My Dear Brothers,
I thank God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3
Today we were told by California Governor Newsom that churches in 31 California Counties (this includes all California Pacific Southwest District counties other than Mono and Inyo) need to stop INDOOR in-person worship immediately. Churches that are currently doing OUTDOOR worship can continue to do so. Please note that the Governor did not just single out houses of worship in this order. As of this writing we have not heard if Arizona and Nevada will follow suit.
Here are some links to this information:
State of California COVID-19 information: County Variance Info
AP News: California shuts bars, indoor dining and most gyms, churches
The position of the PSD remains as it has throughout the COVID-19 crisis: Please follow the requirements of your local authorities and pray for God to heal our communities, nation, and world.
This still is not an Acts 5:29 thing: "We must obey God rather than man."
This remains a Romans 13:1-4 thing:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God's servant for your good.
This remains a Philippians 2 thing:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
The concerns of the weakest among us are so very critical in this moment - even when we, and everyone around us, are feeling just fine. Pastors, please share your struggle about what to do next with your congregation. Be transparent and seek God together. Your congregation loves you and will follow you.
Again, my heart hurts with all of you as we continue to face these difficult COVID-19 realities. Please be confident that we in the Pacific Southwest District stand with you and are here to assist you in any way we can.
Your Brother In Christ,
Rev. Dr. Mike Gibson