As a community, state, and nation we continue to practice social distancing to flatten the outbreak curve. So, too, we at LCOC will be doing our part to protect and value the health lives of each person in our community. Effective immediately and until further notice all gatherings at and hosted by LCOC are suspended.
Our food pantry continues to be open on Mondays, 10 a.m. to noon. The pantry is for residents of the tri creek area with a valid state issued I.D. Please be patient with our volunteers who are practicing extra health precautions for their safety and yours.
Our office staff is, for the most part, working remotely. However, we continue to check voicemail periodically and email continually. So, please, if you are in need or would like to speak with our ministry staff, do not hesitate to reach out to the church via our normal methods of communication. We are still here to serve you and minister alongside you.
UPDATED 3/17/2020 3:30 PM
As many of you know by now, yesterday (3/16) our president with his health council, spoke to the nation recommending each of us to avoid groups of 10 or more. I am linking below a url that is the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America. In this article there are two points that would involve our life group ministry. The first one is to try and avoid groups of ten or more. A second recommendation is to “AVOID DISCRETIONARY TRAVEL, shopping trips, and social visits.”
With the increasing numbers of affected rising daily and in the spirit of submitting to our local, state and federal governments, as of this afternoon we are asking all life groups meetings to suspend until further notice. For you tech savvy leaders please feel free to utilize any of the online platforms to meet virtually. Please notify your group members but please still be available for them. We encourage you to be checking in with your members at least weekly and making yourself available to pray with them over the phone or by email. These are trying hard times for all of us but in full confidence we will see God carry us through.
UPDATED 3/14/2020 2:00PM
To our Lowell Church of Christ family
Saturday morning (March 14) church staff members and elders met together to pray and talk through our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We began our meeting by reading Psalm 46. The opening verses summarize the theme of this Psalm: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…”
Throughout our conversation we were reminded again and again that our ultimate decision regarding our church family must never be the result of fear, but on what is best for the flock members; in particular those most vulnerable. The public reaction to the COVID-19 has been strong, to say the least. Fear and panic have gripped the hearts of many people. We want to act not out of fear but with a calculated response based on the facts presented to us through expert leaders in the health field.
Using the ‘Indiana State Department of Health’ (ISDH) guidelines we have determined that in the best interest of our flock to temporarily suspend meetings at the church building beginning Sunday, March 15. Here, in part, is the official state recommendation:
“The Indiana State Department of Health [ISDH] strongly recommends the following for the next 30 days, unless extended:
- Non-essential gatherings of 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled. This includes any event or gathering of people who are in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, cafeteria, church…”
- Smaller, non-essential gatherings held in venues which do not allow social distancing of six (6) feet per person should be postponed or canceled.
As a way of combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has implemented policies based upon the ISDH guidelines. The key to understanding this government decision is that by reducing the times people gather together in larger groups – closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, self-quarantine, self-isolation, avoiding crowds – the likelihood of keeping the virus from spreading quickly increases. This slowing of the virus will protect our healthcare system from overcrowding and diminished resources.
The Lowell School Corporation announced on Friday, March 13, that all Lowell schools and school extracurricular activities will be suspended through April 10. Our own Sunshine Corner Preschool will follow suit during this time period.
LCOC has already advised those who are sick, the elderly and those whose immune systems have been compromised to strongly consider staying home from worship services. Now, we have come to the realization that it would be virtually impossible to create a scenario within our building in which people would have a consistent six (6) feet of separation from one another as outlined by the ISDH.
We want to be good citizens of our state and community by complying with the guidelines set forth by those in authority. We feel this is a Biblical approach to the current situation we find ourselves in. (Titus 3:1; Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14) We submit to these guidelines out of a profound love for our flock and for those who would want to worship with us Sunday morning.
To be clear; there will be no Sunday morning activities for March 15 and 22. The staff and elders will continue to meet on a regular basis to assess the situation as it unfolds and announce further actions as decisions are made. The food pantry will remain open each Monday to serve those families in need. We will provide a list of groups that will be cancelled as we learn of these decisions. LifeGroups are encouraged to meet as each group assesses the situation within their own “family.” The standard precautions are encouraged during this time frame.
We will make use of email, facebook, and the LCOC web site to pass along worship and study ideas to aid you in your spiritual journey. Although our Sunday morning gatherings are temporarily suspended, worship does not cease. Spiritual growth must continue. Please feel free to call the church office (219) 696-7591 if you have any questions. The church office will remain open at the normal times through the course of the week.
In view of all of this, members are encouraged to continue supporting the work of the Kingdom through their tithes and offerings. Budgetary needs continue even while the church body does not actually meet together. Offerings may be given to the church by sending checks to the church’s address, by dropping them off at the church office, or by taking advantage of the online giving program. More information regarding this option will be sent out later this week.
In closing, we ask that you continue to pray for the ongoing situation. Consider these prayer points:
- Those who have already contracted the virus
- Those who are vulnerable to the virus
- Those who work in the healthcare industry, especially those who work in emergency room situations
- The many residents and workers in the nursing homes
- Those in government positions who oversee our country’s response
- Families who have already been affected financially by the “ripple effect” of the outbreak
Sunday’s Core 52 Theme is the “Golden Rule”. “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 ESV) The theme of this verse fits well with the situation in which we find ourselves. Now is the time for Christians to act on Christ’s behalf to aid those in need. If you know of someone who is unable to get out of their home, then find out how you may be able to serve him or her. Now is the time when the Church can love others with the love of Jesus. Now is the time to let our light shine in a very dark, scary world.
May the love of God be with you all!
Chuck Hochmuth – minister, Lowell Church of Christ
As we walk through this time of uncertainty together, remember that we can be certain of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and show that love to others. We each have a Biblical mandate to love our neighbors. So please, take this opportunity to call and check in on your neighbors who are elderly or live alone. Offer to bring food to those who are sick and can’t go out. Be a comfort to them in the midst of fear. Be different and be faithful. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
We know none of this has God surprised and, while we trust He is ultimately in control, we have a role in being good stewards of all that He has entrusted to us.