In light of the recent cancelations of schools, sporting events, and large gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Metanoia’s Leadership Council believes it both wise and necessary to cancel our public Worship Gathering and all activities from Sunday, March 15 through Sunday, March 29. We believe this decision to be the best for the common good of the Metanoia Church community, the Roger Carter Community Center (RCCC), and other communities where we live, work, and play. Additionally, RCCC informed us this morning that all Howard County recreational facilities will remain closed through Sunday, March 29.
Making this decision was difficult as we seek to honor the Lord by gathering regularly for corporate worship on the Lord’s Day. However, churches in the past have made similar decisions for the common good of society. For example, see this article on 9Marks about what DC area churches did during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic: CLICK HERE.
As I mentioned last Sunday, as believers in Christ, we must not be surprised when plague or pestilence afflict our world. These—along with famine, war, and disaster—are painful reminders of the penalty of our sin. For the Christian, these also remind us to place our hope in the promise of freedom and resurrection in Christ! Thus, we must not respond out of fear or panic, but rather out of faith and prayer. COVID-19 did not take our God by surprise, and we can trust him in all things
This is also a unique time to serve your neighbors and to be a Christian witness in your workplace. With all the closures and with the economy struggling, we have a unique opportunity to serve others at great expense to our own comfort and security. Please keep an eye out on neighbors who are struggling financially or who need assistance during this time. As you purchase extra food to prepare your own home for possible shortages, etc, please keep your neighbors in mind as well. Keep an ear open at work when coworkers express fear or despair and offer to pray for and with them. Be prepared to share the Gospel hope daily. This is a wonderful opportunity to be the hands, feet, and mouthpiece of Jesus Christ to a world full of non-believers who have no hope beyond the grave!
What follows below are details about the cancelations and our plans for virtual Worship Gatherings and Community Group meetings, as well as a few FAQs. Please keep an eye on our website as it will be updated periodically. Thank you for your patience and flexibility. Please continue to be in prayer for one another.
On behalf of the Leadership Council,
Adam Feldman, Lead Pastor
Leadership Council: Elders (Adam, Jesse, Daniel, and Tom), Deacons (Kim and Mary), Ministry Team Leaders (John, Patty, and Jennifer), Treasurer (Kyle), and Clerk (Jocelyn)
Details about cancelations (March 15-29)
Below are more specific details regarding our cancelations:
- Men’s Ministry will still meet Saturday, March 14, 7:30am at Bakery Express.
- Worship Gatherings, Kids CAMP, and Sunday School are canceled for Sundays, March 15, March 22, and March 29. We will live stream music (with Pastor Jesse Florida) and sermon (with Pastor Adam Feldman) beginning at 10:30am for both Sundays. Our YouTube page is: https://www.youtube.com/user/MetanoiaEC. Please subscribe to the page and turn on notifications.
- All public meetings of Community Groups are canceled Sunday, March 15 – Sunday, March 29. Please consider a virtual option so that your CG can still meet via video conference at the same time and day that you usually meet. Google Hangouts is a simple and easy to use option. CG Discussion Guides will still be provided on a weekly basis.
- Partnership Conference is canceled for Saturday, March 28. If you already paid a registration fee, please contact Pastor Adam to request a refund.
- 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting will continue as planned through Saturday, March 27.
What about future cancelations?
Our plan right now is to make decisions in 2-week increments. We will do our best to inform the church about schedule changes and cancelations as we monitor this ever-evolving situation. Thank you for your patience and flexibility.
Will the Partnership Conference be rescheduled?
At this time, it is difficult to determine when and if we will reschedule the Partnership Conference. We are considering a video option for prayer during the time when the Conference would have been held. If we do move forward with this, Partners will be notified with details in the coming days.
How do we stay in touch? And, will programming be provided for children and youth?
- As mentioned above, tune in to the Sunday morning live stream Worship Gatherings (10:30am) and consider meeting weekly over video conference calls as a CGs.
- Daniel and Jennifer Bunn are investigating ways to help our children and youth to stay in touch and to continue being trained in the faith. Details will be forthcoming via email and possibly on the website as well. Children and youth are encouraged to worship with the entire family on Sunday mornings during the livestream.
- Additional live-streaming of evening Bible studies, discussions about faith, and the like are currently being considered.
- Consider calling and emailing to check in with and have conversations with not only the people in your CG, but also with others in the church to nurture broader community care.
How can I continue giving my tithe/offering while gatherings are canceled?
Even though we will not be meeting weekly, Metanoia will still incur weekly operational costs. You can continue giving your tithe/offering via postal mail (Metanoia Church, PO Box 298, Ellicott City, MD 21041), or via the online donation page on our website. At this time, we recommend the online giving option since there may be a delay in cashing checks. That said, please remember that PayPal takes a surcharge of all online contributions, so once we resume gatherings, please consider transitioning back to cash and check contributions so that your full donation is received.
You can still give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering HERE.
What do I do to avoid “cabin fever?”
Before you turn on Netflix to binge watch that next show, consider this as a unique opportunity to grow in your faith!
Consider reading more deeply the Word of God! Metanoia has reading plans HERE.
Consider reading good literature about the Christian faith.
- Some of my (Adam) recent favorite reads include: On Reading Well (Karen Swallow Prior), Answering God (Eugene Peterson), Living Life Backward (David Gibson), and The Good and Beautiful God (James Bryan Smith).
- Some of my perennial favorites include: The Pursuit of God (A. W. Tozer), Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster), The Way of the Heart (Henri Nouwen), The Prodigal God (Timothy Keller), and Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan).
What do I do if I or a family member gets sick?
The first course of action is to follow the local government policies and procedures via their websites. If you are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, please contact your CG leader or an Elder so that the church can be praying for you and, if possible, provide meals.