COVID-19 Updates

Email From Ray Cortese Sent To Congregation March 19, 2020

Our staff team is such a delight to labor, laugh and do life with. They are talented, smart, love Jesus and love you guys so beautifully. I consider working with them one of God's greatest gifts to me.

We've spent the first few days of this week prepping to lead our church family and love our community well during this unprecedented Coronavirus calamity. Here's our structure going forward and the staff member tasked with leading each initiative.

  • Online Worship - Adam Hill

  • Congregational Care and Staff Care - Adam Jones and Robyn Shipes

  • Community Care (this is care for those not in our church family) - Chad Townsley, assisted by Paul Manuel

  • Communication (this is emails, videos, devotions, etc) that will be delivered to our members throughout the week to keep our church family informed, encouraged and mobilized) - Brandon Lauranzon

  • SRCS - Dana James

  • Budget/Finances - (Donations to churches are expected to plummet due to the lack of gathered worship services and the economic malaise which will result from the Coronavirus disruption of our stock market and economy, thus this is one of our biggest challenges as we will have to make many hard decisions to stay financially upright.) - Blair Commons

  • Golf Improvement, Online Shopping, Netflix Binging (and attempting to take credit for all the good work of our team!) - Ray Cortese

The rest of our excellent staff are wonderfully assisting with all these initiatives.

Beloved, this morning I read how a Communist interrogator once threatened persecuted Romanian pastor Josef Tson, "Don't you realize I have the power to kill you?" To which Tson replied, "But do you not realize I have the power to die?" God's children are not afraid of adversity, viruses or death. God's church will prevail - not even the gates of hell can unnerve her! So let's trust God and love our neighbors!

Email From Ray Cortese Sent To Congregation March 17, 2020

Today, SRC is pivoting from our routine practices to take advantage of the great opportunity that's before us. The rapid spread of the Coronavirus in our world is providing the Church of Jesus Christ an opening to minister compassionately to our neighbors. So as of today...

  • All SRC worship gatherings, classes, small groups and other events will not meet until further notice. This is in conformity with the direction of our governor and the CDC. Even more importantly, this is in conformity with Jesus' command to "love our neighbors!" Our worship last weekend was a delight; there was a palpable sense of relief and joy at being together after days of nothing but ominous warnings re COVID-19. What fun it will be when we are able to reopen our doors to gathered public worship...I'm already savoring that day. In the meantime, we will be posting our worship on our website and other social media platforms on Saturday for you to watch and engage with on the weekend.

  • We have assembled a Coronavirus Care Team to meet the needs of any we can help in the community. Please help us let the community know that we are ready and desirous to help them with errands, groceries, prayer and if absolutely needed....yes, we'll even deliver toilet paper! As much as we are organizing to serve our community, the best way that we'll accomplish that is through you. Check on your elderly neighbors, and keep your eyes open for people that our Father will bring across your path that will need a hand.

  • During our hiatus from public gatherings, we will be communicating with you through our website and social media venues. We will be posting regular information of all church-related news, and short videos to stay in touch. In fact, here is a wonderful 7-day devotional a friend wrote to help us think biblically during the Coronavirus epidemic.

  • Seven Rivers Christian School is shut down for two weeks (one of which was already scheduled for Spring Break) and along with all other schools, likely to be closed for longer. Our school will continue fulfilling their mission beginning March 30 by providing curriculum, instructions, testing and all else needed for our students to continue to learn at home. Our teachers are using this week to prepare to implement a rigorous home education program. I'm so proud of our whole school team!

  • Our staff is ready to help any of you through the duration of the virus epidemic. Call us for prayer, for counsel or for practical help. Small group leaders, please be proactive in checking on and caring for those in your group.

So, SRC family, this could be our finest hour. Let us be unafraid, even joyous in adversity, let us be constant in our thankfulness for the goodness of our Father and let us be abounding in compassionate care for our neighbors. I am so proud of you, Seven Rivers Church, you are a delight to lead and love.

Email From SRC Pastoral Team Sent To Congregation March 12, 2020

Dear Seven Rivers Family and Friends,

We are all concerned about the potential spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). Our local health officials have been in regular contact with the CDC. They have informed us that while Citrus County is at low risk for an outbreak, it is wise to be prepared to respond due to the high percentage of older adults in our community. While highly transmissible, the virus does not pose a significant threat to younger adults and children.

As of now, Seven Rivers Church and School will continue without interruption. All services, classes, youth events, small groups, etc. will continue to meet until further notice. We encourage you to follow common sense and best practices for good hygiene.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow.(If someone coughs near you in church, don’t give them the evil eye—there’s currently a lot of pollen and allergy issues!)

  • Stay home if you have any symptoms of a cold, flu, or virus or if you’ve been caring for a family member with these symptoms. Please stay home if you’ve been on a cruise or traveled to an area of significant infection in the last 14 days.

For more detailed recommendations and regular updates visit the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . For updates on any changes to the schedule at SRC, visit the Seven Rivers website.

Out of an abundance of caution we are temporarily implementing the following measures:

  • Additional hand sanitizers have been placed throughout our buildings on campus.

  • While we already adhere to rigorous cleaning and disinfecting of our common spaces and surfaces (including pews, handrails, children’s rooms, and bathrooms), we will now also be wiping down door handles and knobs during and after large gatherings.

  • The “Meet and Greet” time during worship will be suspended and greeters are being encouraged to refrain from shaking hands.(Don’t “bump” elbows, it’s just weird!)
  • Any other collective practices (i.e. communion, eating, etc.) will be analyzed and adjusted as needed for optimal hygiene.
  • Our Senior Ministry event for the month of April has been cancelled.

Any calamity or disaster is not only a call for caution, but an opportunity for neighbor love. Thus, our Deacons, Pastoral Care Team and a newly forming Coronavirus Care Team will be ready to be mobilized to offer assistance to anyone in our church or community who needs physical or spiritual care.

For over 2,000 years, through plagues, wars, and natural disasters the Church of Jesus Christ has been a source of hope and compassion. Faith, not fear, should be our animating principle. Calm, not conspiracies, should be our societal contribution. Prayer, not panic, should be our spiritual practice.

We are regularly monitoring the rapidly changing situation and will communicate quickly and clearly should conditions and/or recommendations change. If you have any questions or needs, please don’t hesitate to call the church office (352.746.6200).