Updated Thursday, May 14, 2020
Listen to the audio below for an update from Lead Pastor Mark Vance on how Cornerstone is preparing to reopen, discussed during our Town Hall meeting on May 13, 2020.
Linked below are the referenced documents outlining Cornerstone’s approach to reopening:
Although some restrictions have been lifted for religious organizations in the state of Iowa, we will continue to hold services online until further notice.
Why are we taking the step to cancel services?
Our primary motivations to cancel services are two-fold: first, submission to governing authorities and second, love for our neighbor.
As the coronavirus pandemic has grown worldwide and in our country, public health officials have encouraged measures to slow the spread of the disease. One of the keys to containment of this disease and limitation of community spread is the practice of social distancing. In particular, the risk of widespread transmission of this disease is increased when large groups of people gather. Even if the risk of infection is low in our local community, when strong methods of intervention are adopted widely there is a greater opportunity to lower the total number of infections and the overall death rate in our state and country.
Additionally, while the full extent of the dangers of this disease are still being uncovered, it is clear that COVID-19 presents a significant health danger to vulnerable members of our community – namely the elderly and immunocompromised. To quote our friends from The Austin Stone Church, “As Christians, we are called by Jesus to care for and defend the vulnerable. In cancelling our worship gathering, we can actively fight to slow the spread of COVID-19. Cancelling our worship services can give health professionals more time to prepare and care for those who are most at risk from the virus.”
How long do we anticipate cancelling public services?
As long as we remain in the “Slow the Spread” phase of public response, Cornerstone Church will remain online-only. In consideration for when is responsible to re-open public services, we are looking to state and local health officials as well as watching for a sustained decrease in cases and deaths in our state and region, per the White House’s established guidelines (See https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/).
Once we take steps to re-open public gatherings, we anticipate re-opening will happen gradually and with specific social distancing measures required. To get a general idea on the sort of safety, measures we will take as a church, this recent article on the Gospel Coalition gives some helpful insight: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/cdc-document-outlines-guidance-for-reopening-of-churches/
As we move to re-open, we will continue to stress the need for individuals to behave with wisdom and discretion. Especially for any members of our congregation who are part of a more vulnerable group, we will strongly encourage them to continue to attend church online.
What ministries are impacted by Coronavirus cancellations?
To limit large group gatherings, beginning Saturday, March 14, 2020, all public ministries of Cornerstone Church will be cancelled and will be made available online where appropriate. This includes Celebrate Recovery, equipping classes, women’s Bible studies, youth ministries (180 & Escape22), and Salt Company. You can refer to our website and social media pages for more specific information as to how each ministry will function.
At this time, our church offices are closed to all non-essential staff and the Cornerstone Counseling Center is now providing services via Teletherapy (video-conferencing).
How can I continue to give to Cornerstone Church while we are not gathering for services?
Your giving continues to be an important act of worship. You can continue to faithfully give online or by mail.
To give online, simply visit www.cornerstonelife.com/give .
If you prefer to give by mail, you can send checks payable to “Cornerstone Church” and mail to: Cornerstone Church, 56829 U.S. Hwy 30, Ames, IA 50010.
Where can I get solid information about the Coronavirus?
The following websites publish responsible and helpful information on public health and the spread of the Coronavirus:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Page – cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map – coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
- White Corona Virus Information — https://www.coronavirus.gov/
For specific to Iowa information, we regularly consult our state-specific Coronavirus website at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/ .
How should I respond personally to this crisis?
On the level of personal physical health, we would urge you to follow the normal health precautions encouraged by the CDC, to wash your hands regularly and stay home if you are feeling ill. In particular, you should strictly follow these guidelines if you are part of an at-risk population.
On the level of spiritual health, we need to lean on God’s truth to settle our hearts and guide us in trying times. Several truths can be a helpful reminder.
First, Romans 8:18-23 reminds us that all of creation is infected by the disease of the sin curse.
The sobering reality of this pandemic is a reminder that we live in a sin-cursed and fallen world. Suffering reminds us to cry out for Jesus to return to conquer the curse fully.
Second, Revelation 21:1-5 reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus is God’s guarantee that one day He will fully conquer sin and death! One day Jesus will come again and there will be no suffering, no sickness, and no death. We have a hope beyond the trials of this present age.
Third, in moments of anxiety and worry, Matthew 6:25-34 reminds us that we have a Father in heaven who knows our needs and cares for us personally.
Fourth, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 reminds us to pray. We should pray for the sick and for endurance for medical professionals who will provide care. We should pray for wisdom for government officials. We should pray for one another in the body of Christ. We should pray that God would use this crisis to call people to Himself.
Finally, work to stay connected to one another in spite of social distancing. Even if we’re unable to gather as a full church body, we can stay connected to one another through calls, texts, and small group gatherings where appropriate.
MARCH 22, 2020
In light of the coronavirus pandemic and public health crisis, the elders of Cornerstone Church have decided to cancel all public services effective Saturday, March 14, 2020 and move to online-only services for the foreseeable future at Cornerstone Church.
During this time, we will be sharing worship and teaching online.
- For Sunday worship, join us online on Sundays at 8:45a and 10:45a at cornerstonelife.com/live or by searching “Cornerstone Church of Ames” on Facebook or YouTube.
- To stay up to date on the latest information from Cornerstone Church, subscribe to our newsletter.
- You can access our most recent worship services at any time by going to cornerstonelife.com/latest-resources.
- Podcast: Our Sunday teachings and additional equipping resources are available in podcast form.
While we will not gather as a large group during this time, we would encourage you to use these online resources individually, with your family, and with your friends. Share these resources widely! We know that listening to or watching sermons online is not a substitute for the gathered church, but we hope these resources serve you well in these unique times.
Cancelling public worship services is a difficult and unusual step in difficult and unusual times. We believe it is the wisest and most loving course of action we can take as a church. We are praying we will be able to resume worship together soon. And more importantly, we are praying that God would work for His glory through it all.