Lamar Avenue Family:
As we enter our 3rd week of “church isolation” we (your elders) wanted to communicate a few things to you. First and foremost, as we know this time can be very stressful, we must maintain our faith that God is in control! You are not alone! He is always with you and we, as your shepherds, are with you as well. In times like this, we must lean on our faith, prioritize our family (including our church family), and remember what matters most.
Many see this as a dark time for the church, but we see it differently. If there was ever a time for the church to be called into action this is it! This is where we must be encouraging one another, caring for one another, and praying for one another like never before. This is when we need to be praising our Lord and God, and giving thanks for life, for family, for His church, and for the hope that we all have in Him that is so much greater than the darkness and pessimism that surrounds us right now. Be assured that your elders are praying for you daily. We are calling people and doing everything we can to be assured everyone is checked on and anyone with a need is attended to. As Randy has said, this is a time for our Life Groups to shine. Hopefully, someone from your group has already called to check on you, and if you do need anything that is the best place to start. While we may not be able to visit our members who are in the hospital, nursing home, or homebound, we can all still call to check on them and maybe even send them a note of encouragement. And of course, all of us can continue to pray for one another!
Although our initial communication stated we would cancel all meetings until March 29, we now find it necessary to suspend all gatherings indefinitely. We are watching the pandemic closely along with all the recommendations of the CDC and our federal, state, and local governments. We have elders that are closely linked to the medical community who are able to keep us informed of trends and ongoing recommendations. We are hopeful that it will not be long before it is safe for us to meet together again, but we will continue to communicate with you regularly and let you know as soon as that can happen.
We encourage you to continue to spend time in worship and devotion. Randy is posting lessons to our Facebook page and our website (www.lacoc.org) a couple of times each week. Also, all members of our church have access to Right Now Media, an online site with thousands of videos related to the Christian faith and Bible study. You can access this through our website under the “Resources” tab. As for Sunday morning, we plan to have a post ready for you to access at 10:00 AM on our website and Facebook page, hopefully, to include opportunities for singing and communion in addition to Randy’s message (please have some grape juice and crackers ready so you can participate from home).
Our prayer for you at this time is the same as Paul’s prayer for the church in Thessalonica: "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17
We love you all with the love of the Lord!
Lamar Avenue Church Family,
We wanted to communicate regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and associated recommendations that have been announced recently. As you are aware, caution has been advised for gatherings of greater than 250 people. As your shepherds, we have been praying fervently and speaking with other church leaders as we try to determine what is best for Lamar Avenue. Unfortunately, the nature of the pandemic is such that we will not truly know the full impact until it is too late to take appropriate action so for now, we realize that we may be erring on the side of caution.
We believe it is time that we put Philippians 4:6 into practice: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” We first and foremost ask you to join us in praying this virus is controlled.
Friday evening, your shepherds met and have made the following decisions in the best interest for all our members and in keeping with what health experts have recommended:
We will continually monitor the local, regional, state and national health news and make any future decisions as necessary and communicate that to you.
Randy received a call to come to Ada, OK yesterday due to his father’s condition. We are aware of these churches who provide streaming services through their websites and encourage you to select from one of these, or others you may be familiar with, for you and your family to participate in a worship service tomorrow.
During this challenging time for our church, community and nation, the ‘work’ of the church will continue. In fact, as a service to our members who are among the highest risk of the virus, we would ask that you let the church office know if you need assistance in such ways as picking up your medicine, getting groceries or other needs. The office will be open Monday through Friday, (903) 785-0387.
At the same time, we encourage you to consider using the online portal to make your weekly contribution. Online Giving, which can be found on the church website http://lacoc.org/give/. If you prefer, you may mail your offering to the church office.
We encourage you to spend time in prayer regarding COVID-19. We have faith that God will lead us through this worldwide crisis as he always has in the past. As updates and additional decisions are made, your shepherds will provide more communication. It is our hope to lead from a place of careful wisdom and prayerful discernment, instead of fear and anxiety, and we encourage you to try your best to live from that same viewpoint. As the latter part of James 5:16 notes, “…the prayers of the righteous avails much.”
If you would like to be better informed about the Coronavirus, here is the Center for Disease Control’s website: www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
The Lamar Avenue Church of Christ Shepherds