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March 13th Update

March 13, 2020

Dear Clay Community Church,

Like many of you, the Strategic Leadership Team has been watching over the past few weeks as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread and developed into a global pandemic. The situation has been changing quickly over the past few days, and as of this afternoon, President Trump has declared us as being under a National Emergency.

While thinking and praying about how to best shepherd and protect our church family, we have been particularly mindful of the data and guidance that continues to be offered by the Centers for Disease Control and the NYS Department of Health.

With this in mind the SLT, in cooperation with our Trustee President, has made the very difficult decision to suspend the regular gatherings of CCC for the week of Sunday, March 15th.

This suspension includes our Sunday Service, as well as our Community Groups and all other gatherings. While we will not be coming together as a body this week, the first message in our new series on the Apostles’ Creed will be made available online Sunday morning at https://www.claycommunity.org/sermons.

Additionally, our weekly visitation ministry to those in area nursing homes has been paused. This is due to an order by Governor Cuomo yesterday which has closed these facilities to non-medical personnel.

With any decisions like these, there are differences of opinion on how leaders and communities should respond. However, the health community has confirmed that those over 60 or with suppressed immune systems are at greater risk of life-threatening illness. In light of the demographics of our church family, we are compelled to take these actions out of an abundance of caution and a deep desire to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:39).

Though you may not be sick, avoiding groups and large gatherings (and thus avoiding the potential transmission of the virus) is a means of loving your neighbor who may face a greater risk. We love our at-risk neighbors by treating any danger they face as though it is a direct danger to us all.

It is appropriate for us to be cautious in the midst of this situation, however we would certainly encourage you to not be anxious, but instead to pray (Phil. 4:6-7). God is sovereign over all things, including our very lives and breath (Acts 17:25). May we, as a people, be sober-minded and set our hope fully on His grace (1 Pet. 1:13)!

At this time, we haven’t made any decisions beyond this coming week, but we will be monitoring the situation closely, and will send out additional updates as we have it. In the meantime, if you have specific needs — spiritual, medical, or otherwise — please be sure to let us know, so that we can work to ensure those needs are met.

We love you all, and look forward to being able to gather to worship again in the near future.

In Christ,

Brandon, Chris, Len, and Pat