OCF COVID-19 Update

We’re sure the news headlines you have been reading, as well as your inboxes and social media feeds are filled with a myriad of responses to the COVID-19 outbreak. A lot has transpired over the past week. OCF leadership has been carefully following all the latest updates for recommendations from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and local health organizations. We have also been in close conversation with many local South Bay churches as we navigate our immediate direction. We understand that there are a range of emotions you may be feeling in the midst of all this: from fear, concern, and worry to frustration, suspicion, and even anger. We want to take this time to share some facts surrounding Coronavirus as well as the direction we sense the Lord leading us in the immediate future.

OCF’s Immediate Plans

As we have taken in all the information shared over the course of this week it seems clear that the CDC needs the help of the public and of institutions and organizations to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and thus protect our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed in the process. The City of El Segundo released their recommendation on March 12th that gatherings of over 50 people should be cancelled. This aligns with the City of Los Angeles’ press release earlier in the day. While we are disappointed in this disruption to the way we have been blessed to conduct our ministry at OCF, we feel it is necessary to abide by these recommendations and do our part to help slow down the spread of the virus. Here is our plan for the next few weeks:

  • Sunday Service Instead of meeting in our building, we will be broadcasting our weekend service at 9:30am on Sundays and encourage you to tune in with your families, your small groups, your friends, etc. The instructions for our OCF livestream are listed below. If you are unable to view the service live, it will be posted as a video recording shortly thereafter.

  • Cancellations – OCF will be postponing all of our large group gatherings from this time through the end of the month. These cancellations include our weekend services, Wednesday night programs, Sunday evening student ministry services, and all large group events.

  • Communication – We will be closely monitoring the situation and will be adapting our efforts to minister in this season. Please continue to look for updates and reminders via email, the website, OCF social media, small group notifications and other means of connection in the church.

What Should We Know About COVID-19?

The Gospel Coalition has released several timely articles (3 of which are linked below) that offer wisdom and perspective in our current times. Please take time to follow the links below and read these articles as they will help season your understanding of our role as followers of Jesus in lieu of the COVID-19 outbreak. The first link shares the facts of what we need to know about this virus from Dr. Miguel Núñez, a board-certified physician in internal medicine and infectious disease. After describing the history of this and similar viruses, Dr. Núñez describes the symptoms and pervasiveness of its spread.

“20 percent of patients will never develop any symptoms. The observed symptoms are fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms are similar to those of a flu, particularly similar to influenza. Symptoms remain mild in 85 percent to 89 percent of cases, but 11 percent to 15 percent of cases progress to severe and critical symptoms. These patients will have respiratory distress, the development of pneumonia, and even the presentation of hypotension or septic shock.” ~ (excerpt from Gospel Coalition article below “What we need to know about Coronavirus)

COVID-19 is a virus that we do not yet have a vaccine for. This makes its spread a greater threat but its effect on the majority of the population will be similar to that of the flu. The threat to those over 60 years of age and immunocompromised individuals is, however, a concern and we want to protect those who are most vulnerable at this time. As mentioned in last week’s update, the CDC’s recommendations for personal and community spread prevention encourage regular hand washing (20 seconds) and general respiratory etiquette as the most effective action for prevention. If you feel sick, take precautions to protect the health of others by staying home.

“Not Neglecting to Gather Together”

Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “not (to neglect) to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” It is frustrating to change our usual pattern of meeting, but we want to encourage everyone to continue to gather together. It may not be wise for us to do so in large gatherings at this time but remember that this Hebrews passage was directed at much smaller gatherings in homes as these 1st century followers of Jesus communed together. Let us be encouraged to continue to meet together, to be Gospel community for one another, and to continue to seek and worship the Lord together. Use wisdom with regard to the spread of illness but continue to gather in the name of the Lord. Your church staff and leaders will transition our efforts to help support and resource church life through these smaller gatherings until we are able to reconvene our large group gatherings. Please stay tuned and let’s seek the Lord for creativity and the Spirit’s power. This is an opportunity to minister in new ways and potentially to new people. God will honor our efforts… He always does!

Faith, Not Fear (or Frustration)

Much of the world is in a state of panic over the Coronavirus pandemic. Concern, caution, and alertness are reasonable and wise responses at this time, but we are not to be a people of fear. 2 Timothy 2:7 instructs us, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” As many turn to fear and anxiety, the people of God need to turn to faith in the One in control. God is faithful and we can trust Him in all things. The people of God need to be at work sharing the hope of the Gospel and helping to share the peace and resolve that come from a life centered in Christian Faith. As noted in the article linked below regarding what we can learn from the early church, the testimony of believers in Jesus in the face of crisis has been a catalyst for the spread of the Gospel throughout the centuries. Let’s be active as Spirit-empowered ministers of the Gospel to share the hope of Jesus sacrificially as we encounter these challenges to our normal rhythms.

Thank you for your patience and understanding! We really want to engage these circumstances with an openness to how the Lord can use us to advance the Gospel. God is faithful! May His presence and power be with you all!

In His grace,
Your OCF Elders

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Additional Articles about the Biblical Response to COVID-19