Redemption Church Family,
In consideration of the public health concerns related to COVID-19, we will not be hosting worship services at any of our Phoenix or Tucson area congregations on Sunday, March 15. The dynamics related to the coronavirus are changing quickly, and we anticipate having greater clarity next week.
Our Flagstaff congregation will continue to meet, as there have not been any reported cases of the virus in Coconino county.
Each of our congregations’ leaders will be communicating through email and social media about how they plan to engage with you and your family during this season. Some of you are in vulnerable situations and need care, and others will have the opportunity to provide that care.
Though we are being cautious, we are not afraid. We believe that God will use us to shine the light of Jesus as we respond with faith and love in the midst of a climate of uncertainty and fear.
If someone asks why your church chose to respond to this health crisis by closing its doors, here’s our response:
1. We are loving our neighbors by protecting our neighbors.
2. We are not being fearful. We are being responsible.
3. Love requires that we look out for the most vulnerable among us.
With love in Christ,
Redemption Church Leadership Team
A NOTE FROM REDEMPTION TUCSON
Dear Redemption Tucson,
We wanted to update you on some additional details relevant to our Tucson congregation.
WORSHIPING TOGETHER THIS SUNDAY
This Sunday, we will gather online to walk through our Sunday morning liturgy together. We will have a simple service planned, with worship music, time in God’s Word, and communion. We encourage you to gather together with your family, or in small groups, to participate in worship alongside others. Also, please plan ahead to have some form of “bread and juice/wine” so you can participate in what we expect to be a special time of taking communion together. We encourage you to join us online (we will be live-streaming the message at 10am, (Link to our Redemption Tucson Youtube channel where we will stream); and the message will then be available for access anytime).
We do not know the exact details for when we will meet again together on Sunday morning, though we will likely all have a newfound gratitude for the privilege of gathering together for worship week after week. We also don’t know what this means for various other, larger gatherings, like the Prayer Night (3/22), or ‘Woven’-Women’s Gathering (3/29). In partnership with civic leadership, and in seeking to respond wisely as good neighbors to the coronavirus situation, we will do whatever we can to carefully and lovingly protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
STILL GATHERING TOGETHER!
We are recommending that smaller group gatherings continue (such as Redemption Communities, Surge, and Training Tables). Smaller group gatherings like this do not pose the same health risk as larger gatherings. (For those interested on why it makes sense to cancel larger group gatherings, yet continue to gather in smaller settings, we highly recommend this article by Andy Crouch).
During a time when many are experiencing isolation, fear, and anxiety, the need to gather together is all the more important. Our commitment to live day-to-day in the context of gospel-centered community comes into even greater focus during times like this. Redemption Community leaders will reach out to people in their groups about times to gather for worship, prayer, Bible Study, and creatively loving and serving others. We are asking, however, that all small group gatherings take extra care to observe common, wise-practices:
- Washing hands thoroughly & frequently
- Nobody present is sick or has any reason to believe they’ve been exposed to COVID-19
- The most vulnerable (over age 60, weakened immune system) choose not to attend.
IF YOU (OR PEOPLE YOU KNOW) NEED HELP
While we are not able to gather together as we normally do, we are still called and committed to functioning together as the church. We will seek to creatively and compassionately support and love our community well in the midst of this crisis. If you, or somebody you know, need groceries, prayer, or other forms of help and support, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Somebody from our leadership team, an RC leader, or a member of the Care Team will gladly help however we are able.
SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES:
The following resources are a few, of many, available to help give perspective, comfort, and creative ideas for how to love well:
- https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/songs-comfort-anxious-souls/ (A good, broad, diverse (free) playlist)
- AND Hezekiah Walker, Fred Hammond, Tasha Cobbs, Israel Houghton playlists on Spotify or Pandora
We continue to press forward with our eyes firmly set on Jesus, leading us to be Gospel-Centered and Outward-Focused. We exist to glorify Jesus and love our neighbors, and that comes into even greater clarity in this unique season.
The Elders and Pastors – Redemption Tucson