March 18, 2020
Dear Church Family,
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:9-10
After a lot of praying and thinking, I write this letter. Our country has not been in this situation since 1918-1919 with the Spanish flu epidemic. Sunday the CDC put out new guidelines for mass gatherings. The old number was mass gatherings of 250 people or more were recommended to be cancelled. Now, with the new guidelines that number has been lowered to 50 people or more with further guidance that 10 or more people from a high risk category is too many and these recommendations are to continue until May 10. Then, on Monday the White House put out their “15 Days to Slow the Spread” and they recommended for the next 15 days to cancel mass gatherings of 10 or more people.1 All of our local authorities are now proceeding under these new directives.
In consultation with the Deacons, we have decided to cancel all our public gatherings at Brushy Fork. We will move our weekly church service online. We hope that we can return to our weekly public gatherings soon, but we have planned to not gather until Easter April 12. We will continue to monitor the guidelines that our federal, state, and local authorities have put out and if we can meet sooner then Easter we will, but if we have to delay past Easter we are also prepared to follow these guidelines.
How will this online church service work? Our internet speed and reliability at the church is not sufficient to broadcast our service live, so I will digitally record my messages each week either on Friday or Saturday morning. They will then be edited and uploaded on Saturday. Then, they will go live to the public on YouTube Sunday morning. When the message goes live, I will then text out a link to the video. You can then watch them at your leisure in the comfort of your own home. If you do not have the capability to view YouTube, then feel free to call the office (812-839-3430) and request a DVD that you can watch in your home with your DVD player. We will do our best to get one to you quickly. You will also be able to find the link to our weekly messages on our Facebook and Twitter accounts in addition to our website.2
One concern our church leadership has with the cancelling of our public gatherings, is how are we going to keep the lights on at the church? We rely solely on our public gatherings and the offerings collected there to meet our church’s ministry expenses. We currently have $4,333.91 in the bank account.3 Our monthly expenses normally range from between $6,000 and $9,000. You can see that we will not make it to April 12 without continued giving. We have set up a questionnaire so you can provide some feedback to how we can make it most convenient to continue supporting our church.4 Throughout this time of online services, you can always mail a check to Brushy Fork Baptist Church, ℅ Garry Jessup, 12128 State Road 129, Vevay, IN 47043. Please put in the memo of the check that it is for Brushy Fork Baptist Church. Thank you so much for your sacrificial giving and we are trusting the Lord for all our needs.
Let me remind us that ministry will not pause while we do not have public gatherings. Some in our community may face great hardships during this time of uncertainty and public health crisis. Please take some time each day and check in with some people by phone. That may be your neighbors or your friends that are at risk. Also, please let us know if someone in your area needs a helping hand. We will seek to help in the safest way possible. Our county EMA Director is already compiling a list of volunteers who would be interested in helping the at risk population in our community. Please fill out the questionnaire online mentioned above to indicate if you are interested in volunteering to help our community. We will be volunteering under the direction of the EMA Director and under the advisement of the Health Department.
Let me just close by saying — as crazy as these days are and as disturbed as we might be by our circumstances — reality has not changed. We serve a God who is greater than Coronavirus and he has not abdicated his throne. The hope of the gospel still rings out — Come all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest! Our hope is Christ and Christ alone.
If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to call. I will be keeping regular office hours and will have my cell phone handy.
With great love,
1. 15 Days to Slow the Spread
2. Facebook; Twitter; Website; YouTube
3. This does not include the money we have in the building fund nor the renovation fund. We would like to not have to dip into the building fund nor the renovation fund since we rely on them for emergency upkeep. We are ok in the cemetery fund to start cutting grass this spring.