goodbye (for now)

Today, our hearts are full of hurt but also hope. We (TVC) will no longer be meeting as a congregation. We struggled for a few years, but 2020 proved critical as our congregation diminished until we could no longer effectively minister to our community. On July 19th, we as a congregation made the choice to positively reinvest the remaining people and resources into other churches and ministries rather than try to continue. So, our hearts hurt for all the right reasons—the sadness of something good ending, the pain of separation from loved ones. But our hearts are also full of hope knowing that God is faithful; He has kept and carried; He has accomplished His work in and through us. And He will finish what He started in and through us. The seeds planted will grow and bear fruit even if that happens in other-than-anticipated fields. May His glory be shown.

Coronavirus Update 20200514

We are excited to resume meeting in person for corporate worship starting Sunday May 17th at 11 a.m. We will follow governmental guidance for things like sanitation and seating arrangements and we advise members to follow governmental guidance as well.

To keep it simple, in the near future (and it won’t be forever), please observe the following:

  1. We will continue live-streaming our service for those who choose to worship from home. Please do not hesitate to join us virtually if you feel more comfortable doing so due to coronavirus-related risk factors. Virtual church is no substitute for embodied souls worshipping God together, but technology is a blessing that can help a momentary need.
  2. If you are not feeling well, or have a fever, please join us virtually from home.
  3. We are encouraging all in-person attendees to wear a mask. We may have those among us who are at higher risk, and wearing a mask is the simplest way to reduce the possibility of spread through air droplets. I want to sing at the top of my lungs with all of you! I feel confident that any airborne droplets expelled by me in doing so that could increase contagion risk for others will be satisfactorily trapped by my super awesome mask. I’m going to wear a mask so I can sing!
  4. We are encouraging all in-person attendees to proceed immediately to the washroom upon entering the building to wash hands and then to find a place in the auditorium. This will reduce congestion in our common areas, etc. that are too small to accommodate social distancing of many people.
  5. Please observe social distancing. I know this is difficult. I know we want to shake hands and hug one another. However, for the time being (and again, it won’t be long), it is wise for us to exercise an abundance of caution. I am willing to go a little longer without a hug for the sake of being able to meet in person.

We cannot wait to see you!

Coronavirus Update 20200427

As you know, in cooperation with God-given government, and out of love for neighbor, we as a church have been meeting online since March 22 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Last week, Governor Stitt, referencing guidelines given by our federal government, announced that the first phase of the “re-opening” for Oklahoma begins May 1st. This includes the lifting of the restriction for the gathering of ten or more people in settings such as a church provided certain rules are followed. The federal government summarizes these rules as “strict social distancing” for the first phase of re-opening (lessened restrictions). The hope is that the next phase of lessened restrictions can proceed after observing the first phase successfully for two weeks. (And we are praying for that!) In the second phase of re-opening, the guidelines for the gathering of people in “houses of worship” is even less restrictive, specifying “moderate social distancing.”

We as a church now face the same questions that we are all facing as individuals and as families. In consideration of these governmental guidelines, of our contexts, and of our needs, how and when do we begin to resume some of our normal practices? A significant question for us as a church is, how and when do we begin to resume gathering physically again? There is a lot of uncertainty in these times. It’s impossible to know if all that we have been doing (not only as a church body but as a society) has been successful or even necessary. It’s impossible to know if the timing of the “re-opening” is wise or hasty. It’s impossible to know if phases and the timing of those phases is good, and it’s impossible to know if people will follow the governmental guidance whether or not it’s good. There are times when all of the things we do know, and all of the things that we do not know can be paralyzing and frustrating. We cannot reason our way through the fog because we don’t know enough to know that we’re making the right decisions, and all that we do know can seem contradictory and unclear. It is at times like these that we must allow faith to inform our reason. This is a faith that affirms God’s sovereignty over all situations, His ability to speak clearly to us, and His provision for us—including His provision of wisdom in decision making. This is a faith that gives us the courage to know that, lacking either clear reasoning or explicit Divine communication, we don’t have to be either reckless or paralyzed. We can manifest the fruit of the Spirit in gentleness, patience, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). We can “be submissive to rulers and authorities…be ready for every good work…avoid quarreling…be gentle…and show perfect courtesy to all people” (Titus 3:1-2).

Accordingly, the Council of Elders has decided to wait a little while longer before resuming in-person meetings. Our tentative plan is to be prepared to re-gather when Oklahoma successfully transitions to phase 2 of the governmental re-opening plan. Again, this is tentative, but we feel we can adequately satisfy the “moderate social distancing” described by the federal government with the protocols we agreed upon as a congregation on March 15th. It is our hope that this tentative plan proceeds rapidly and that we can resume meeting on May 17th. When we do resume meeting, we will continue streaming our services online for those who are not able to attend in person. We’ll give more details about the opening and the “moderate social distancing” protocols when there is a firmer date for our re-gathering.

Coronavirus Update

As many of you know, we discussed contagion control procedures this past Sunday. Our plan was good at the time; however, things have changed very rapidly over the last few days. National, state, and local governments are now strongly suggesting that people avoid gathering in groups larger than 10. (Governor Stitt just issued  Executive Order (EO) 2020-08 to that effect.) Out of love for neighbor and submission to God-given government, we will honor these guidelines by not meeting for at least the next two weeks (3-22, and 3-29). We are working on a streaming solution so that we can gather as the body of Christ at the same time even if we aren’t in the same space, and we will update you when information is available. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s anything we can do practically to help your family during this time.

– Pastor Dave

TVC and COVID-19

Good morning. As news has spread regarding COVID-19, I have been praying about what our response must be as a church. I was very surprised by the rapid escalation this week; however, as 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. We must not be motivated by fear; we must be motivated by LOVE. Such love includes wisdom, and this includes wisdom in things like our public gatherings as a church. If possible, I want to discuss these things as a congregation this Sunday. Out of love, if you have symptoms of the virus, please stay home. If you are not able or are not comfortable attending and would like to participate in the discussion, please let me know and I will find a way to connect you to the conversation via telephone, etc. We know that God is in control, and we know that He enables us to be and to do who and what He calls us to be and to do. There are practical steps that we can take as a congregation to that end.

In Christ,
Pastor Dave