For the last 33 years as the Senior Pastor of this amazing Church, we have experienced powerful moments, change, and cultural shifts. We have walked together through good times and not-so-good times but God has always shown us his faithfulness. That is why this moment of COVID-19 is not only dangerous but the most complex, difficult, and transformative that the globe has seen in many decades.
This statement is to articulate my position and its impact on the Concord Church as well as the Concord Cultural Center.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had such a profound impact on communities. Quarantining and social distancing have become the terms that are defining this moment. Globally, over 4 million people have contracted the virus. Nationally, over 1 million people have been infected and these numbers continue to rise daily. Jackson County, Missouri has documented over 1,193 confirmed cases rendering 33 deaths with 14 being identified as African Americans. Based on new research it is projected that Jackson County will be the epicenter of the next big outbreak, according to KMBC News.
Being that one-fourth of known cases of COVID-19 are in America, we must be careful. The data is incomplete. As testing continues to open in the region, fewer people are finding it necessary to be assessed. Making decisions based on trends is not substantial enough. We need hard data to make critical assessments about the transmission of this highly – I repeat – highly transmittable virus that is proving to be an existential threat to how we function as a society. The data continues to change but serves as a great predictor for us to make
As the Senior Pastor of Concord Church, it is my responsibility as the Undershepherd of this house, not only to lead as it relates to the spiritual growth of the local fellowship but also to look after the general well-being of each individual who is a part of our assembly. I have consulted with The Advisory Board and based on our conversations and the information received, it is my decision not to engage in corporate public worship at this time. The decision is based upon the data, the potential impact that this has on our congregation as it relates to our diverse demographics in age and race, and for the total well-being of our Concord family. It is my belief that it is in our best interest to continue to cease gathering at our physical worship space and to continue to worship in an online format. We will continue to develop our online presence as well as programming to assist through the remainder of the time we are in this pandemic.
If you know of individuals who are part of our fellowship and have not been contacted, please assist us by providing us their number so we can reach out to them. I'm also asking our leadership team to step up and step out as never before to God's glory.
Additionally, as you are aware, The Cultural Center operates a very rigid schedule to fulfill contracts but if we think this is counterproductive we will suspend all agreements and close for the greater good of our clients and our community. We will reevaluate each aspect of this decision separately every four to six weeks to determine when we will return to the sanctuary and if needed, reopen The Cultural Center.
I pray for your patience with us. It is our attempt to protect the people of God for whom he has given me charge. We refused to politicize this issue. We will do what we believe is pleasing in the sight of God. God will open the doors at the appropriate time. We must believe what Paul said in the fourth chapter of Philippians and learn to be content in all things.
We, like every other faith-based congregation, have our own unique financial and cultural challenges. However, I believe that the God who called us to this work is able to keep us in the midst of any trials that come our way. We ask that you please continue to give to the work of the Lord at this moment with your tithes and offerings.
Lastly, your giving allows us to meet our obligations and responsibilities as well as continue to build our ministry and accomplish our mission to reach the lives of the hurting, needy and disenfranchised in our community.
I wanted to personally notify you of the process as we move forward through this season. Your understanding is appreciated as we traverse together. It is my prayer that God will continue to richly bless each of us as we seek to please him.
Concord Fortress of Hope Church