Hi Westside Family. I, like many of you, received the information from our Oregon Governor to ban gatherings larger than 250 people in order to protect the public from the COVID-19 outbreak. I believe our response to this announcement should not be one of fear, but of wisdom and care for those in our churches and our communities as we implement what our state leadership has put in place.
Starting this Sunday, all of our Sunday services, including our evening service, will be online and available throughout the rest of the week. There will be opportunities online to pray and to continue to give financially, even chat with a pastor and others during the livestream.
We already have a robust online presence with our weekly Sunday services. We will continue to gather online at westsidelive.org during the suspension of our gatherings. Our team will provide full worship and the regular teaching we had planned. So, while we will not gather at our physical location for a few weeks, we will still gather online in strong community.
This is a time for the church to be adaptive, responsive, and demonstrate Christlike leadership. The church has never been limited to the four walls of the church building. We have seen throughout Church history the many ways the church remained connected, stayed on mission and supported one another in unique ways, even under tremendous persecution.
We have an opportunity to love people in the midst of their fears. We can walk with empathy toward people who are genuinely afraid and love them through it. We are still the church – the visible representation of God’s kingdom. So, let’s go out of our way to love on our neighbors, to encourage people who are afraid, and to pray for those who are sick and the families who have lost loved ones all around the world.
I’m grateful that we can continue to gather as a faith community, even under these challenging circumstances, in homes online. My hope is that we can navigate this together, and in a way that honors Jesus and each other. See you online this Sunday!
-Steve Mickel, Lead Pastor