8/21/2020

To the West Missionary Church Family:
 
On August 18, the Adams County Health Officer, Dr. Michael Ainsworth issued a “Face Covering Mandate” which states, “Every individual over the age of two (2) years must properly wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are at:
1. An indoor area open to the public, including public transportation;
2. An outdoor public area where a distance of 6 feet from individuals outside of their household cannot be maintained; or
3. A private indoor or outdoor area where a distance of 6 feet from individuals outside of their household cannot be maintained.
The above conditions apply to all gatherings, including retail businesses, restaurants, churches; schools and social gatherings.”
 
Because West Missionary Church believes that the Bible is God’s authoritative message to all believers, we have endeavored to comply with the directives of those in authority over us. (Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is not authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment upon themselves.) This passage was written to Jews who hated the Roman government. It was not likely a popular instruction, but it was God’s instruction to the Jews of that time and to us.
 
The exception to this instruction to submit to those in authority over us would be in cases when civil authorities command us to do what is contrary to God’s commands. (Acts 5:27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”)
So our question comes down to this: Does the Adams County Health Officer’s mandate to wear a mask rise to the level of requiring “civil disobedience” in order to be obedient to God? Would wearing a mask at WMC be sinful? As an American citizen, I may question whether or not this mandate is right, or violates my rights. But from a strictly biblical perspective, I cannot say that complying with a Face Covering Mandate would be sinful.
 
WMC cannot encourage the willful disobedience to the instruction of Romans 13. We therefore encourage face coverings to be worn at public services at WMC. We realize that there are intense opinions on both sides of the masking issue. The intensity of our love for each other must exceed the intensity of our opinions about the effectiveness of wearing masks. This is yet another opportunity to live out the reality of our faith. To love one another as God has commanded requires that we act in loving ways toward our brothers and sisters in Christ – even toward those who disagree with us.
 
May the Lord bless you, keep you safe and give peace!
 
Pastor Keith J. Rupp
 
*This statement was developed after consultation with Adams County Health officials, attorneys, insurance agents and the WMC Church Council.
 

 

8/13/2020

To the West Missionary Church Family:

Beginning this Sunday, August 16, we are pleased to offer Nursery services during our 10:00 Worship service, for newborns up to 2 year olds, and Children’s Church for children from 2 years old to 1st grade.  Temperatures of staff and children will be checked upon arrival.  Adult leaders will be wearing protective masks but children are not required to do so.  We look forward to the opportunity to invest in the spiritual formation of your children each week.  Please contact Michelle Wolf, jmwolf@adamswells.com, with any questions.

Sunday School classes will not be meeting this Sunday, but we look forward to the resumption of classes in the near future. 

Within the challenges of dealing with the Coronavirus, God is still working in our lives.  We can learn much about trusting God through the uncertainties of our circumstances.  Thank-you for your continued patience as we seek God’s daily leading for WMC!

May God bless you as only He can!

-Pastor Keith J. Rupp

 

7/30/2020

To the West Missionary Church Family:

On July 24, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s issued a new face covering requirement for the State of Indiana.  This communication is intended to clarify how this mandate will affect services at West Missionary Church. 

Here is the Governor’s statement regarding his Face Covering Requirement as it pertains to churches:

  1. Exemptions to Wearing face coverings: The following people are exempt from this directive to wear a face covering but are strongly encouraged to do so if practical and without undue risk, or alternately, are strongly encouraged to wear a face shield.
      1.   ANY PERSON ATTENDING OR ENGAGED IN A RELIGIOUS SERVICE AS HE OR SHE MUST ALREADY MAINTAIN SIX FEET OF SOCIAL DISTANCING FROM ANOTHER PERSON NOT IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD. 

           (from Executive Order 20 – 37)

Whether or not you wear a mask at WMC is up to your discretion.  If you feel that you can socially distance while at WMC, you are not required to wear a mask.  If you do not feel that you can socially distance while at WMC, we encourage you to wear a mask.  

This Sunday, August 2, we plan to open two “overflow rooms” to assist your efforts to socially distance.  The service will be available via a monitor in each room.  One of these rooms is classroom #107 behind the kitchen.  This room is equipped with tables with 6 – 8 chairs at each table.  The other room is Room #106 and is equipped with rows of chairs.  These chairs can be arranged to allow for social distancing.  

Face masks and hand sanitizer will be available at the Welcome Center.

Thank-you for your patience and your efforts to keep everyone healthy.  We look forward to worshiping together on Sunday!  Have a blessed day!

