Coronavirus Updates

Here is where we will keep everyone up to date with all news regarding COVID-19.

March 27, 2020

Here is a list of  all the ways you can connect and participate in ministry at The Gathering during this time of social distancing

Worship: Worship online Sundays at 9am, 10:45am and 5pm on Facebook Live, YouTube or gatheringnow.org/ondemand. The entire service will remain on The Gathering OnDemand for you to watch or share whenever, wherever. Please continue to make Sunday worship a rhythm in your life. 

Gathering Kids: Follow Kids on Facebook or Instagram to get a link to this week’s bible story and to find the kids BINGO card activity to help them follow along during live online worship. You can also find these materials on our site

Gathering Students: Will host a live-streamed Thrive on Youtube Gathering Students on Sunday nights before CoreGroups. Middle schoolers start at 5pm, with high schoolers following at 5:30. 

CoreGroups: If you aren’t in a CoreGroup (small groups that meet throughout the week), now is a great time to jump in. New online groups are forming daily. You can join a group here. Or, if you need help finding a group reach out to Melissa Baum.

Giving: Your generosity is critical to our ministry during this time. If you haven’t done it, I encourage you to automate your monthly or weekly giving online or through automatic bill pay. You can also give anytime online to support The Gathering. If you have questions or problems setting this up, contact Dave Dietrich

Prayer and Care: Myself and all of our site pastors are here for you. That is why we are starting virtual Coffee with the Pastors. If you need to talk, want one of us to pray with you, or are struggling in any way, sign up to talk to one of us here.

Connect: Next week I am hosting NEXT: ONLINE – a virtual event to help new people learn more about and connect to The Gathering. If you have been worshiping with us, this is a great next step. Sign up here.

Serve: Following Jesus means being in service to one another, especially during times of crisis. We have added a feature to our app that allows you to post a need and/or fulfill a need. You can also check out our Website here for a list of specific needs within the St. Louis community.  

March 19, 2020

Dear Gathering,

It is hard to believe that just a week ago most of us were going about our normal lives. The arrival of the Coronavirus and the health and safety guidelines that come with trying to slow its spread have changed almost everything about our day-to-day. 

Our mission at The Gathering is to invite new people to become deeply committed followers of Christ. Our vision is to create a Christian community that is compelling for new generations of people in St. Louis. We believe our city needs our church now more than ever. While our mission and vision remain constant, we have to change how we do it. We need to figure out new ways to be the church together. Staff and leaders have been hard at work to make sure we can still worship, learn in CoreGroups, give, serve and pray. I want to share how:

Worship: We have suspended all in-person, live worship services at all of our sites and are having online worship only through April 3. We are making slight changes to our online worship each week so that it includes incredible music, an inspiring message, and ways for us to interact together. Please continue to make Sunday worship a rhythm in your life as we worship together. 

Worship online Sunday 9am,10:45am and 5pm on Facebook Live or gatheringnow.org/ondemand. The entire service will remain on The Gathering OnDemand for you to watch whenever, wherever throughout the week. Our pastors will be moderating the Facebook Live service so you’ll have a chance to say hi, ask questions, or share prayer needs.

CoreGroups: Meeting in CoreGroups is more important now than ever before. This is how we can stay connected and pray for each other. We now have a way for all CoreGroups (including students) to meet virtually through zoom. CoreGroup hosts will receive instructions today and we are always here to help you set it up. If you need to connect with a group, you can find the open CoreGroups here and if you have any other questions, just contact Melissa.

Giving: Your generosity, especially during times of adversity, is what allows us to offer hope, community, and the love of Christ to people. Many of you give online already but some of us love to give when we come to worship. Unfortunately, right now that isn’t possible. So I encourage you to automate your monthly or weekly giving online or through automatic bill pay. You can also give anytime online to support The Gathering. If you have questions or problems setting this up, contact Dave Dietrich. Make giving part of the way you stay engaged as it is so critical during this time. 

Prayer and Care: We know that this is a season of great anxiety and hardship for many. We are here to help. Sign up for our Lent devotional to stay connected to God through scripture. You can submit your prayer requests online. We want to connect with you so if you want to talk to one of our pastors, email our care ministry.

Kids and Students: We are working on creative ways to stay engaged with kids and students. Like and follow Gathering Kids and Gathering Students on Instagram and Facebook. We will be sharing fun ways your child can continue to learn about and experience the love of God and we are working on a Sunday morning kids ministry experience so stay tuned. 

Connect: If you are new to The Gathering or want to connect during this time of social distancing start right here.  We are working on an online version of NEXT- a virtual event that will orient you to The Gathering and help you get connected. We’ll share details on social media and our website soon. I’m hosting it so I’d love to see you!  If at any time you need to connect or talk with someone, you can contact our connections team here.

Serve: We are working with our Literacy Project partner schools to identify ways to serve kids in our city. Right now, the best way to help is through monetary and food donations to Operation Food Search, St. Louis Area Foodbank, or the SLPS Foundation so that we can support families who need meals. They also have a few opportunities to volunteer. Take this time to reach out to your neighbors, friends, CoreGroup members, and local businesses to see how you can best support one another. We may be physically distancing ourselves but let’s stay relationally connected to others. We are in this together! 

