LASTEST UPDATE FROM MARCH 29th:
Dear Candlelight Family,
As the “Coronavirus Pandemic” continues, we likewise continue making decisions for our church, the churches here in the community, and with those throughout our state.
All people have been asked to “social distance,” and thus we have made the decision (based upon love for our neighbors) to refrain from large gatherings in our building. This has come at a price but has likewise proven to be a blessing still fully undiscovered.
We are already seeing God move in beautiful ways—touching lives in ways we could not have imagined. For example, a week ago Sunday’s Bible Study (online) was viewed by people from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Alaska, and even in Honduras, Thailand, and Pakistan. Many have also tuned into the Wednesday night service in numbers we would not have imagined. In fact, last Wednesday night we were able to track over 400 “log-ins” equating to at least 800 people. This number computes to 4 times our average Wednesday night service. Our past Sunday service was viewed by over 1000 “log-ins” equating to the potential of over 2000 plus viewers.
Other churches in the area and around the country are experiencing the same increases.
As I write these words (which are dated by the time you read them), you are being provided updates on state issues as well as those local. For example, this past Wednesday the Governor put in place a “Stay-at-Home” order which listed “essential services,” but those “essentials” did not include “churches.” Moreover, the first “prohibition” would not even allow for churches like ours to have essential staff in the building for the purposes of providing all of you the media-driven online services.
I wrote about this to the churches and our staff. Here is an excerpt from that letter:
“We are not listed in the Governor’s “Essential List” below. However, we are presently working on a letter to the Governor that I intend to have you all sign—requesting that churches be added to the list.”
“For Biblical reason, and moreover, if for no other reason than falling under the following items named below.
- “Businesses that provided food, shelter, and social services.”
- “Educational institutions, for the purpose of distance learning.” (Stream your services…)
- “Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.”
If WEED STORES are essential in Washington State (and they are…go figure) we are essential as ambassadors for Christ!
The Mayor told me on March 25, 2020, at 3:50 PM that we can conduct our activities as scheduled. He said… “Yes. As long as groups are small and all healthcare guidelines are followed we are good.”
The Sheriff told me on March 25,2020, at 4:04 PM, “I am thinking that taping and streaming services fall under the media and distance learning exceptions.”
Please also be aware of the fact that the government has no authority over the Church. What we do to comply is voluntary and in obedience to the Lord (see Romans 13:1-7, and 1 Peter 2:13). However, if the government (any government) asks us or demands from us any “obedience” that requires disobedience to the Lord—we have a higher law (see Acts 4:19).”
However, on Thursday I wrote a letter to the Governor suggesting that this omission was in error, and by Friday evening the Governor added churches to the “essentials” list. For this, we praise the Lord!
To date, we continue to observe the “large gatherings” prohibition by voluntary submission. The reason I put it this way is because the Constitution of the United States and that of the State of Idaho prohibit such limitation. However, because of our care for others, we have complied with this injunction.
As I mentioned in last week’s letter, as “a result of our need to distance, we have discovered several weaknesses within our church ‘community.’ One of these weaknesses is the fact that our email systems and communication tools have fallen short of what we perceived.”
Since that time we have worked diligently to improve and have made great strides to that end:
- Many Candlelight members and church attenders have now provided us current information and updated email addresses. Our database is improving greatly!
- We learned that many of those who attend Candlelight are not members, and some did not know that official “Voluntary Membership” was even available. See https://candlelight.org/membership-form-5/.
- We are seeing an improvement in this area. There are still opportunities for all of you to engage this way.
- We learned that many of our members/attenders have not provided us cell numbers to which we can text messages. This too is improving.
- We learned that our computerized systems were not yet able to send group texts to the cell phone numbers we do have. We are still working on this!
- We learned that many of our members/attenders do not use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other available communication tools. We are posting letters like this one on the Candlelight Christian Fellowship Facebook account. Find our page and click “Like” or “Follow.” This will also notify you when the weekly services go live on Facebook.
- We learned that many of our members/attenders do not have close relationships with others in the church, and therefore feel a sense of disconnect to the others with whom they now wish to have a connection. We are seeing a move toward healing in this area. Please do your part to reach out to each other.
