All Wilshire public gatherings suspended

by | Mar 13, 2020 | Uncategorized

Thursday, March 12, 2020. Based on the mounting evidence of concern about the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, we have made the difficult decision to suspend all public gatherings at Wilshire for at least the next week. Whether this suspension needs to be extended beyond this week hopefully will become clearer in the next few days.

What this means practically is that we will not conduct a public gathering for Sunday School or worship this Sunday, March 15. We will live stream a Sunday School class taught by Mark Wingfield at 9:45 a.m. and a worship service led by staff at 11:00 a.m. You may tune in to the live stream via our website at or via our YouTube channel at

Because the week ahead is spring break for many of our public schools, we already had canceled midweek activities. All other group gatherings for the week ahead will be canceled as well. We will make decisions about each week and each Sunday ahead as we are able.

Church offices will remain open on a regular schedule for now.

As you likely know, Wilshire is a church that attempts to preach faith over fear and not to overreact to those who would call us to be reactionary. In the present situation, our concern is that through our public gatherings, we could unintentionally cause people to become carriers of this virus even if they do not personally become ill. For the sake of the elderly, the medically fragile and all other vulnerable people, we believe it is necessary to help stem the tide of possible viral spread.

This situation is different than the Ebola episode we experienced in 2014. At that time, there was almost no possibility of the virus spreading throughout our city or our congregation because there had been only one exposure that was contained. Today, the stakes are higher because all people are potential targets of COVID-19 with much easier transmission.

With that in mind, however, please join me in pledging to be bearers of truthful and factual information, not hearsay and uninformed speculation from unreliable sources. As Christians, we must follow a higher standard of truth-telling and not be carried away by every wind of commentary that blows through.

In the midst of these times of crisis lies an opportunity to bear witness to our belief in God and science. The church is often portrayed as pitting religion against science, but times like these give us an opportunity to show that we believe in a God who teaches us to trust the truth wherever we find it — in Scripture or a science lab.

Our response to today’s crisis first should be grounded in love. And then it should be wrapped in compassion and tied up with the advice of 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”

Yes, we must encourage people to wash their hands. Yes, we must encourage those with a cough or fever to stay home. And yes, we need to protect the vulnerable, including young children and older adults and the immuno-compromised. But in doing this, we must not lead the parade of panic in the public square. We have the opportunity to be the calm leaders in a time of crisis. I invite you to join me in that spirit.

George Mason, senior pastor
Wilshire Baptist Church