Dear Members and Friends of Living Word,
I am writing to provide you with an update on when Living Word will resume in-person worship and ministry.
Throughout this crisis, the safety of all of our members has been our primary concern and has guided the decisions we have made. Because of the nature of this virus and speed by which it has moved across the globe, we shifted all in-person worship and ministry related activities online. Thank you for the grace, flexibility and patience you have shown during this difficult period. Through this crisis, you have shown that the church is not bricks and mortar but a living, breathing expression of God’s love in this world. Though we have not met for 6 weeks, Living Word has more than doubled its reach in terms of spreading the gospel to people around our country and the world. Our online community has grown in ways no one could have imagined. We are bringing hope and love to people we have never met in-person and will probably never meet. Our building may be closed because of COVID-19, but the hope of Jesus Christ embodied by each of us shines brightly. We are grateful for the grace and compassion you have demonstrated. By heeding the stay-at-home mandate from state and local officials you have demonstrated love of self, but more importantly, love of neighbor.
Yesterday, we received Governor Abbott’s Governor's Report which establishes the “Minimum Standard Health Protocols” for COVID-19 and offers guidance to reopen parts of the Texas economy. The report, (attached above), also provides guidance for the reopening of faith communities. In addition to guidance from our state, we have also followed guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), our synod office and have been in ongoing conversation with other congregations within the Katy community. Based on all the information we have amassed; we believe that it is wise and prudent that we continue the suspension of all in-person worship and ministry through the month of May. We will continue to provide weekly updates.
When this crisis is over and we return, we will do so with a grateful heart. Grateful to be alive and grateful that we were spared by the grace of God. We will return to a new normal that appreciates the things we often take for granted. We will return celebrating the gift of each day and maximizing each moment to the glory of God. We will return knowing that life is fragile, but God walks with us even through our darkest hours. We will return to a new way of being a church, and to a new appreciation of the power of faith and community. We cannot wait for that day when we safely return to in-person worship. But until then, continue to be that living expression of Christ in the world. Continue to let your light shine so that others will see your good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Continue to connect virtually to all the resources available on our website www.livingwordkaty.org/events and continue to support God’s work through the ministries of Living Word.
In closing, let us reflect on the words of the apostle Paul to the church in Rome (Romans 8). I am convinced he writes, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Remember you are loved by God. Remember you are not alone; God is with you. Remember the church is here for you. And together, we will get through this. May God continue to watch over us while we are away one from another.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Living Word have worship?
Yes, we will, but not in-person. We will have virtual worship through the month of May. Virtual Worship times are as follows:
8:00 am: Virtual Traditional Worship on our Website and Facebook Live
9:15 am: Live Virtual Interactive Bible Study on our Website and Facebook Live
11:00 am: Virtual Blended Worship on our Website and Facebook Live
Will there be weekday virtual events to connect with for spiritual support?
Yes, many events have been scheduled including Wednesday Virtual Bible Study at 9:30 am on Facebook Live and Weeknight Story Time with Pastor Ariel at 7 pm on Facebook Live. To access all events, click the link below:
How are we supporting our seniors during this time?
We are acutely aware that the most vulnerable among us during this pandemic are the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. We have a team of volunteers standing by to support our seniors and elderly with purchasing grocery, picking up prescription drugs, offering care and support or running quick errands.
How are we supporting our children, youth, young adults, and families during this time?
Resources are being created to continue to support our children, youth, and families. Below are some resources our Discipleship Ministry Team wanted to share:
Now, more than ever, the church needs your financial support. Your generous financial support makes it possible for us to fulfill our mission, especially during this time of fear and anxiety. Our church must remain a voice of hope and comfort. Your financial generosity enables us to be a place of hope and compassion. While we may not gather in-person for worship, we can still support the ministries of Living Word through online giving.
Finally, a word of hope. We were never promised a problem-free existence. In fact, scripture makes clear that there will be times of tribulation. History is replete with tales of the triumph of the human spirit amid times of tribulations. That has to be true in our time. We have to summon what is best in us. We have to be led by faith. We have to familiarize ourselves with facts but not live in fear. In our practice of social or personal distancing we must hold one another in our hearts.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
May you always find refuge in God during times of trouble. This too shall pass.