Church Family and Friends,
Since we’ve begun our series through the letter of Romans, the words of Paul from Romans 1:8 have been on my heart: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.” This is truly how I feel towards you all…by God’s grace we have such a strong, healthy, and unified church, and the Lord is at work through our ministry of the gospel. So many of you continue to pour out your love, support, and prayers to me, and that is a kindness to which I feel deeply indebted. I love that this church desires that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be made known among all the nations. I am abundantly thankful to God for you all.
As is often the case in our lives and in the church, there is much to be joyful about and much that we are sorrowful of. With that in mind, in coordination with our DLC and in consultation with a number of our local medical professionals, I felt it appropriate to relay some important updates to our church body in light of the medical issues and questions many may be asking regarding our continued efforts to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic:
First, we have recognized and are monitoring the increased number of Covid cases within our local hospital system and community. Our hearts and prayers are with our first responders and medical professionals who are working tirelessly to assist those who are in need of medical attention. And of course we pray the Lord’s mercy and healing on those who are battling illness. Within our church, we have an incredibly strong presence of many from our healthcare community, and in addition to ALL that they are doing to keep our community well and safe, I am also receiving updates and information routinely to help us as a church navigate this continued struggle against Covid-19.
– First, if you test positive for Covid or have Covid-like symptoms, we ask that you please not attend any in-person church events or gatherings. As you seek medical assistance, please follow the counsel of your healthcare provider regarding quarantine protocols and the timeline of your safe return to public gatherings.
– If you or someone in your immediate family comes in close contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid, please seek medical advice, and follow the guidance of your healthcare provider regarding appropriate quarantine protocols. With the rapidly changing nature of recommended policies, protocols, and procedures, direct guidance from your healthcare provider is the safest and best way for you to receive accurate and timely information to protect yourself and others.
– At Lakewood, we continue to recommend masks, especially for those who are immunocompromised or have personal medical vulnerabilities to Covid, and we will continue to make masks available throughout our campus. If you are one with particular health vulnerabilities, please seek the guidance of your healthcare provider to determine the best and wisest decision regarding your participation in in-person gatherings.
If in any of these situations you are away from us in-person, we welcome you to join us ONLINE.
I want to urge each of us to seek the professional counsel of your trusted healthcare provider as you determine how you can best keep safe yourself, your family, and others in our community. Please remember, as Christians we know that each one must take personal responsibility for the decisions that we make as individuals and as families.
I hope you will join me in prayer that, despite the difficulties, sadness, and trials in which we are walking, the Lord would continue to show us his grace and would continue to use us to make his gospel known among all people.
Perhaps Psalm 145 will be a comfort to you as it has been to me today: “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
Grace and Peace in Christ our Lord,
Dr. Tyler Smiley