Pastor Keith J. Rupp
 
 
 

5/12/20

TO THE WEST MISSIONARY CHURCH FAMILY:
West Missionary Church has been closed for public worship for the past eight weeks in compliance with government recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. The State of Indiana has now given approval for churches to re-open with social distancing in place. We look forward to worshipping together in person on May 17 at 10:00 am, with safety precautions in place!
There is risk to everything in life. We take a risk every time we get up out of bed. We take a risk every time we leave the house. We take a risk every time we get in a car. We cannot totally eliminate the risk from Covid-19 and other illnesses, but we can minimize the risk. As we begin to meet together again in this transition period, we plan to minimize your risk from COVID-19 by implementing the following measures:
 
  • We will station friendly greeters at each entrance to open the door for you so everyone doesn’t have to touch the same door handles.
  • We will station ushers at the exits with offering plates, so we don’t all touch the same offering plates.
  • We will encourage everyone to use hand sanitizer as you enter and leave the buildings.
  • We will encourage you to sit together with your household, but to socially distance from others, by only using every other pew. Please only sit in the pews marked with a green, orange or pink sticker
  • We will encourage those who aren’t feeling well and those who are at high risk to stay home and watch the service online. (see note 1)
  • We will sanitize frequently touched surfaces.
  • We will not hold Sunday School classes or Children’s church in this transition period.
  • We will plan to limit services to approximately 40 – 45 minutes, and include a children’s portion of the service.
  • We will ask that you do not arrive before 9:50 am unless you have responsibilities requiring you to arrive earlier.
  • We will plan to meet in the sanctuary building and the gymnasium building if necessary, to accommodate social distancing.
  • We request that you sign up online on the WMC website, or by calling the church office at 334-5451, if you plan to attend this Worship Service so we can make appropriate plans for social distancing. We plan to continue to offer online services during this transition period. (see note 1)
  • Masks are welcomed and encouraged but not required.
  • Nursery services will not be provided, but the nursery will be available for your use.

Note 1 – Due to slow internet service, the online service may not be available until after 4:00 pm.

We want to make sure that you are aware that Governor Holcomb is asking that anyone 65 years of age or older, and those with health risks, would view services online.

For those who choose to stay home due to health concerns; we affirm your decision, and look forward to a time when we can all worship together in person again. We understand that different people have differing opinions on the timing and extent of re-opening WMC for public worship. We want each person to make the best decision for themselves. We would encourage you to extend God’s grace and Christ’s love to brothers and sisters whose opinions may not match yours.

Thank-you for your patience and your efforts to keep everyone safe during this transition period!

May the Lord bless you and keep you safe!

Pastor Keith J. Rupp

 
 
 
 
 
5/6/2020
 

To the West Missionary Church Family,

 

On May 1, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a COVID-19 update including the following statement: “Starting May 8th, for all 92 Indiana counties, indoor worship services may also convene, following specific social distancing guidelines – while those 65 and older and those at elevated risk will be asked to stay home. Our preference is that you continue virtual and outdoor services. And church leaders – we need you to keep your congregations safe.”

 

Though we would have loved to worship together on May 10, after careful consideration, we have decided to wait another week to ensure a safer, smoother transition. The May 10 service will be online only and available through the WMC website and Facebook page. Please monitor the WMC website and Facebook page for information regarding the May 17 service.

 

Extensive preparation will be necessary to sanitize and prepare for social distancing. Volunteers will be needed to implement our safety plans. This extra time before opening for public worship will increase our ability to keep people safe.

 

I would encourage you to accept this transition period as a time to exhibit an extra measure of God’s love and grace. There are many opinions about the Coronavirus and our nation’s response to it. Some think that it is all a hoax and a conspiracy to take away our freedoms. Some think that it isn’t taken seriously enough and that we’re all going to die if we don’t hide in a cave for the rest of our lives. There are many who have an opinion which falls between these two views. With all of the diverse and many times conflicting information that we hear from different sources, it is hard to know what to believe. If someone else’s opinion differs from yours, do not let it become a point of conflict between you and your brother or sister. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt . . .” Please pray for God’s leading and timing as we make plans to re-open for public worship.

 

I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss seeing you here at WMC! I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Pastor Keith

 
 
 
 
 
3/18/2020
 
To the WMC Family:

 

Due to directives from the President of the United States, the Center for Disease Control and local officials, West Missionary Church will not meet together for worship on March 22 or March 29. Instead, we encourage you to go to the main page of our website (westmissionarychurch.com), or our Facebook page, at 10:00 am or later, on Sunday morning to join our online worship service.

Some have asked about tithes and offerings when we are unable to meet together. Due to the fact that bills continue to arrive daily, we would ask that you send your checks to the church, 4295 State Road 218 W, Berne, IN 46711, or drop them off at the church office.

In times like these, we often find ourselves to be frustrated and fearful. It seems like we are powerless to stop this virus and all of its peripheral effects. In reality, though we may be unable to impact this situation in our human strength, we now have the opportunity to call upon an Almighty God to seek His help in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 invites us to come before the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. I am calling upon the WMC Family to mobilize in prayer. We cannot get together in a large group to pray, but we can agree to pray together at the same time from different locations. I would ask that the WMC Family would pray at 7:07 AM or 7:07 PM or both, throughout this crisis. Parents, be sure to include your children in these prayer times. Pray for:

  • Protection from the COVID-19 coronavirus
  • Healing for those who are sick
  • Those whose work and income are adversely affected
  • Healthcare professionals and first responders
  • Public health officials
  • Students who cannot attend classes
  • Residents quarantined in nursing homes and hospitals and their families
  • National leaders who are making decisions which affect us all
  • Those experiencing panic attacks and emotional trauma
  • WMC and its leaders

May we shine like stars in the current darkness. May the peace of God guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! (see Philippians 4:4-6)

-Pastor Keith J. Rupp