I will be updating you weekly through this mNote as we continue to respond to any changes and adapt our ministries. Now is the time to download The Gathering App if you don’t have it. The app will be regularly updated and is the best place to connect with our church. Stay tuned to email and social media for more updates. You can also find the latest updates anytime on our website.

Gathering, this time is hard for all of us. But remember – we are in this together and God is with us. We will be shaped, tested, and ultimately strengthened by this time of adversity. My simple reminder for today – look for the good, pay attention to the daily gifts, and remember that right now God is at work in your life and our life together. My encouragement for today – please stay connected. We will get through this together, and we will be stronger because of it. I love and appreciate all of you.

Peace,

Matt

p.s. If you need to talk to someone or have a question and don’t know who to contact, just email one of our site pastors or staff. We are still here to serve, connect and pray for you. I will see you all in worship on Sunday…virtually!

 

March 13, 2020

Gathering,

The situation surrounding COVID-19 is changing daily. This afternoon, our leadership team made the decision to suspend all live services at all three of our sites this weekend and hold online worship only. We will be reevaluating this decision week to week as we monitor updates from health and community officials regarding strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

This is only the second time in 13 years that The Gathering has not had live worship on Sunday. I know that worship and the community that you experience here is vital to so many of you. It is a critical part of my life each week. So while this decision was hard, we believe it is the best way for us to show care and compassion for people in our church and throughout our region. 

The good news is that we will have online worship this weekend with incredible music and a much needed message of hope in this time of fear and anxiety. We hope you will join us and don’t forget to spread the word and share on social media so that everyone knows. Consider inviting a friend who might need an encouraging word to join us online as well.

When and Where to Watch: Sunday 9am and 10:45am on Facebook Live or the gatheringnow.org/ondemand. The service will remain on The Gathering OnDemand to watch whenever, wherever. 

I would rather be with you in person, but we also know that no matter where we worship, God will show up. Whether we are all together in a church building or scattered in our homes, The Gathering will continue to worship God, pray for our world, and serve our neighbors.

Stay tuned on email and on social media for more updates. You can also find the latest updates anytime at gatheringnow.org/coronavirus.

We will reevaluate the decision to suspend in-person worship on a weekly basis. I’ll also be sharing ways  that you can give and serve others during this unique time in our world. Thank you for all you do and know that I am praying with and for you. 

Peace,
Matt

 

March 12, 2020

Gathering,

We are all getting flooded with messaging surrounding COVID-19, and here at The Gathering we are committed to being a source of calm and hope during these anxious times. Due to the current public health concerns, we have decided to change our Easter plans. We will shift from our large scale, Easter gathering at the Chaifetz Arena to Easter worship that will happen at our sites during normal times. We will also live stream worship that morning on FB and our website. This decision was difficult and disappointing, but I believe it is the right one. While we don’t want to operate out of a place of fear, we want to take the necessary measures to keep everyone as healthy as possible and to care for one another.

As news and recommendations develop, we will make adjustments to worship gatherings, beginning this Sunday. This weekend we plan to have worship and you will notice some visible changes. We will not hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer and we will not practice communion, instead replacing that time with prayers and reflection. There also will be no coffee/tea/food served (I know, probably the biggest sacrifice). We will adjust these practices as recommendations from health officials change.

While COVID-19 is impacting our day to day lives in real and significant ways, there are many things you can do to remain engaged at The Gathering either through our website or our app:

-Download The Gathering App. This tool is specifically designed to help you engage in our Five Shared Practices anywhere and anytime.

-Worship weekly, either in person, or via live streaming of our 9am and 10:45am McCausland worship services on Facebook or our website. After Sunday morning, anyone can access a recording of our service anytime OnDemand through the app or on our website. So, you will always have the option to worship remotely.

-Pray for the ceasing of the spread of the coronavirus, for people who are victims of the virus, and for your neighbors who may feel lonely, isolated, and fearful. If you need prayer, you can submit a prayer request on our app or website in the Prayer & Care section.

-Gather in your CoreGroups and commit personally to daily study, reading of scripture, and prayer. If you aren’t following our Lenten Devotional, start now! (also on the app and website in the CoreGroups section).

-Practice generosity. Help others in need. Share what you have. And continue to give to The Gathering online — you guessed it, on the app or the website in the Give section.

While times like this can be scary and uncertain, they remind us of our connection to one another and provide an opportunity to demonstrate our faith in God. Take care of yourself and your family, but also resist the urge toward self-centeredness. This is a time when God calls those who are able to care for and minister to the people around us. We rely on scripture to guide and comfort us. Today, I am reflecting on the words of Paul, words that were written for times like this:

Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4.4-7)

I pray that this can be my way of life, and it is my prayer for all of you. Be well and I will see you this weekend, in person or online!

Peace,
Matt