Our church has been part of this community since 1855. Together, we have endured a Civil War, a couple of World Wars, the Spanish Flu, and many other difficult times. We love Verona and feel grateful to be part of this growing community.

I wanted to write a short letter of encouragement to our community, assuring you that we will get through the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, there will be discomfort, pain, and suffering along the way. However, strength comes through adversity, and hope comes through suffering.

Good coming from bad is at the core of the Christian faith. Biblical examples such as Joseph, Moses, and David all show how God took adverse circumstances and used them for good.

The most excellent example of hope through suffering is Jesus’ death on the cross. With the Easter holiday right around the corner, we should remember Jesus’ example. Jesus’ unjust death meant that we do not have to pay for our sins if we follow Him. Hope through suffering.

I believe that our community will become stronger because of COVID-19. I don’t have a lot of space in this letter to explore how I think our community is growing stronger, but I do want to share two examples:

1. Families are spending more time together. A concern of mine has been the lack of quality time for families. Packed calendars and career pursuits have too often chipped away at quality family interaction. I know that the extra time together will not always be pleasant, but it will strengthen families.

2. People are concerned about each other. I’ve seen several posts on social media of people willing to help each other during this difficult time. Whether it is supporting local businesses or offering to go shopping for elderly neighbors, I’m seeing people pull together. Caring for each other is how we will get stronger through this difficulty. Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves becomes even more impactful during times of crisis.

Be encouraged! We will get through this together and become stronger because of it!

As a pastor, I believe the Christian faith gives answers to the questions that come up during these difficult times. Please send me an email at jeremy@mbcverona.org if you have questions about God, His role in all of this, or if you would like someone to pray with you.

It would be my honor to talk with you.

Jeremy Scott

Lead Pastor, Memorial Baptist Church

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.