Dear SE 10th Avenue Family & Those Visiting the Site,
In the wake of times unprecedented in our lifetime, throughout the world, our country, our county, and even now our very city, it is with great consideration of the governmental regulations due to the standing pandemic of the Coronavirus, that decisions concerning our service gatherings had to be made. Let it be known that this decision isn’t made upon the bases of distrust or lack of faith in God. For we believe and stand affirmed as a congregation, “if we have the faith, God has the power”. We trust God is in absolute control, and nothing in the world He created happens without His say so. Yet, God has blessed us with wisdom and common sense. We have faith in God as a healer, yet it doesn’t mean we cannot take medicine prescribed by a doctor. Understand also that when first century saints were under severe persecutions and trials, they did not stop worshipping God, but they took their worship to different arenas for the safety of the saints. The early church encountered plenty of persecutions from Roman emperors. During these persecutions, they worshipped in secret, in homes (Romans 16:3-5) and catacombs. After the persecutions, Christians could build places of worship (or rebuild those destroyed during the persecutions) in public (Acts 2:46 A clause of the text). Therefore, this situation may be foreign, but worship can be in these drastic situations accepted in different arenas and smaller groups when we are prevented to “come together” as a whole congregation. Jesus himself says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 KJV). Therefore, in the wake of the Corona virus, we are asking that our church family of the S.E 10th Avenue Church of Christ do what the early saints did, and worship in small gatherings in your homes.
It is my desire to keep all our members safe, for we have much to do for this city to the Glory of God. We launch together, but we cannot launch if we are compromised as a people by disease. I encourage all of you to follow the regulations set forth by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and governmental agencies as they look to keep us safe. We are instructed in scripture to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-4) if they do not direct us to break the laws of God. Please know that I love you dearly and my prayer is that none of you will be affected by this virus. Neither could I in good conscience place those I love, and God has entrusted me to lead, in harm’s way unless absolutely and scripturally binding to do so. “The government is not demanding that we can’t worship at all” but that we limit our gatherings to small groups of 10 or less.
We will have men at the building on Saturday, from the hours of 10-1pm and Sunday, from 9-11am for members to collect their communion packets and drop off their collection/lay-by as well. Please note we also have an online app for giving (give plus) on Android and Apple devices that can be downloaded in the app stores. Lord willing, I will post a sermonic presentation online, on our Facebook app and live stream via the church website for encouragement and edification of the saints, on Sunday at 11:15am.
Please note this specific situation does not replace the coming together of our congregation in collective worship when we are again able to do so safely. At home worship, apart from the general assembly of the saints, is not scripturally sound unless such circumstances or hindrances are in place. Consider the example in Acts 20:5-7, as the apostle Paul and company waited until the first day of the week when they knew the saints of Troas would gather for worship. Paul and his group of travelers could have very well had a private worship with themselves. Yet, they waited for the general assembly of God’s people and worshipped together with them, and Paul preached that Sunday to God’s people in that city. Therefore, by this example we see that private worship at home is only when we are hindered by circumstance from coming together as a whole.
Our prayers are with you and your families. In the resolved spirit of faithful children of the almighty God, “This Too Shall Pass”.
Sincerely, God’s Humbled Servant, Adrian B Harper Jr., Sr. Minister