Letter to Congregation on Coronavirus

Last Updated: April 4 – 10 AM

Good morning church family, I trust you are finding God’s peace and purposes in these unusual circumstances. The Coronavirus has certainly forced us outside of our routines and our comfort zones and I pray that the Lord is using this time in your life to deepen your faith and trust in him. I know he has done so for me as I have had to make several adjustments in my life, especially to how I minister to you through this difficult time. It has been very hard for me to not be able to interact with all of you personally and to see how each one of you are doing. I pray that you all are weighing what you here on the news concerning this outbreak in light of God’s Word and his unchanging character. I want to assure you this morning that God has not lost control, although many of us feel we have. He still holds us, our nation, and even this world in the palm of his hand and he is directing all things according to the good counsel of his own will. And he is calling us to adjust our agendas and schedules to his sovereign purposes and to trust him with the details of our lives.

With that said we, the elders of Berean BFC, wanted to update you with how we are going to operate over the next month as we adapt to our new situation. We as elders have met, prayed, and discussed extensively what life should look like at Berean during this pandemic. We have decided, as your shepherds, we want to operate from the principle of caring for you, both body and soul, by not unnecessarily putting anyone at risk of contracting this new Coronavirus. We have many elderly saints among us and it seems that Monroe county has been especially affected by this virus. With that said we are planning to cancel our physical gatherings until further notice. We really are working on a week by week basis here and so we will keep you updated as we continue to meet and make decisions with the information we receive. The elders are planning on meeting every Wednesday, via Zoom, until this whole thing is over. This means that our Good Friday service and Easter service for next week will be canceled. As much as we are grieved that we cannot be together for Resurrection Sunday we trust and pray that God will minister to you as you reflect upon the great truths of our faith in this Season.

Since we are not going to be able to physically meet we are trying to up our game virtually as a church. Instead of just posting audio messages online we are going to be posting video messages on Youtube. There will be a link on our website as well as our Facebook page to these messages. Lord willing, I am planning to post a Good Friday message to assist you in your meditations on the Crucifixion of our Lord and Savior and next week we will consider the Resurrection. We have such hope in the reality of our Resurrected Savior who secured for us life beyond the grave. This is especially pertinent as we talk to so many who have been confronted with the reality of death over these past weeks and even months. I pray that God would use this time to awaken so many from their spiritual stupor and that they would come to embrace the message of a risen Savior.  

We are also planning to try our hand at some online community by hosting some Zoom meetings. The elders will be reaching out to you to see if you are able to join one of these Zoom groups. Zoom is a pretty accessible online conferencing platform and so we hope and pray that this might be a temporary substitute to our fellowship together. I am putting together some discussion questions from the sermon that you might be able to discuss together. We also encourage each one of you to continue to reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ by telephone. I have heard many encouraging stories of phone calls that many of you have received from one another and it blesses my heart to know that this virus has not prevented us from investing in one another lives. People are our greatest investment and I pray that times like this help us to appreciate how much of a blessing our fellowship truly is. 

I hope and pray that we can be together soon and I look forward to the day when I can hear all that God has taught you during this time. I encourage you not to waste it but to spend it with family, reflecting on the goodness and grace of God as it is revealed in the Scripture. May God bless and keep you, may he cause his face to shine upon you and grant you peace.

Your loving Pastor, Beau.

March 27, 2020 – 2 PM

Good afternoon beloved in the Lord,

I trust that this letter finds you trusting in the Lord and finding comfort in his unchangeable character. Know that we as elders are praying for you and for the ramifications of this COVID-19 virus. We want to keep you updated as much as we can on our response to this as a church. The elders met Wednesday night, via Zoom, and have made a few decisions for the next couple weeks and we want to let you know the game plan. As of right now we are still abiding by the President’s 15 day, no gatherings larger than 10 recommendation. This expires on March 30th and takes us beyond our already decided suspension of gatherings for March 22nd and 29th. We have also decided to abide by Governor Wolf’s stay at home order until April 6th which means we will not have service again on April 5th. Just so we are clear we will not be gathering for the next two weeks, March 29th and April 5th.

The elders are meeting again next Wednesday April 1st, to discuss what our game plan is for Good Friday, April 10th and Resurrection Sunday, April 12th. We would love to be with you all again and are even trying to come up with some creative solutions if the social distancing recommendation is still in effect. We want you to know that in all of this we are trusting in the sovereign care of Almighty God and in the love of Jesus Christ for his people demonstrated at the cross. We know that although our governing officials are a help, set in place by God, they are not the ultimate authority.

Would you continue to pray for and reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ? We have not heard of any of our people who have been infected by the Coronavirus and so we are praising the Lord for that but we also want to be diligent to not lose sight of our utter dependence on God in this crisis. Be praying for protection and health for our people. Be praying for our witness as a body of believers to our neighbors. And may God be glorified in whatever he brings out of our current situation. Know that we as elders love each one of you and are praying that God is working out your good and his glory in all of this.

Striving to be faithful to the Lord,

Pastor Beau and the Elders of Berean BFC.

