To My Dear Alpha Family,
As I celebrated my 6th year as Senior Pastor of Alpha this past Sunday, I reflected on the challenges, difficulties and blessings we have experienced during the past year of the pandemic. One year ago, who would have guessed all that we would have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We never
would have imagined that over 500,000 people would lose their lives from the virus, some of them our friends, relatives, and fellow church family. We never would have thought that the weekly tradition to attend Sundays and Wednesdays would be suddenly cancelled, and we would have experienced isolation, confinement, the wearing of masks and social distancing for over a year. Added to this, we also experienced deep political division, racial tension, riots in our streets and in our nation’s capital, and a general unrest in our hearts. But now we must slowly begin to pull ourselves together and move forward with the faith that is expected from all who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
I want to acknowledge and express my gratitude to so many of you who have continued to give liberally and cheerfully through your tithes and offerings to help sustain this great ministry during this time. Many of you have gone above and beyond the call of duty through your generosity to continue the work of the church. Thank you for continuing to live your faith by participating in works of mercy, continuing your prayer life, and taking opportunities to deepen your spiritual life through small groups, streamed celebrations and other devotions done in the silence of your homes.
Thank you for helping to keep the church alive and well despite all the hectic and unexpected roadblocks along the way. We all need to thank our ministers, deacons, staff and ministry leaders for their creativity, courage, great patience and dedication to us during the past year. They did an outstanding job moving ahead with all of the unknowns and changing instructions, making adjustments, implementing new directives, struggling to determine how to reach out and minister to congregants, who responded in heroic and selfless ways to ensure that the proclamation of the Gospel never stopped.
All of us were stretched beyond imagination and frustrated by the limitations of the past year. It was also difficult for me to deliver the Word without my church community. Through it all, however, God certainly did provide. God gave us what we needed, especially in the most difficult times. God remains a steadfast help in times of need. The cross of the past year, if we permitted it, made us people of deeper faith, closer as families, and more appreciative of church life.
But we are not quite done yet. Even though we are beginning to get this pandemic under control, the virus still remains, and we all need to remain vigilant in taking care of ourselves, getting vaccinated and applying the appropriate social distancing. The health and safety of everyone, especially those whose health is compromised in any way, is of extreme importance and these ordinary means of protecting life have proven to be helpful. Remember that patience is like all the virtues. It comes with practice. And, if these limitations and temporary requirements were a great burden to us, they were also the sufferings that we were able to endure and offer up for the salvation of souls, our own included.
Although the dispensation from the Sunday service remains in effect at the present time, we ask that you continue to make Sunday a day of prayer, rest, and family, and Wednesday Bible studies a spiritual commitment to grow even more as individuals and as a family. We will continue to offer live streaming through our church website www.alphaworship.org and, my personal Facebook page. However, as we begin to get outside of our homes, visit restaurants and attend sporting events, it will also become the time for us to return to our physical location to worship together, in-person.
Yes, there is hope on the horizon! As more and more people become immune to COVID-19, our churches, schools, and events are slowly returning to normal. I hope that we return to better than normal. I ask you to pray for that.
As your Senior Pastor, I thank you, the faithful, for your cooperation in this difficult and confusing time. I look forward to the days and months ahead trusting that we all may be one in our commitment to remain faithful to the Lord and supportive of each other.
We are in prayer, and in consultation with health authorities, of our return-to-church planning committee. We wanted to be sure to consider all of the precautionary measures and practices we must have in place for a joyous and safe return. In order for us to make a well-informed decision, we are asking that each of you participate in the following survey to help us discern your readiness to return to in-person gatherings and the conditions under which you are likely to feel comfortable enough to return, and to what extent you would be comfortable participating.
Again, we praise God for all of you and pray that you remain safe and uplifted as God is STILL GOOD!
God bless you and those you love.
Your Senior Pastor,
Dr. Chad T. Hinson, Sr.