Dear friends,

I realize that many people are frustrated by how long the lockdowns are being drawn out, not to mention the slow process of reopening. Then there are the ever-present suspicions that the coronavirus situation, though undoubtedly serious, has been overblown and used as a political tool by various interest groups in our country and in the world. Much of this—from the lockdowns, the reopening, and the political scene—we have little-to-no control over. And it does little good to speculate about matters about which we really can’t come to firm conclusions.

Last week I was excited by the President’s short message about immediately opening up churches. But the 9th circuit court stepped in quickly to stop that, and there have been more recent court decisions, even from the Supreme Court, indicating that the slow reopening is going to stand. Reopening will occur, Lord willing, but it will apparently involve some discomfort and awkwardness for us. The main thing to keep in mind is gratitude for the freedom to meet and obey Christ’s ordinances for public worship.

Here are some things we all should be doing now or very soon. We should be progressing in our relationship with God, advancing in holiness. A pastor recently wrote that “our personal holiness is God’s agenda for us.” That is excellent and helps us keep perspective in times of upheaval. We also should be seeking to edify people by pointing them to Christ. Use social media to advance God’s thoughts. We also can reach out to each other personally via phone calls and texts. And soon, Lord willing, Phase 2 will start for all of us, and once it does I encourage you to invite another family over to your home and show hospitality. You can gather in small groups such as this for our Wednesday night video conference, and you can gather on Sundays to watch the Sunday Sermon together. When you visit each other, enjoy one another’s presence and pray with each other as families! What a blessing that will be. Once Phase 3 starts, I plan to restart services.

The city recently told me that they will not open the Anacortes Senior Activity Center until Phase 4, a minimum of eight weeks from now; so I am currently pursuing other possible meeting places. Please be praying that I will find something for us. I will let you know once something looks promising. When we are ready to meet we will provide safety guidelines that we can follow to minimize the risk of getting sick. Keep an eye out for further pastoral emails. I plan to get back to “How to Have Joyful Devotions Always,” but there will also be updates about our ever-changing situation.

God bless you and keep you and cause his face to shine upon you,

Pastor Tom