Romans 8:35–39 (ESV) — 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

March 18, 2020 – 11 AM

Brothers and Sisters,

We are certainly witnessing unprecedented times, at least in modern day America. Plagues and pandemics are not new to humanity. They are something that men, women, and children have been victim to since the introduction of sin and death into our normal experience. And so history is our friend here, especially when we think about the spiritual ramifications of this pandemic. We have seen the church in times past respond to sickness and death with bravery and responsibility. This means that we are not to cower in the face of this novel Coronavirus because we understand that God is in control. But we must also take responsible action in order not to harm our neighbors out of love, especially those who are the most vulnerable among us. So, we care for bodies and souls.

Things have changed since my last letter, among those the guidelines from the President about curbing the advance of Covid-19. Last week the guideline was for groups of 250 or more to suspend meeting. As of Monday, that number has been drastically reduced to 10. This suggestion is in place for 15 days. We as Christians believe that our government officials have been put in place by God to protect the life and the well-being of society.

Romans 13:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Now obviously this mandate must be balanced by our obligation to God, the ultimate authority, and His Law. If local authorities demand that we disregard the Law of God in order to obey their mandates, then we are required to defy governments in order that we might obey God. In this matter though, our Governor and President are not asking us to abstain from meeting in order to harm but to protect. In respecting their oversight, the Elders of Berean have decided to honor their guidance by suspending our Worship Gatherings, and all other activities for the next 15 days. The Elders are meeting next Wednesday in order to pray over and discuss what actions we will take after the 15 days.

Although we are suspending our Gathering, that doesn’t mean that we need to suspend our fellowship. Here are five things that we are doing in order to continue our life together, although from a distance.

  1. Pastor Beau will prepare a message for Sunday and we will post it to our website (bereanbfc.org) sometime on Saturday so that you can continue your Sunday morning routine by worshiping as a family at home.
  2. We will also put together a Spotify playlist with worship songs so that we are all singing the same truths of God’s goodness and grace together.
  3. We encourage you to continue your act of worship by giving to the church financially by mailing in your offering to the church. (If you would like to give toward the Summer Missionary Trips you can send that in as well)
  4. We would also encourage all of you to take part in a time of corporate prayer and fasting for our congregation, neighbors, and country starting Wednesday night, March 18, after dinner and lasting until Thursday night dinner time. We would also encourage you to have a concentrated time of prayer during the lunch hour on Wednesday.
  5. We, the Elders, will be reaching out to each of you to see how we can minister to you spiritually, physically, and financially.

We trust that in all of this you are finding your security in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a story in the gospels of a storm that was overwhelming the disciples. They felt out of control and were very afraid. We find that story in Mark 4:35-41;

Mark 4:35–41 (ESV) — 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

One word from the mouth of our Lord calmed the wind and the waves. What we learn from this story is that Jesus has ultimate authority over natural phenomena. And just like Jesus can calm the wind and the waves so he can bring this virus to a halt or bring us safely through sickness according to his perfect will. We turn to him with our fears. We trust him in the midst of the storm. And we give ourselves to his sovereign ability as we seek to exercise responsible faithfulness over that which he has entrusted to us.

Striving to serve Him faithfully,

Pastor Beau and the Elders of Berean BFC

March 14, 2020 – 11 AM

Dear Berean Church Family,

Amidst all of the anxious commentary concerning the Coronavirus I pray that this letter finds you trusting in the sovereign ability and care of our loving Lord. There are certain circumstances in this world that remind us just how small we are and how overwhelming big our God is. Although the Covid-19 virus has taken many of us by surprise we know, and trust, that it has not taken God by surprise. We are trusting in the Lord in the midst of the spread of this virus.

We know there are many of you who are concerned about our gathering tomorrow. The elders have been in prayer, discussion, and have sought the counsel of many other church leaders and pastors as to whether or not we should continue to gather together for worship. As of right now, we are going to move forward with our Sunday morning activities, as we fall under the threshold of large groups as defined by our Governor. But we are going to cancel our Sunday night 3D, Monday night Men’s Basketball, and Friday night Volleyball until further notice. As these three events involve the most physical contact. We will also not have any refreshments in between Worship and Sunday School.

With that said we trust that we will all exercise discretion and be responsible as we gather. For those who are the most vulnerable, the elderly and those with underlying conditions, we suggest that you stay home. We will try to make the sermon available as quickly as possible on our website (bereanbfc.org) so that you can still participate in God’s desire to lead us through the preaching of the Word. We would also ask that you limit your physical contact with one another. Greet one another with a warm smile instead of a handshake and wash your hands often. If you are feeling sick at all we would ask that you stay home.

May we pray for our country, and for our leaders as they have to make impossible decisions that will affect many. But above all may we pray that in the midst of this health scare, God would awaken many to the frailty and brevity of life on this earth, and that they would turn to Jesus as their only hope of salvation in this life and the life to come. May we all trust God as we encounter these uncertain circumstances and in all things may he be glorified.

Psalm 46:1–7 (ESV) — 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Psalm 46:10–11 (ESV) — 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Striving to be Faithful to our Loving Lord and Savior,

Pastor Beau and the Elders of Berean BFC