CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) - UPDATED MARCH 16, 2020
No Weekend Gatherings
With a desire to love our neighbors as ourselves and an abundance of caution for River Ridgers and our community amidst a global pandemic that is affecting our valley, as of Sunday, March 15, all River Ridge Church worship gatherings will be moved online until further notice. In addition, all River Ridge buildings (at all of our campuses) are closed until further notice.
We encourage everyone to join us for online services (9:15 & 11:00 for Teays Valley and 11:15 for Charleston).
Select your campus to watch:
These recent decisions were bathed in prayer and counsel, and we feel that it is the wisest and most responsible course of action with the information currently available to us. While God has not given us a spirit of fear, he has called us to love our neighbors and to contribute to the welfare of our community. Exercising caution is not merely wise, but is a tangible way of expressing love toward others.
We encourage you to worship at home, together with your family. In a time of uncertainty and fear, we can be a source of gospel encouragement.
Other Gatherings and Events
Any official River Ridge events scheduled over the next 8 weeks will not be meeting as scheduled.
Ridge Group Meetings
We are asking Ridge Groups to refrain from meeting at this time. Our over-arching recommendation for groups is to work hard to keep the members of your group as biblically (see Romans 12:9-13) and closely connected to one another as is wisely possible. The obvious question this statement raises is, “What is wise?” We have already stated that we do not believe it is wise for the hundreds of members of our church to gather for worship as we normally do because of the risks involved with potentially exposing many people to this different and distinct virus. To take this a step further, we also don’t believe it is wise for us to encourage those same hundreds of people to gather in smaller groups, where a similar potential to exposure might exist.
We encourage groups to find alternative ways to stay connected. Resources such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, or Jitsi or just a few potential options for groups to meet "virtually."
Communication and Prayer
Thank you for your patience and support; we are so encouraged by the way you demonstrate the love and peace of God in our community. We will provide any updates here and through our other social media platforms.
While we do not know what will happen as this situation changes, we do know that we can and we must pray.
- Pray for the leaders and authorities who are making momentous decisions
- Pray that the medical workers would be equipped to handle any cases with compassion and wisdom
- Pray that the local churches would be a source of love and compassion and a constant Gospel witness.
Let's be faithful in this moment to be the hands and feet of Christ caring for the sick and pointing people to ultimate hope in him.
We encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses, including:
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available;
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Staying home if you are sick;
- Covering your cough or sneeze;
- Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly.
WHAT ABOUT SHORT-TERM MISSION TRIPS?
Our Global Missions Team is continually consulting various sources of information including our ministry partners in other countries, the State Department, and organizations like the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Based on this information, we are making determinations concerning any needs to adjust, postpone, or cancel trips. At the same time, we are encouraging individuals involved in trips to prayerfully consider any decision to travel through consultation with medical professionals, as appropriate.
HOW CAN I BETTER UNDERSTAND THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It is part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold. The coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to other countries.
The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after infection. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Like many other viruses, the coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to spread from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze, or kiss. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the risk in the U.S. is still low. They will update this status regularly on their website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. You can also find more information from the World Health Organization.
HOW SHOULD I RESPOND SPIRITUALLY TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet one more reminder that we live in a fallen world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. Ultimately, none of us are immune to any of these things. But that’s why the gospel is such good news. God has not left us alone in this world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. He has come to us in the person of Jesus. The greatest news in all the world is that Jesus lived a life with no sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. Now anyone anywhere who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of all their sin and restored to relationship with God forever. That means that through Jesus, we never have to fear sickness or death because we know we have eternal life with God.
If you do not know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to put your faith in Jesus. And if you do know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to share your faith in Jesus with others. Times like these remind us all of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. So let’s spread the greatest news that death has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who trust in Jesus.
In addition to trusting in Jesus and sharing about Jesus with others, here’s some other ways you can respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Trust in God as the good and sovereign Creator and Sustainer of life upon whom we all depend.
- Pray for mercy for the sick, strength for doctors, insight for researchers, and wisdom for officials.
- Look for opportunities to love and care for others, whether they are sick, isolated, marginalized, poor, or oppressed.
- Avoid every semblance of prejudice or racism. In light of the origination of this virus in Asia, it has been grievous to see a rise in racist incidents against the Asian community.
- Even if we are unable to gather at certain times, stay closely connected to the church family. Gather with smaller groups as appropriate, and participate in worship gatherings online if that’s the only option.
Reflect often on the brevity of life, the urgency of eternity, and the beauty of the gospel.