March 28, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

“For the Church” is the motto for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. What do you believe about the church? Is the church a divinely ordained institution or a voluntary society of like minded individuals? If one views the church as a voluntary society of like minded individuals, then it is not absolutely necessary, other things may be more important than attending the church. However, if one views the church as a divinely ordained institution, then the church is the life blood of a christian while on the earth. I was just looking at a series of emails from our pastor, Phillip Dancy, the Pastor of Sylvania Church in Tyler, Texas, emails from one year ago. With great anguish and with much prayerful consideration, the elders decided to not hold Sunday schools or corporate worship service on March 15, 2020, do to the corona virus pandemic. For several weeks our pastor preached sermons via Facebook live and this was an undertaking because we had never videoed and broadcasted a sermon prior to this date. For several weeks we would not meet together corporately and even when we began to have corporate worship meetings, we were separated and many of us wore masks. It would be several months (the end of 2020) before Sunday school classes would resume. Many in the church did not see the need for the precautions and would not wear a mask in attendance and others had great concern, because of the individuals not wearing masks, they stayed away. This has been a very difficult time in the life of the church and a very difficult time in our lives as well because I do not view the church as a social club but as a divinely ordained institution, the church is the life blood of believers while we abide on the earth. It is through the church that people are taught doctrine, are baptized, and eat the Lord’s supper. When corporate worship services resumed, Darlene and I were in attendance, but when Sunday school classes resumed, we were not. I am a Registered Nurse and I work in the Intensive Care Unit. I had knowledge of what the corona virus was doing to people and many individuals who were not in the hospital did not see. It has been very difficult to be separated and especially during the difficult season of life that Darlene and I are going through with our children. Today, Lord willing, Darlene and I will be returning to a Sunday morning class at Sylvania Church and I for one am looking forward to it because the church is a divinely ordained institution and is therefore the life blood of the christian while abiding on the earth.

Michael Peek, BSN, RN, MTS