, especially about what they could be bringing home to their families. So be sensitive and show them love.
For the homeless and needy, take an extra sack of groceries, soap, blankets, or clothes to your local food bank or homeless shelter. Food banks will likely be overrun with those who need help, and they depend heavily upon donations from others to stay stocked with provision and supplies.
If you can and are healthy, donate blood. Those who are seriously sick often need invasive medical treatments, and those treatments can include extra pints of blood. Even a single pint could help save a life, so consider finding a local donation bank and becoming a volunteer blood donor.
Last of all, pray. This is probably the greatest thing you can do. Pray that God will show you creative ways in which you personally can love and serve those around you while still keeping you and your family safe. Pray for those who are anxious, pray for those who are struggling financially, pray for your pastors, pray for your civic leaders, and pray for those who may be sick. Pray often but also be willing to tell others you are praying for them too.
Friends, let’s do everything we can in the coming days to make the presence of Christ known – even when our ability to move about freely is somewhat diminished. Consider the ministry and influence that the Apostle Paul carried on while his movements were confined by a prison cell!
For the duration, here’s what we will be doing to experience some sense of community as a church family:
Early in the week, we will be sending out a church newsletter by e-mail or regular mail. This newsletter will also be posted on the church website (www.DanvilleAllianceChurch.com).
Midweek, we will be distributing information for prayer needs, both locally and around the world. If you have a prayer need that you would like to have included, please e-mail us: Office@DanvilleAllianceChurch.com. Urgent prayer requests will be sent out immediately in keeping with our current practice.
On Sundays, we will be providing an abbreviated version of our Morning Worship experience. This will be posted on both the church website and on Facebook. For those without internet access, we will be mailing DVDs or CDs.
In the meantime, we (Dawn and I) will be calling through our church directory. This will be a great time to update contact information and check in with the church family on a personal level. We had given thought to making use of this time for personal visits in the home as long as we felt well, but unfortunately one of the realities of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is that 84% of those who are carrying the virus have no symptoms. So it would be wise not to depend on “how we feel” (always good advice for life in general) when it comes to dropping by; we value your health and well-being as much as our own.
It will take a bit of time to “ramp up” everything that will be needed, but we should be well along in this process by next week. Remember that God’s plans are continually being nudged forward, that He cares for us, and that we can trust Him as we serve others.
Thanks so much for the relationship that you share with us! We value your friendship and hope to see you again soon!
Yours in Jesus,
Pastor Ken Cameron and the Elders
of the Danville Alliance Church
P.S. You may wish to continue giving, even though we are unable to meet together. While some expenses will be reduced (the power bill comes to mind), others will remain. If you wish to contribute, here is the address:
Danville Alliance Church
2509 North Bowman Avenue
Danville, Illinois 61834-7402
“I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
(Jesus, John 14:27)