In-Person Services Cancelled This Sunday - Join us online at 11am

The last 24 hours have no doubt been a whirlwind for all of us. Our RockPoint leadership team has spent most of those hours in meetings, on phone calls, listening to press conferences and doing research. Making decisions around whether or not to have services on Sunday in the current context of the imminent spread and impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our state and city is not something we take lightly.

This situation is unprecedented and extremely fluid, with new information coming out constantly. While our hope was to continue with regularly scheduled services this Sunday, new information has changed the situation.

·      Hamilton County Schools have closed for the rest of the month.
·      The President has declared a national state of emergency. The City of Chattanooga has joined the State of Tennessee in declaring a state of emergency.
·      The Mayor has canceled all large public gatherings requiring a permit.
·      He has strongly encouraged everyone in Chattanooga to do everything we can to reduce density.
·      I spoke to someone who works at the CDC who pointed me to important public announcements they have made explaining why “Social Distancing” is so important now, even before the virus affects our city.

The consistent message we are receiving from health and government officials is that while we cannot avoid the spread of the virus, it is incredibly important to slow that spread. The danger that we face is if it spreads as quickly as it did in Italy, the need for healthcare will outpace our city’s ability to meet that need. This will lead to more severe consequences and the likelihood of more deaths to those who are at higher risk in our community. A doctor at Erlanger told me that Chattanooga’s hospitals are excellent but they serve people in a huge radius (sometimes 2 hours away), making the importance of “flattening the curve” even more significant.

The following graphic depicts this clearly:
Something we talk about all the time as a church is how we Love Chattanooga well. Honestly, that is our primary reason for deciding to cancel in-person services this Sunday. The reality is that this virus spreading is upon us, and while it will not affect most of us in any significant way, unless we help slow the spread through social distancing, according to all the information we currently have, it will severely affect those who are most at risk. We believe the best way to Love Chattanooga is to respect our mayor’s advice, join in the effort to reduce density and not gather large crowds together in one place. Again, this is not a decision made out of fear, but out of love for our neighbors and love for the people in our city.

In place of in-person services this Sunday we are planning an online service at 11am. We would like to invite you join us at home as we connect, worship and focus on an incredibly loving Heavenly Father who is not surprised by any of this.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate uncharted territory as a church. We are extremely grateful for this amazing community of people and we look forward to connecting in person again soon.

We will keep you updated with more information as it comes available.

Justin Grunewald