Updated: March 17, 2020 | 5:00 PM

Dear CLA Family, The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a real threat. The Church Board and the CLA leadership are very aware of what is happening and we know that this situation is changing rapidly. If you have stayed connected to the news, you've seen a number of sporting events, public gatherings, schools all close their doors over the past few days.

I want to update you on our plans for this week and Sundays services. We have consulted with medical professionals, local leaders, church leaders in CT and around the country, and in light of the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided to provide our Sunday services online as we move through this unexpected season. The church building will be closed during our regularly scheduled Sunday service times, except for essential staff who will be leading the online worship services.

All normal classes and groups will be postponed as well, however the church building will remain open during normal business hours (Tuesday - Friday 9 AM - 3 PM) for individuals who want to come and pray in the sanctuary, receive counsel or drop off your offering. While saddened that we will not be able to gather physically like we normally do, we believe the health and safety of our community is a top priority.

Governor Lamont, through executive order this week, has banned all public gatherings of fifty people or more. There is NO longer a technical exemption for worship services. This is for ALL gatherings.

Romans 13 says that God has put the governing authorities in place, and as Christians we are responsible before God to follow the lead of the governing authorities so long as they aren’t trying to lead us to disobey God in some way. This is not an ethical issue; this is a health issue.

We understand this is a big shift, but we believe this is the wisest decision we can make in light of our concerns for your safety and for public health. Please, this Sunday, instead of coming to a service, join us at www.willimanticchurch.org Click on "Church Online."  The direct link is willimanticchurch.online.church.

Our service times will be 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM & 5 PM. I would encourage you to log in ten minutes before service starts because the chat lines will open up 10 minutes before and stay open 15 minutes after service. You will be able to chat via text with members in our church, our pastors and even request for special prayer. You will also be given an opportunity to give.

You will have the opportunity, in your own home, to worship together with our CLA family. Please hear me. We are not cancelling "church." We are just finding a new way to do ministry due to these unforseen circumstances because we believe that the church is bigger than the building. The church is the people and the families who follow Christ!

Also, I would encourage you to INVITE your family and your friends to join you online. I received numerous messages from our CLA members this past week of how our church online service ministered to people who have never even been to church. People are going to be looking to God for answers.

You will also be receiving communications from our Youth and Children's department regarding resources for the family. Be on the look out for that this week.

Additionally and most importantly, I am calling our church to PRAY. Pray for God to show mercy upon the United States of America. My prayer is that God will bring those who don't know Him into a loving relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. I will personally be organizing several prayer meetings a week. CLA will use www.Zoom.us as one of the platforms to create a sense of community and conduct some meetings during this crisis. Go ahead and download the app or make a bookmark on your computer. You will receive more information on this in the days to come.

Please join us together online. I’ll see you there.

Here are some next steps you can take to stay connected to the CLA family:

  • Log onto our website at service times: www.willimanticchurch.org.  Click "Church Online."
  • Find ways to connect: Consider inviting a few friends to your house to worship with you as you connect online (anyone who is sick or in a high-risk group should stay home).
  • Give: Part of our call to worship God comes through giving. Also, while the church will not be meeting together for a short time, the expenses still come. We need the church to be strong through to the other side. Click here to see how you can give.
  • Sign up for our newsletter: We are in fast changing times. Our newsletter will give you the most up to date information delivered straight to your inbox. Click here to sign-up.
  • Follow us on Instagram and Facebook | @CLA.Willimantic
  • Call our church office: If you have pastoral care or prayer needs, please call our church office, 860.423.4923 during normal business hours or email office@willimanticchurch.org and we will connect you to one of our pastors. This is the best time ever for all of us to be praying.

Be encouraged. GOD IS WITH YOU!

If you have time, I would encourage you to go to our Church Online site this week to view the message I ministered this past Sunday entitled, "Where Is God When You Need Him?" It is streaming 24/7.

This too will pass!

We love you! Every Soul Matters To God, Pastor Donnie J. Capps | Senior Pastor & Official Church Board