Covid 19  Response

Dear Hope Fellowship Church, 
Responding to the Virus 
This letter is to explain the path forward for our church in wake of the Coronavirus. As of March 17, 2020, the government has recommended that all gatherings of more than ten people be cancelled. Therefore, we will not hold our normal Sunday morning services and ABF hour until the government changes its recommendation to us. We will have a small team of volunteers present at the church for people who may wander in looking for ministry, prayer, or other help. If you have questions about this last point, contact elder Kerry Hughes. 
There are two biblical reasons for suspending normal services. First, we are to obey the government authorities except when they tell us to violate God’s law (Romans 13:1-7). Second, we are called to obey the commandment “love thy neighbor” (Mark 12:31). A great number of medical experts, including Christian microbiologists and virologists, have explained the potential grave consequences of not following the recommendations. Out of respect for God’s commandments we must not hold normal Sunday services for this season. 
This is heartbreaking for me to share. I know of no other time in the history of the church that church meetings have been closed for as long as eight weeks in a row. I pray that the time we spend apart will make us long to see one another again. 
A Change of Perspective 
Humanly speaking, this is a scary and disorienting situation. Yet we will approach this unprecedented situation with confidence as sons and daughters of God who live under the sovereign rule of our great king, Jesus Christ. We can live with faith, not fear. The Christian church has always grown in times of distress, especially during various plagues that have shown up throughout history. As we live out our identity in Christ, we can spread our hope that death will not have the final victory. We pray that God may work through this tragedy to bring many people to himself! 
Our Current Plan 
First, we will create a full-orbed Sunday morning service that you can watch from a screen in your house. If advisable, perhaps you would want to gather with another family or two to watch together – please pay attention to the latest recommendations from the Center for Disease Control. 
Second, we are planning on a series of web-based outreaches aimed at reaching a broad audience. If you are on Facebook or social media, we would encourage you to share these. The first should go out on Monday, March 23. If you’re not on social media, you can point people to our website or APP where people can experience encouraging content and encounter God’s Word. 
200 Lake Road | Lake Jackson | Texas 77566-4981 | | 979-297-8356 
Making a Difference Third, we are planning ways of caring for those who are affected by this virus. Some people will face financial strain – our Trustees are finding extra ways for us to provide for people who lose work or can’t pay bills. Some people may even get this virus and need meals or other pastoral care. We are preparing so we can provide for people. We will walk the fine line between necessary precaution and demonstrating faith to care for those who are most at risk, hurt or ill. 
Most of all, if indeed some people in our community are brought to the point of death by this virus, we will deliver them the Gospel. 
Next Steps 
It is especially important for us to stay in contact to one another and also to information from the church. Get our app, check the website, and look out for emails we may send you at this time. Download the APP by going to the APP store on your smartphone and search for Hope Fellowship. We’ll be the third option on the list and you’ll see our logo next to the download. 
I strongly encourage people to pursue community in this time. Thankfully we live in the information era. If it becomes unsafe to meet in small groups, please spend time with one another on the phone, in small groups virtually, or some other way. The church staff can provide additional guidance on how to set this up. 
Finally, I know that many of us only contribute to the church financially on Sunday morning. I would ask you to continue your normal giving throughout this period if possible. We desire to help those within our church and community who come into financial difficulty and sustain the livelihood of our staff people. You can give online or through the APP. We thank you in advance for your incredible commitment to us. 
Please pray for the world and nation. Our staff and leadership are praying daily for you. As we face a constantly changing future, we rest upon a never-changing God. May you know his peace in this time. 
In Christ, Pastor Brian on behalf of the elders 
PS: God is always good, and he is in control!