Letter from Pastor Pirschel
Beginning March 22nd, Providence will not be holding Sunday services for the next several Lord’s Days as we seek to follow the county’s recommendations. I am sure some of you may be wondering if this is the right call, as we have historically stressed the importance of corporate worship, word, and sacrament. Please know that we hold to these values as tenaciously as ever and have not demurred from our stated vision and commitment. That said, we also want to show honor where honor is due and to show love where love is due.
As for honor, the county of Riverside has issued an order to cancel all gatherings of 10 or more people. As God’s minister in the civil realm, we want to honor that decision as part of our Christian duty. This decision made by our government officials was not made to target churches or religious institutions, and as such, we should have no crisis of conscience in heeding their directives. This is what they have been ordained to do.
As for love, we want to make sure that we are not part of the problem in our community, but a part of the solution. We don’t want to brazenly and needlessly buck against the wisdom being passed to us by those who have responsibility in these areas. It is our duty to love our neighbor, and as such, we want to keep the protocols given to the best of our ability. Along with that, these restrictions have the potential to affect many of our neighbors in ways beyond physical illness, in ways financial and otherwise. To that end, in as much as you are able, please make it a point to not panic, thus exacerbating the problem. Be prepared, but do not hoard or seek to profit from the misery of others. Where able, support and frequent the local businesses around you with the limited services they are able to provide as they will be hit very hard by the county restrictions. Seek to serve those within your sphere of responsibility in ways that are fitting for the time at hand. With these things in mind, we have many in our congregation who have already made themselves available to shop for those who are unable, to share supplies with those who are lacking, and to provide services to those who need them. May the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, give you grace during this present distress.
In Christ’s Care,
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
…the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah