COVID-19 letter to all
March 16, 2020
Dear members and friends,
On March 15, our congregations made the decision to suspend Sunday services through the end of May, just hours before the Centers for Disease Control issued its advisory against public gatherings of 50 or more. This “social distancing” response to the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, but it is the single best thing we can do to avert the real disaster: critical virus cases that overwhelm our hospitals and cause unnecessary deaths in the near future. Yesterday the government also cautioned all persons 65 and older to remain at home, avoiding any unnecessary contact.
For more than a century, Makiki Christian Church has been a sign of faith, hope and love in the Honolulu community. This church was born out of the Great Depression; served as a sign of peace and patriotism during World War II; and offered many a refuge and a guiding light during times of uncertainty. This crisis, too, shall pass, and the church shall endure.
We can even grow stronger, because the COVID-19 emergency forces us back to basics—basic practices of caring for ourselves and for one another that our normal, modern lifestyles often erode. We have the opportunity to rediscover the ancient, time-tested ways of being the church: being in relationship one-on-one, taking the time to check in and check on, taking the initiative rather than always waiting to respond. And we have the opportunity to discover new ways of being the church—being the Body of Christ, connected to one another and to a God who demonstrated love by sending Jesus to live and die for the sins of the world.
Jesus said, “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). He also said, “…I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:20). So let us take heart, be calm and act wisely. We know what is causing the illness, how it spreads and what can be done to avoid infection. We know that the world’s medical resources are being marshaled to find treatments and a vaccine. May we be light and not darkness in this time.
The church office will be open as usual during the week. Some small groups and ministries are continuing to meet, but if the state Department of Health and/or the CDC advise further restrictions, we will comply. The Makiki Christian Preschool remains open but will follow suit if and when public schools close. Updates on the church will be posted on www.makikichristian.org and also mailed out (email and post office) to members and those on our lists.
May the grace and peace of Christ be with us all.
Pastor Wayne Ibara