- We learned that some of our members—and moreover, many in the Christian community—have a weak or limited view of Eschatology (study of the end times) and therefore wonder if the pandemic we are now dealing with is part of the 7-year Tribulation period. I addressed this in last Wednesday’s online study. Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep-4SZdafBk&t=2524s
We will continue an others-centered approach to the present distress. We are a people of love, and therefore will consider “others” rather than simply look to serve ourselves. Therefore, at this point we will be planning on a week to week approach on public meetings. Our hope is to reconvene public services as soon as possible, but for the time being, we must continue to use the stream and personal communication services to stay connected. (Please stay up to date by reading the latest posts on our website, www.Candlelight.org, as we make weekly updates.
This Week’s Updates
Here are plans for this week—March 29th – April 5th.
Some of this is redundant…
- We will continue to postpone all of our auditorium services, small groups, home bible studies, etc., for the month of April as requested by the “Stay-at-Home” mandate. If we see a positive change in the COVID-19 bell curve, and we get ahead of this thing, we may resume services earlier. We will be looking at current data, state and community recommendations, how public gatherings affect our public testimony, and how best to serve all. When we do regather, we plan on celebrating “Resurrection Sunday”—whatever Sunday that may be! Please be patient as we go through this process together.
- We need patient communications with our staff this week in order to field all the questions and concerns you may have. We will be in the office and/or working from home. All pastoral staff and most support staff members have laptop computers, and therefore we will be available by email without interruption.
- Our Sunday and Wednesday Night Bible Studies will be broadcast live online at www.candlelight.org/listen-watch/. Please tune in and watch. We will likely provide you updates and information you may want or need during the broadcasts. The broadcast times will be Sunday: 9:00 am and 10:45 am. Wednesday evenings 6:45 pm.
- The Skating Rink will be closed following the church’s schedule. Key “Skate” staff will be working in the building.
- Because this interruption of our normal lives may also have a negative financial impact on our members—and on our regular church expenses—we ask that you maintain your faithful financial support for the work of ministry. You can provide your financial support online at www.candlelight.org/donate/, or mail in your contribution to P.O. Box 2555, Hayden, ID, 83835.If you are in financial hardship, please let us know. We will do all we can to assist and serve you throughout this season. Some of you may also want to make above and beyond contributions in order to help the needy—both in and outside the church family.
- We are asking that anyone sick with a fever or cough stay home and avoid going out into the community.
- For those of you who feel no symptoms of sickness, fever, etc., we nonetheless recommend a limitation of public exposure. Therefore, if you must go out of your homes, please employ all health and hygiene practices.
- During the interruption of services at the Candlelight building, we will be taking the time to provide extra measures in sanitation and cleaning. The facilities are being cleaned thoroughly with antibacterial/antiviral disinfectant. We have also begun “fogging” the entire building via SERVPRO. They have been very generous toward us. (See picture below)
- All toys and furnishings in the Children’s Department have now been thoroughly cleaned with bleach and antibacterial/antiviral disinfectant—all sign-in computers likewise.
- The fact that we are still seeing new cases of Coronavirus in Idaho (as expected), we will continue a wait and watch approach to what is next in the processes we are taking. Please refer to this link for a scholarly update on COVID-19, which was written by one of our members, Dr. Arlie Esau. It provides an excellent perspective we all need: https://www.facebook.com/notes/arlie-esau/covid-19-risk-summary-bullet-points/10219871429809861/
- Finally, please share this information and the live stream links/services with all members/attenders and those who otherwise may benefit from the services and bible studies online. Share from Facebook to “Public” and create a “Watch Party.”
- Please prepare what you wish to share together (bread & wine/juice) during communion (on-line) this coming Sunday, April 5th.
Rest in the Lord, my friends. Know that our God is Sovereign and is unsurprised by what we are going through. We will emerge triumphant! Please use this opportunity to pray, study, serve…
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV).
If you need help, hope, resources, or just a friend, please call the church or email us at Hope@Candlelight.org. All other email services work for regular business.
P.S. – Further COVID-19 updates will be found HERE on our website
I love you all,
We have also begun “fogging” the entire building via SERVPRO. They have been very generous toward us.