Dear Church Family,
Sunday, we gathered as a church and it was unique and different and God showed up. We all left saying like David said, ‘I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord’. However, as a result of the ‘coronavirus’, we as a church are experiencing issues we would have never anticipated only a few short weeks ago. This morning some of our staff and leaders met to discuss what Riverside needs to do next. After prayerful consideration, together, we made the very difficult decision to not meet corporately for at least the next two Sundays. Our ‘Rise’ youth will also not be meeting for at least the next two Sundays.
We’ve all heard the most recent announcements and updates by our state’s governor and the federal government in regards to limiting the risks associated with what are being called large gatherings. Specific numbers are being used to define such gatherings, and yes, our Sunday morning worship services fall into this category.
Some will think that this is an over-reaction, others will be frightened that it’s not enough of a reaction and many are probably somewhere in the middle trying to make sense of this historic moment. But let me remind you: The Church is the people! The building is a building where the Church usually meets! For now, we're just going to do things a bit differently.
We are going to be doing our best to explore ways we as a church can be a blessing to our community during this time. We don't just want to “hide out” but we want to find safe and effective avenues to minister to others.
Our staff will continue to be available for you should you have a need. You can call the church (815-877-4444) but the Church Office hours will be abbreviated for the next few weeks. If you call after office hours or no one answers, please leave a message and we will do our best to respond ASAP. If you need to stop into the church, please call first to be sure someone is going to be here.
Now that we shared about what actions the church is taking, here are things that we want to encourage you to do during this time:
-Listen to our worship services online at our website. We will continue in our series ‘reMARKable’ during this time.
-Give as you are able and be obedient to God at this time. Giving options are available on our website www.rcclivelovelead.com. When going to the website, click on the ‘online giving’ button at the top of the home page and follow the instructions. You can also send your tithes and offerings through the mail. (The church address is listed at the bottom of this letter)
-Take the time to consider all the gifts that God has given you to enjoy. Express love boldly to your family and friends (there are many ways to reach out to them).
-Read the bible. It is no secret that the ‘coronavirus’ is raising questions, concerns, frustrations and perhaps even fears. But we want to remind you of a couple of scriptures:
Jeremiah 17:7-8 – But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
Joshua 1:5 – As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
II Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-control.
-Let’s not live in fear! Don’t believe everything you hear in the media and on social media. Instead, trust God during this chaotic time and remember, God promises to never leave us or forsake us.
-Again, I am going to ask you to pray! As a church, let’s pray big and loving prayers.
I’m asking you to pray for our nation’s leaders. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, a Liberal or a Conservative we need to pray for our nation’s leaders. Pray for grace and wisdom and courage as these men and women make some big decisions in the coming days.
Pray for those infected with this virus.
Pray that the infections will start to go down, and we can start to pull out of this crisis.
Pray for the most vulnerable in our community.
Pray for healthcare providers and all of those serving on the front lines. They are serving in ways that we will never fully know. Pray for their protection and health.
Pray for those doing the medical research in search for a vaccine.
Pray for one another. Let’s lift each other up in prayer.
Pray for our church. Pray for us as we look for different ways to be the church God has called Riverside to be.
March Madness is supposed to be about Basketball Tournaments but this year it is about a virus.
We want to express our deep appreciation to you for your understanding, patience and support during this unique season.
Bobby Sheets Cory Whitford Bill Coogan Li Radke
Website - www.rcclivelovelead.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/RCCLiveLoveLead/
Address – 6816 North Second St. Machesney Park, IL 61115
Phone – 815-877-4444