Dear Forest Hills Family –
Greetings from the office of your pastor and friend!
I hope this letter finds you and your family doing well and are safe and healthy!
This letter is to inform you of the steps our Church Board took last night (Monday, March 16th) in an unscheduled meeting called by me. We discussed what we should do as a church related to all the recommendations from the CDC, Governor of Indiana, and the President of the United States in regards to the coronavirus pandemic.
We are Christians and we fully trust God to take care of us and keep us safe, but we also are citizens of this country and by biblical mandate (Romans 13:1-7) should obey those in authority over us. With that being said, the following are steps we are taking to comply with our leaders to help in ultimately curtailing and stopping the spread of this virus.
1. The Board voted to suspend all services and meetings (in person) until Sunday, April 5th. This includes all ministries from Children’s ministries to Youth Ministries, Ladies Ministries, Men’s ministries, all worship services (Sunday morning and evening). This decision is connected to the recommendation from President Trump yesterday (March 16th) for no meetings larger than 10 to meet for the next 15 days.
2. The next step we have taken begins on Sunday, April 5th…we will try and comply with the mandate our Governor and the CDC made in regards to not meeting in groups of more than 50 for the next 8 weeks. (Sunday, May 10th).
We are formulating a plan so we can begin to meet as a church on April 5th. It will be creative and it will feel strange to many, but we will try to comply with those mandates. More details will follow in the coming days.
creative and it will feel strange to many, but we will try to comply with those mandates. More details will follow in the coming days.
3. The Church Board voted to purchase equipment so that we can begin to live-stream our services by as soon as this Sunday. This new way of viewing our services will bridge the gap of these next 8 weeks and beyond. We learned last night that live streaming has the capabilities to interact with listener and speaker. In other words, I could ask for prayer requests and anyone listening to the live stream could respond. It’s not the same as being there in person, but we can still connect with one another.
In regards to purchasing this new equipment; we will not be using any monies from our tithes and offerings. Let me just say that I am thrilled to lead a church board who puts their money where their mouth is. They believed so strongly in the need to get the equipment and that we needed to conserve our church monies, they raised the money among themselves.
4. We are going to have to be more creative in the giving of our tithes and offerings over the next several weeks. I remind you that we have online giving and also, text to give capabilities as well. Many have switched over to online giving, Pam and I have done so many months ago. It is so easy. To set up online giving please visit our online giving portal.
If you can’t or don’t want to give online you can mail or drop by the church office your tithes. Thank You!
Let me close by saying, ‘We will get through this and God will help us along the way.’ This is not a time to worry or fret. God is in control, He is our peace and comfort!
Remember the words of God through Isaiah (41:10) “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
If you have any questions, or need to talk with me, please don’t hesitate to call me at the church (812) 424-2647 or (cell) (812) 251-8600.
Thank you for your cooperation and we will get through this together!
Your Pastor & Friend,
Pastor Ray Austin
Forest Hills Wesleyan Church