March 19, 2020
Dear Church Family,
The last seven days have been unlike any we have ever seen. The nations of the world are workingcontinuously to stop the spread of COVID-19 and return things to normal as soon as possible. Everypassing day has brought about new restrictive measures for necessary social distancing. Schools aremoving online, businesses are re-thinking everything, group activities have all but ceased & churches areresponding in unprecedented ways. We know this: our God is neither surprised nor shaken by thesedevelopments and he says…“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I willstrengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
In times like these, we must not isolate ourselves from God or from one another. While we are supportiveof, and willingly submissive to, our governing authorities’ instruction to socially distance from oneanother to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must not relationally isolate. We are blessed with incredibletechnological tools that allow us to talk, text, video chat & message one another at any time. And, in thecoming days, Salem Church will be utilizing all of it to bring us together to worship God & to serve others.
To that end, the elders and I have made the following decisions:
All Weekly Gatherings will be Online through April of 2020: Join us each Sunday at www.SalemChurchNYC.org or FaceBook LIVE from home at 9am or 10:45am. Sing along with theworship team, give an offering and listen to a message from one of our pastors. Also, SalemKIDS &SalemSTUDENTS will be consistently providing online content that you can use at home tofacilitate your family worship time. If you haven’t already, you should join a small group(salemchurchnyc.org/connect/small-groups) to avoid relational isolation as you socially distance.
All Special Events will be Online through April of 2020:
- Night of Worship & Prayer: Wednesday, March 25th from 7:30-8:30pm, I will be leadingus in an online night of worship and prayer. You can join us on our website or on FaceBooklive for this special night of prayer for our city, nation & world.
- Easter Weekend (April 10-12, 2020):
▪ Good Friday Gathering: Online Worship, Prayer & Communion starting at 7:30pm.
▪ Easter Gatherings: Online Worship & Celebration are starting at 5pm Saturday,9am Sunday, 10:45am Sunday & 12:30pm Sunday.
- Known Women’s Conference: On April 25th, this special event will be moved online. Thegood news is that there is no longer a limit to the number of women who can attend. Moreinformation will be published about this in the coming weeks.
Our Love for God and Love for Our Neighbor Guides Our Behavior: It is imperative that welove our elderly and chronically ill neighbors by doing all we can to prevent the spread of thisdeadly virus. This means that we must socially distance, thoroughly wash our hands often, coverour mouths when we cough/sneeze/sniffle & avoid the type of touching that can transmit thisdisease to those most vulnerable. Visit www.CDC.gov for more information.
We have opened a new email address during this time: Prayer@SalemChurchNYC.org. If you should needprayer, support or encouragement, please send us an email at this address. It will be monitored everyday& responded to in a timely fashion. Do not hesitate to use this address for any needs you have!
All to Jesus,
Pastor John Welborn
March 12, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Like many of you, Ashley and I have been watching the events of the last few weeks with prayerful concern over the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Now, in our own city, many people are fearful and anxious about this pandemic. While the situation here is very serious, and requires a careful response, we do not fear. We followers of Jesus are people of deep peace, strong faith and complete trust in God!
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power & love & self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
We can take courage in the fact that God has given us many good gifts on which we can rely in moments of uncertainty and danger. First of all, we have the presence of God in the midst of our trials as he promises, “… never to leave us or forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5) Secondly, he has given us each other so we can, “…bear one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2). Also, we are blessed with a government that has been “…instituted by God…” (Romans 13:1) to order our society for greater health and prosperity.
The Salem Church leadership team has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 across our city. We have been seriously considering all recommendations from the international (WHO), National (CDC) and Local Health organizations. Based on these recommendations, we are making the following decisions:
All On-Campus Worship Gatherings at both Clove Lakes & Bay Campus will be canceled this Sunday, March 15. Instead, we encourage you and your family to join us online at www.SalemChurchNYC.org from home. You will be able to sing along, give an offering and enjoy the next message in our Lifeline series from the Gospel of Luke. We will keep you informed about the status of future on-campus Sunday gatherings, as we know more.
All Other In-Person Gatherings for both Clove Lakes & Bay Campus will be canceled until further notice. Effective immediately, we will not be having any in-person small groups, affinity groups, specialty groups, Upward basketball or SalemSTUDENTS gatherings. Ministry leaders will be in touch with you offering online opportunities as they become available. We will keep you informed of our plans to resume these ministries as soon as possible.
Our Love for God and Love for Our Neighbor Guides Our Behavior: The COVID-19 virus has been extremely dangerous to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. It is imperative that we love our elderly and chronically ill neighbors by doing all we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. This means that we must stay home when symptomatic, thoroughly wash our hands often, cover our mouths when we cough/sneeze/sniffle & avoid the type of touching that can transmit this disease to those most vulnerable. Visit www.CDC.gov for more.
At this time, we have no knowledge of anyone associated with Salem Church being diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. The above decisions have been made out of abundance of caution and in partnership with our governing authorities. I deeply love my faith family at Salem Church, my community on Staten Island as well as my City here in New York. Please join me in fervent prayer to our God who is mighty to save. Pray that, through this crisis, many in our city would turn to Jesus for life abundant and free!
All to Jesus,
Pastor John Welborn