Beloved Members and Friends of St. Stephens,
During these times of uncertainty we are to have faith that God is sovereign over all that is life and death and we are to apply the truth stated by St. Paul that “to die is gain, to live is Christ.”
Also, from 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” All such qualities are for us to live out our faith so that unbelievers can see not panic but Christ Jesus in us.
Just to be clear regarding our Sunday services, we will be live streaming on this YouTube channel, https://youtu.be/b_0ZsdL-jPw. Be sure to subscribe and tell your friends. There will be no other meetings at the church until further notice. We will be starting a weekly Bible study on Zoom this week so check back for more details.
Grace and Peace, Pastor Eric+
Dear Beloved of St. Stephen’s,
I was informed last evening that Stevenson University where I teach a logic class this semester has canceled all face to face class meetings at least until the end of March because of the coronavirus. I do not have the wisdom to know whether this action is prudent or unnecessary or somewhere in between for we are all limited regarding what the future holds. What I want to communicate to you is a how we Christians should be responding to this recent pandemic and anything like it in the future.
First, I commend to you the statement put out by Archbishop Foley which you can find here http://www.anglicanchurch.net/?/main/page/1992. His pastoral counsel is most helpful.
Second, I add that just as we are not to mourn the death of a loved one like people who do not have hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), so too are we not to panic like those who fear death.
The underlining reason for people to panic about this most recent virus is fear of death. The clear message we Christians have for the world is that there is a hope to overcome death. During times when the public is facing the truth of human mortality we Christians must present the truth as Jesus describes it in Luke 13:1-5. There, Jesus takes opportunity in reference to sudden deaths from a tragic accident to inform all who would listen that awareness of such tragedies can teach us the possibility of our own sudden death. Grasping such a possibility is an opportunity to repent, be forgiven of our sins and receive the hope of life after death in the presence of the Heavenly Father. This perfect love offered by and through Jesus casts out fear. Let this message of hope be in our hearts and on our lips as we go through this pandemic crisis.
Finally, as of now there are no plans to stop meeting for worship on Sunday mornings nor are we planning to cease any other gatherings for prayer, fellowship or instruction. I respect that God has given each of you wisdom regarding what is best for you and your family and we will support you in the decisions you make regarding your attendance and involvement in Church activities.
I summarize Bishop Foley’s words with “pray and stay informed.”
Grace and Peace,