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March 14, 2020
The spread of the coronavirus around the world and its immediate effects on the Austin and UT campus communities is unprecedented. It is scary, much about it is unknown, and it is invisible. It has now arrived on our doorstep as UT campus-related cases have emerged.
The leadership of the University Avenue Church of Christ has made the decision to suspend gatherings, including worship on Sunday morning, March 15, to do our part in helping mitigate the risk that COVID-19 poses to our community.
We do this as an act of solidarity with our city, our nation, and our world. We do this in accordance with the second most important commandment from Jesus Christ himself - to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Right now, loving our neighbor actually means staying where we are.
Staying where we are, rather than gathering in groups, is the best defense we have against the encroachment of a worldwide pandemic. Staying where we are is the best thing we can do to serve an overwhelmed healthcare system. Staying where we are is how we protect the most vulnerable among us. Staying where we is not an act of fear, but a wise response to a uniquely challenging circumstance.
Staying where we are is hard. We don't want anyone to be isolated and we will not sacrifice the community that Christ calls us to love. We now have new opportunities to practice community, even if that is without physically being with each other. We have great opportunities to love, to be connected by alternative means, and to help each other "not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6).