Letter to the Church

Dear Covenant Presbyterian Family,

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now  (Philippians 1:3-5).

I trust you are persevering under these rather stressful times. Please know that you remain on the hearts and in the prayers of the Session and Deacons. Our continuing desire is that we may minister to you in these challenging days. Most of all we desire for you to know the comfort of our risen and present Lord.

So much has changed and new information made available since the session and deacons first began talking about how to respond to COVID-19. When we made the decision to cancel Lord’s Day services on March 15 we were hard pressed to imagine having to do so for more than just a few weeks. But things have changed since then.

Allow me, then to update you on several matters.

Lord’s Day Services

As many of you know the Governor of Virginia has issued a stay in place order through June 10th. We are praying earnestly that circumstances will change to the degree that the order will be lifted prior to June. However, our plan is to honor the stay in place order by canceling our Lord’s Day services until the order is lifted. Allow me to explain why the Session believes this course of action is warranted. There are two primary reasons:

  1. We are obliged to honor the 6th Commandment. The Westminster Shorter Catechism question 68 asks, “What is required in the sixth commandment?” It answers, “The sixth commandment requires all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.” We believe that honoring the stay in place order is a way for us to honor God’s moral law which requires that we actively guard one another’s lives.
  2. We are obliged to obey the civil authorities. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul (Romans 13) command obedience to the civil authorities. The stay at home order is not persecution. It does not yet require us to disobey God. Therefore, we are obligated to honor that order.

Day of Prayer and Fasting

Thursday April 9th is Maundy Thursday. It is the day that commemorates the Lord’s Last Supper with his disciples. Traditionally, we have gathered together on the evening of Maundy Thursday to receive the Lord’s Supper together. Sadly, we will not be able to have such a service this year. In the Lord’s providence, this is a year for fasting rather than feasting. In light of that fact, we are encouraging the members of Covenant Presbyterian Church to consider fasting on Thursday April 9th and breaking that fast at dinner time when we typically would be gathering for our Maundy Thursday service. Keep in mind that the purpose of fasting is to use the time we would otherwise eat to spend in prayer and God’s Word. Throughout the day, the pangs of hunger are to remind us of our need for God and prompt us to pray.

Midweek Connection

In an effort to connect with you in these days of isolation and in order to provide you with encouragement we will begin posting videos each Wednesday. The videos will be brief meditations from Scripture. Along with the daily devotions we are posting I hope you will find help in these unusually challenging days.

Serving You

For many, the current crisis will be a major inconvenience. But for many others the consequences will be more serious. Please know that it is the desire of the Session and the Deacons to serve in any way that we are able. Should your needs be spiritual, financial, or for some other form of support please reach out to us (by phone, email, or web – https://cov-pres.org/covid-19-assistance/). You are dear to us and we desire to help you in any we can.

Thank You

You have been so kind to send many words of encouragement to the pastors, staff, and leadership. We are also grateful for your support of our church through your continued giving of tithes and offerings. You can imagine I am sure the challenge this current crisis presents to the church’s financial commitments. To the extent that you are able we ask that you continue to give tithes and offerings.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Todd