The Coronavirus Disease 2019 has come to New York City. While the news isn’t surprising, it is sobering. Facing the unknown is always a challenge, and with this virus, there are a lot of unknowns. As we wrestle with this news and its implications, we also want to meditate on what we do know as Christians.
- We know that God is good. “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14)
Because God is good, we can have courage, instead of fear, even in the face of the unknown.
- We know that God is sovereign. “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)
Because God is sovereign, we can experience peace, instead of anxiety, believing that there is nothing outside of His control.
- We know that God heals. “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14)
Because God is the ultimate healer, we can experience hope when we turn to Him in prayer.
How are we responding?
Trinity Baptist Church has been providing spiritual guidance in this city for over 152 years. This church has supported our community through the Polio outbreak, The Great Depression, September 11th, and hundreds of other crises both big and small. We will continue to support our city in its time of need.
We encourage each person at Trinity to respond by: Praying, Caring, Loving, and Being Wise.
Pray – Prayer is our first, middle, and last resort. Please enter into an intentional season of prayer with us. We will release a weekly prayer guide for the next 3 weeks to help encourage and focus our prayers as a community during this season.
Care – It is incredibly important that we keep our church family as healthy and safe as possible, but that isn’t our only goal. We want to continue to provide spiritual leadership in our city, supporting our friends, coworkers, and neighbors in this anxiety-inducing time. Over the next week you will hear more about how we plan to take action and actively care for our community. Stay tuned!
Love – Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is far more challenging than it sounds. Under times of stress and challenge we often fail to love others, and we give in to anger or fear. As the Church, we have an opportunity to show people a radical love that unites instead of divides. That means not giving in to a prejudice that treats people or places like they are carrying the virus simply because of their ethnicity or nationality. Let’s be motivated by love and not driven by fear.
Be Wise – As we have been learning in our latest series, God calls us to be wise as we are navigating life. There are a number of ways that we can choose to be wise as we go about the next couple of months. Here are some practical steps we are taking to ensure that we are providing a healthy space to come and worship:
- Cleaning – We have switched over to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) approved cleaning agents and will follow the CDC’s and NYC’s guidance on cleaning public spaces. This includes sanitizing the children’s classrooms and toys on an even more frequent basis. In addition to this, we are providing hand sanitizers throughout our facility and encouraging their use.
- Communion – We will be using individually packaged communion elements. All other aspects of communion will remain the same.
- Meet and Greet – We will encourage you to say hello to each other instead of shaking hands.
- Coffee Hour – Instead of our typical fare, we will serve coffee and individually wrapped bars as a light snack while you catch up with friends and meet new guests.
- For everyone’s safety, please wash your hands often and please stay home if you are sick.
This will be a challenging time for each of us, and a challenging time for our city. But even when facing the unknown, we are reminded and encouraged by what we do know: Our God is good, He is sovereign, and our lives are in His hands.
Take courage, be wise, and tell others of the Hope that is in you.
Brian, Dave, Fred, Tim, and Ross
Are we still holding services on Sunday?
Absolutely. There is no reason to change our gathering together at this time.
Under what circumstances would we cancel our Sunday morning worship?
If the government directs us to cancel, OR if we become aware that a contagious individual was recently in our facility and we did not have adequate time to do a detailed and thorough cleaning before our Sunday service, we would cancel our physical service. But we would ask that people join us for a message online.
Who will make these decisions?
The Elders will make the final decision about canceling a Sunday morning service in consultation with other church leaders and our civic leaders’ guidance.
How will we communicate with everyone in the event we cancel a service?
We will use all forms of communication that we have, including our website, email, social media, and a physical posting on the doors of the church.
Would there still be a service online?
Yes, you can still participate on Sunday by viewing the service live on our YouTube channel at 9:30am or by watching the recording afterwards. More information will be given on how you can access our online service in the event of a cancellation.
Who else uses our facility and how are we communicating with them?
Multiple groups use our facility throughout the week, including Trinity ministry groups, other groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Young Life, as well as other churches who hold services on Saturday and Sunday. We are contacting each group to establish safety protocols and to set an expectation of immediate communication if someone in our facility is found to be contagious from any group.
If such an instance does occur, we will take all precautions and follow the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning and sanitizing our facility.
Where can I go to find out more information about the Coronavirus?
You can learn more from the CDC website. If you start to feel ill but are not sure where to go or how to get there, call the NYC Helpline by dialing 311 and they will assist you with your needs. You can also go to the NY State coronavirus website or call their hotline: 1-888-364-3065 for more information.
If you have any questions about Trinity’s policies or handling of this crisis, please email: main@TrinityNY.org and let us know how we may assist you.