Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Resources & Westside Church's Community Response

Westside was honored to help our community last Monday during our Free Food Market! After tallying up our numbers, we found that we were able to help…

  • 154 families served that represent 641 people (340 adults, 301 kids)
  • 28 dogs and 9 cats

We received 40 grocery carts of donations from Westsiders for this event! Thank you again for your generosity. You all have made a huge impact! #ForTheCity

As the lead Pastor of Westside Church, along with our leadership team, I would like to respond to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the current restrictions on large gatherings which directly affect churches across our state and the nation.

Q. Why are we allowing the government to dictate how we worship?
Simple answer: we are not. Our primary concern is the health of every individual in our congregation and in our community. As a large church, we have almost 2,000 people in our building every Sunday. To ensure we keep our congregation safe, we have chosen to not gather on Sundays.

Q. I’m not worried about the virus. Can’t you leave it up to individuals if they want to attend or not?
Eventually, that will be exactly what happens. Once we decide to begin gathering in our Sunday space, people will have the choice to continue meeting online or in person.

Q. Why are we shutting down the church building now, and not every year during flu season?
Until there is a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, as there is for influenza, it doesn’t make sense to put our people at any more risk than necessary.

Q. I can go to the grocery store, why can’t I go to church?
Soon we will be able to gather in homes and coffee shops as the church. Most Christians think of “going to church” as Sunday mornings in a designated “sacred” space. We know the church is anywhere two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus. It’s time for the church to return to her roots of meeting both in the temple and in homes. We’ve met for far too long just in the temple and very little in homes. This will be an opportunity for the church to reframe what it means by “going to church.”

Q. Isn’t this a form of government persecuting the church?
Studying the persecution of the church throughout history there is one primary common denominator: Jesus. Whenever governments tried to stop people from worshiping Jesus, being baptized, making a confession of faith and so forth it was always about denying Christ. Right now, this is only about gathering together. It is not about denying our faith. If that ever happens we will be the first to non-violently oppose that type of persecution.

Q. When will we be able to have church in-person again?
We are evaluating this question every week. When we do gather again it will be in small groups first, probably for several weeks, before we gather on Sunday.

For further reading, we recommend this article from Ed Stetzer. Stetzer is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and serves as a dean at Wheaton College

Together we are making an impact in our community in the midst of the crisis. Check out this Outreach Update from Pastor Steve to be encouraged and find out how to keep helping. Thank you, Westside!

There are a number of hard-working organizations out there tirelessly working to make sure no one goes hungry during this difficult time. If you have food to spare, you can help out by donating food in a socially-distant way:

The Giving Plate is offering a drive-up style food box service. Support them by donating non-perishable food at a drop site near you:

  • OnTap – 1424 NE Cushing Drive, Bend (11-4 Any day)
  • D&S Hydraulics – 373 SE Bridgeford Blvd, Bend (11-4 Monday through Friday)
  • Bend Cider Co. – 64649 Wharton Avenue, Bend (11-4 Any day)

The Shepherd’s House serves prepackaged meals and other supplies Monday – Friday for anyone in need. You can support them by donating non-perishable food items, pre-made food bags, and fresh produce using their drive-through drop-off service:

  • Drop-off between the hours of 9am and 4pm Monday-Friday at 1854 NE Division St. Bend.
  • See a full list of ways you can help here.

A video update from Pastor Steve:

Hi everybody. I wanted to give you a quick update on some things going on in our faith community. It has been a moment for us to rethink how we do church. Thankfully we know, we are the church. It’s never been about a building. Still, without having our normal Sunday morning services we’ve become very aware of the need for greater connection during the week.

You may have noticed I have been on social media – which is not my norm. It’s actually been really great to do some Facebook and Instagram live conversations and see and interact with many of you.

Our discipleship team and volunteers are calling people in our congregation just to check in. Many of our Blue Groups have moved online and our Women’s Bible study this spring will also be online. Our local outreach crew is busy meeting needs both with individuals and with community organizations. We had a  drive-through food bank recently and it was really cool to use our atrium and parking lot to meet some critical needs in our community.

In addition to all that, we still have our Sunday services online! It’s amazing how powerful our times of worship still are even online. Nothing can restrain the presence of God as we worship together in our homes.

Personally, Suzanne and I are doing well. Even though exhaustion is always present, we are choosing to not worry or be anxious. We are very aware of the hardships that many are facing in our community. Thankfully we know our hope is not in this world, but in God who is watching out for us, even when it might not feel like it. He is for us! I believe that with all of my heart. Love you all and praying for you every day.

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