Elder Update | June 25th, 2020
Dear church family,
As many of you know, Governor Inslee issued a statewide mandate requiring facial coverings in public, which is set to take effect on Friday, June 27th. The statewide mandate requires people over the age of 5 to wear face coverings generally while they are in any indoor or outdoor public space. Masks will not be required outdoors when people can stay more than 6 feet apart from each other, while indoors at home with others, or while alone in a vehicle. Unlike previous requirements, there appears to be no discrepancies between the application of this mandate for businesses and churches.
In the Scriptures, the Lord commands us to be subject to governing authorities. We read this in Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17. In 1 Peter 2 we are commanded to be subject to the governing authorities for the Lord’s sake and in Romans 13 we are commanded to do so out of fear of the Lord and for the sake of conscience. In other words, the biblical motivation for submitting to the governing authorities is to honor and fear the Lord and walk with a clear conscience before him.
Yet, as we have said previously, Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 do not require absolute submission to the government. We have commendable examples in Scripture of believers disobeying the government in order to honor and glorify God. We understand that there may be times when we need to disobey the government in order to honor the Lord. We are prepared to do so when we are convinced that it is good and right in the eyes of the Lord. With this in mind, the elders have evaluated the decisions of our government to determine how we can respond in a way that honors our Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
In regard to the recent order, some in our church will agree with the decision regarding masks while some will disagree. Some of us will think the order is helpful while some of us will think it is not. Regardless of our various opinions, the elders agree that the order does not cause us to sin, does not prevent us from doing what the Lord commands us to do and does not discriminate against churches. In light of this, we believe that we demonstrate our fear of the Lord by submitting to the governing authorities on this matter as commanded in Scripture. We have also consulted with the other churches in our 3 Strand network and we have found that we are all in agreement regarding this decision. Every team of elders in the 3 Strand network believes we should adhere to the order at this time.
In light of this, we are asking everyone to adhere to the order regarding facial coverings in all three of our Sunday services.
We have ordered 100 neck gaiter style masks that will have the phrase “Jesus Restores” printed on them so that we can point people to Jesus even through the uncomfortable practice of wearing a mask. Unfortunately, they will not arrive before this Sunday but should be available before Sunday, July 5th. We will have KN95 masks available this Sunday if you do not have a facial covering of your own.
The debate concerning masks in the world around us should not be cause for division in the church. We encourage everyone to avoid the patterns of this world and refrain from contentiousness and divisiveness. We are able to disagree with our government and we are able to disagree with one another but we ought to be people characterized by the fruit of the Spirit even when we disagree. In this way, we will differentiate ourselves from the world as followers of Jesus.
Our hope is that everyone will have a helpful and hopeful attitude even with regard to the inconvenience of wearing masks. We greatly appreciate everyone’s help as we seek to faithfully follow Christ through this challenging season of our lives. Let’s remember that even in the midst of trials the Lord is good to us and gives us immeasurably better than we deserve. We do not choose our circumstances but we know God’s will for us regarding how we are to respond to our circumstances.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We will continue to work to adhere to the guideline regarding the number of people in the building. We will be sending out links for you to register for the service you plan to attend. Please register everyone in your group who is 13 years old and up. You do not need to include children under the age of 13 in your count. Thank you very much!