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EBIC response COVID-19 | Mar 18, 2020 3 pm

Dear Church Family,

These updates are becoming something of a habit! I'm happy to be able to keep you informed of what we as a church are doing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in our practice of "social distancing" as an act of love for those who are vulnerable to illness, we want to be creative and intentional about staying connected to one another.

News and recommendations continue to come our way from public health officials and the federal and state governments. At this point, local school districts will remain closed at least this week and next, and the governor is requesting that non-essential businesses also stay closed through the end of March. In light of these realities, our staff has made the following decisions:

  • All onsite events are cancelled through Saturday, April 4. Multifamily groups of more than 10 people, whether groups from the church or from outside, are asked to delay meeting or to find ways to connect other than gathering in our church building. The one exception to this request are our music and tech teams that will be facilitating Sunday morning worship.
  • While there will not be onsite services, our worship services on March 22 and 29 will be livestreamed as last Sunday's service was. We will broadcast live at 8:30am, and the recording will be available afterward-—visit etownbic.org/live and click on the link to take you to our livestream YouTube channel.
  • Effective Wednesday, March 18, our office is closed. Staff will continue to work remotely and will be available by email and mobile phone to respond to questions, concerns, and needs.
  • As long as we are unable to meet in person, we as EBIC staff are committed to providing resources and support in every way possible to keep on making disciples and caring for the hurting. Be looking for additional online resources through email and social media. At times, we are tempted to focus only on the downsides of being a wired society, but in these days, we are blessed to be able to leverage digital technology to help us be the church!

We hope to be able to gather again for worship on Palm Sunday (April 5), but we will continue to monitor the course of the infection and will adjust our plans as needed.

In the meantime, in both online and offline ways, I encourage us to keep "branching out" in caring ways: make phone calls, send texts and emails, write notes, check in on higher-risk neighbors and family, and offer to share resources (soap, sanitizer, toilet paper, food) from your abundance.

Do you have a need OR are you willing to help with a need? We would like to help if we can! We've created a form on our website to complete, as that helps us to monitor all requests. If you don't have Internet access, please call the church office (717.367.2651) and leave a message. Someone will be monitoring that line periodically and we will plan to follow up on all calls. As a church, we have the privilege of connecting those in need with those who are willing to help, and we are eager to do so. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need (2 Corinthians 8:14a).

One last item...perhaps you've wondered about our financial situation, as your generous weekly tithes and offerings are not able to be received in our weekly services. We have a few solutions for those of you who regularly support our ministries:

  • Mail your offering to the church
  • Ready for online giving? We've JUST gotten it up and running! Please visit etownbic.org/give and use either your checking account or credit card using our secure partner link
  • (COMING SOON!) We're working to install a drive-up DROP BOX for you to deposit your giving envelopes. Stay tuned for details on the location of this box.

As always, THANK YOU for your generous support of God's work here at EBIC.

These are challenging times, but there is also great potential for God to make this a defining moment for our good as we trust him and love each other.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Adam Forry

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