THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2020
It’s been a little while since we’ve provided much of an official update here on the website. The last big communication we provided for the CCO church family was that we “strongly suggest” the wearing of masks while in the building here at Calvary Chapel.
Long story short, with the fairly rapid escalation of cases here in Northwest Arkansas, and with the hopes of being a blessing to our community, I’m going beyond the “strongly suggesting” category and making the request that you wear a face-covering while you’re here in the building—and, yes, this does include the request to wear a face-covering during service, including while singing.
The number of confirmed cases here in NWA is among the highest in the state. If I’m reading the various charts correctly, the number of confirmed ACTIVE cases in both Benton County and Washington county is roughly 15% of the total number of confirmed active cases in Arkansas. Since still so very little is known, since the obvious is true (different people react in very different ways), and since people are still dying from COVID-19, the best way to be a blessing to our community is to try to avoid catching the coronavirus and then spreading it further into the community. The single biggest concern at the local level is inundating our hospitals with severe cases of COVID.
Since our governor has made the request via guidelines for churches, as the pastor of Calvary Chapel here in Rogers, I am requesting that we follow those guidelines. I’m requesting that you and your family please comply with these things. I will once again add that we live in Arkansas, not California, New York, or Maine. Our governor is working hard to keep everything open. He is NOT telling us we cannot worship in song. If that were the case, this would be a drastically different update. If he were specifically banning churches from meeting while placing zero restrictions on businesses, etc, this would be a drastically different update. If our governor’s stipulations / mandates infringed upon our beliefs, this would be a drastically different update. He’s not. He has set forth guidelines that are intended to keep our community/communities safe, and I feel zero reason to not comply. Not only do I feel zero reason to not comply, I feel strongly that we SHOULD comply. I believe that the loving—and the biblical—thing to do would be to apply what we’ve been learning in Mark’s gospel: that we would pick up our cross. That we would die to self for the benefit of another, even if—and even WHEN—the demand is at great cost to self. That is ever the best representation of true love.
Again, specifically, while you’re here at Calvary Chapel, I’m personally asking you to wear a face covering. I’m asking you to do the best you can to attempt social distancing before, during, and after service. We have GOBS of hand-sanitizer available. Please use it. Please continue to wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and—obviously—stay home if you have anything for symptoms of this virus. Parents with children 10 and under, it’s entirely up to you whether or not your children in that age bracket need to wear a face-covering while here at CCO.
Let me also please remind you of what we’ve been saying all along:
- older? stay home and don’t feel bad about it. Enjoy our online streaming.
- health not great? stay home and don’t feel bad about it. Enjoy our streamed online services.
- not ready to be here in person? stay home and don’t feel bad about it. Watch our Sunday and Wednesday evening services online.
- someone in your household likely more susceptible to disease / illness? stay home and don’t feel bad about it. Tune in to CCO’s live services on Facebook, CCO’s app, and CCO’s website.
Back in May, just before we reopened after the initial lockdown, I wrote this:
I do want to mention one thing about all of this and it’s based on an assumption. My assumption is this: you’re probably not an expert on COVID-19. Which is to say, what, exactly? Since we’re collectively not experts—and since THE EXPERTS (the W.H.O., C.D.C.) can’t seem to agree, let’s allow HUMILITY to be our rule of conduct. As the pastor of this beautiful little fellowship, I will be sorely disappointed to see people upset about the “masks / no masks” argument. Maybe I can say it this way: in no uncertain terms, since the experts can’t seem to agree, the terms are uncertain. Since you’re not an expert (again, please humor me with my assumption) and since the experts aren’t clear, leave the discussion at the door…as in, the door of your home. I’ve had those conversations with people, too, but I do not want to see something like this be a dividing issue in our church family. Christi and I have a daughter with a compromised immune system so this issue really does hit home for us.
If you have[n’t] noticed, our world—our NATION—is not in tip-top shape right now. We have the answer, and His name is Jesus. The world needs HIM—it does NOT need a community of churches at odds with one another over a certain set of uncertain opinions. Let’s be about the business in which we’re certainly meant to be occupied: worshiping Him and declaring Him. That should keep us busy for the foreseeable future.
That’s still about right. We’ll revisit this conversation again after the first of the year unless there’s a good reason to get back to it sooner. In the meantime, seriously, thank you for your support, understanding and prayers. Please continue to pray for me personally, our entire leadership team here at CCO, Arkansas’ governor, Asa Hutchinson, as well as our mayor here in Rogers, Greg Hines. We need it. I very much understand that all of these decisions are squarely in the “lose-lose” category. I trust you’ll continue to show grace, mercy, and understanding during this terrible season. And I trust we’ll be the stronger for it. I trust our faith in God will have grown through this and because of this. Let’s look to Him, and let’s love one another. Thanks for complying; thanks for understanding.
Please also scroll down and check out the video connected to this update. If you consider yourself a member of our fellowship here in Rogers, please take a few minutes and view it. Thanks again!
Tons of blessing,