14 Mar Coronavirus Update
I wanted to update all of you on our plan moving forward into this uncharted territory. I first want to affirm that we are made for this! We are the light of the world and we have the God of the universe as our Father and Leader. This is not an obstacle but rather an opportunity to see God work in powerful ways both in and through us. That is why this is not a time for panic, but purpose. Let’s walk faithfully in the purpose God has for us. God has pulled the rug of self–sufficiency out from under our culture and people will be open to the Gospel now more than ever as they realize they really have no control over their lives. May we be bold to share the true hope of the world, Jesus Christ.
I was thinking this morning about John 17:27 where Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” What a promise! What an opportunity we have as the people of God to display the peace that only comes from Jesus. Our peace doesn’t come from our 401k, job security, or even our bodily health. It is a supernatural peace from Jesus. May the world see this in us and believe in Him!
There have been many times in church history when God’s people found themselves in the midst of a plague or great sickness around them. An example of a time like this was noted by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History when he said that as the heathen fled the plague, “most of our brother-Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty in caring for and frequently dying with the victims.” May this be the story of Citylight as well!
Practically, there are many steps for us to take, both to care for our congregation and to serve our community. For all updates and plans please regularly check www.wearecitylight.org/updates This is also a great time to make sure you follow along on our social media on Instagram @wearecitylight and on Facebook @wearecitylightchurch as both always stay updated.
All in person gatherings that we had planned until Easter are cancelled or moved to a virtual environment.
This includes Sunday services, the Tuesday and Wednesday prayer nights at the new space, our Saturday plans for the three weeks prior to Easter, and any other gathering. More information on how this applies to lighthouses is below. The two questions we want to clarify action steps for are: In light of the present circumstances how will Citylight structure church activities and how will Citylight serve our community?
How will Citylight structure church activities in light of the present circumstances?
- We will live stream our Sunday morning services on Youtube for at least the next 4 weeks, until we (prayerfully) launch in the new space on Easter. The service will start at 10am and will include worship through song and the preaching of the Word. We will continue through Luke as we talk about the priorities of Jesus and also will be viewing our present circumstances through a biblical perspective. I ask that you prioritize this just as you would when we have service as normal. We still need to gather together under God’s word. We still need to stay on the same page, biblically and practically. Through technology we have the opportunity to do this so make it a priority and we won’t miss a beat as a congregation. There will also be a family worship guide on the updates page so please use that to help lead your family to worship God in your home.
- We will live stream Thursday night prayer meetings on Youtube from 7-8pm for at least the next 4 weeks. As I will explain below, there is much work ahead as we serve our community, but it all starts with prayer. Prayer is our first response, not the last resort. Our core value #2 is that we are dependent on prayer. We need supernatural wisdom and supernatural help in this time. We need the Lord to move, to heal, to save, to lead, and guide us. We ask that you prioritize this and join us in prayer for our community and the world.
- We will post a daily devotional on the resources page of our website beginning on Monday, March 16th, and will also link it on our social media, to help all of us stay spiritually minded and on the same page. Take a few minutes of each day to read and pray through this s owe can stay unified and equipped as a church. Share the devotional with the others near and far from the Lord who may need encouragementduring this time.
- Lighthouses are encouraged to keep meeting regularly but to do so virtually. We need each other more than ever so prioritize this time as you normally would. If a need arises to meet in person please exercise all necessary precautions when doing so.
How will Citylight serve our community in light of the present circumstances?
As we have said so often, Sundays are a launching pad not a landing place. We are built for this! Isaiah 61:1-4 has been the foundational text for our church. Let’s bring good news and bind up broken hearts in this time so that God will turn ashes to beauty, mourning to joy, and heaviness to praise. We have planned out some ways to serve, but it can change based on what needs arise as the situation changes so rapidly, so please stay tuned in with our communication lines and check our updates page often.
There are so many people to serve and we will do the best we can to help as many as possible. Right now our priorities are families in need in our local schools, first responders, and the elderly. In regards to schools, there is a great need to provide food for children who normally get fed two meals a day and will no longer have that resource. We want to bless first responders since they are putting in a ton of work right now. The older adults are at highest risk for the coronavirus so we want to prioritize helping them in any way we can. We also will focus on a 2 mile radius around our church in regards to meeting needs. Here is how this will look:
- You can sign up for items to purchase for deliveries to individuals and families in need on the SignUpGenius link on the updates page of our website. Individuals can drop off supplies at our new church space (2929 Graham Road, Falls Church VA 22042). There are two ways to drop off
- The new building will be open for drop offs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6-8pm for at least the next four weeks. We will have a freezer so you can bring frozen foods and perishable items. This drop off is mainly to receive perishable or frozen items so we can store quickly and deliver soon after.
- A white enclosed trailer will be available for drop offs at any time in the back parking lot at the new building beginning on Monday, March 16th. You can open it and donate any nonperishable or household items at any time.
- We have asked four of the local schools near to us (Falls Church High School, Graham Road Elementary, Timberlane Elementary, and Pine Spring Elementary) to each give us 20 families they think would be most in need right now so we can deliver items to their houses. We already have a working list and will deliver items through our Lighthouses. If you would like to be involved in that and are not currently in a lighthouse, please check our lighthouse page and contact one of our leaders who lives near you.
We want to find out about needs in our congregation and in our community. You can call us at 703-831-7569 to request help. This is a number you can recommend to anyone you meet or know that also may have need. We have a servant leader ready to navigate these calls and get needs met. Alternatively, there will also be a reference form at www.wearecitylight.org/updates if you need help yourself or know someone who does, you can fill out that form and we will get back to you. We want to make sure we are aware of the needs in our congregation so please let us know. We also know many of you are in helping professions in our community, so if you meet someone in need because of the present circumstances please let us know. We will do the best we can to help.
- There is also a sign up genius link with opportunities to serve first responders that you can find on the updates page on our website. Please remember to pray for them and bless them in any way you can!
- We have contacted the county representative for services to older adults and will have next steps shortly. For now, please use the reference form or number to reach out if you personally need help or know someone. We would be happy to go get groceries for you or serve in any way that is helpful.
Let’s make the most of this time. Let’s really grow closer to the Lord and make a difference in the world around us!