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Community Amidst Our Current Reality

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With the current situation around COVID-19 and the comprehensive measures taken by our province and by the federal government to minimize the transmission of the virus, we are experiencing different lives than what we have grown accustomed to. Our social contact has been significantly limited, and many services and businesses have closed their doors indefinitely until things get better. As Christians, we believe that things will get better even when we go through what seems like the darkest of times. Our very faith depends on a belief in the resurrection, which means that God is powerful enough to bring a dead person back to life. If God can raise the dead, he can surely bring us out of these challenging times. Let's not lose hope; let's continue to place our trust in our powerful God. If you haven't already, I encourage you—especially as you face physical, social, and financial challenges—to read Philippians 4:6-7 and James 1:2-4; our staff went through these passages together, and we found them to be good reminders of how we must move forward in times like these.

In light of recent government restrictions and regulations, we are actively participating in minimizing the transmission of the virus in our community. Most of our rentals and regular gatherings at the church have been cancelled or postponed until further notice. We have also shifted our regular workflow and have closed our office physically. Our office hours will remain the same, M-TH; 9AM-4PM, with phone lines still open, but with staff working more remotely. The drop box for giving will remain open during office hours. Please check our website for frequent updates.

We're also working on virtual gatherings hosted online in a time of social isolation. Using technology that is available to us, we want to help our community groups and ministries to provide virtual gatherings using video conferencing platforms. These gatherings will include bible studies, prayer meetings, and Q&A sessions. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, or a computer to join these virtual gatherings in the comfort of your home. Our first virtual gathering will be on March 25th (Wednesday) at 4PM. You can click on this link at 4PM on March 25th and you will be able to access a Q&A session with some of our staff and ministry leaders (use Meeting ID: 711 547 610). I will share a short devotional, we will answer any questions you may have during this time, and we will spend some time praying for our church and our community. Please join us for this virtual gathering. If you have any questions on how you can join this online gathering, please call our church office during office hours (M-TH; 9AM-4PM) or email Mary Grierson, our Community Life Coordinator.

I miss you all very much. I wish we could be together on Sundays, but I am also thankful that we have the technology to help us connect even in times like this. May God protect you and lead you; may he speak truth to you and comfort you.

Blessings,
Paul

Posted by Paul Park

Persevering Together

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Many things have changed in the last few days. As a church family, we believe that we are called to love and serve one another and our greater community, especially in these challenging times. Even if we cannot gather in groups, there are still ways to reach out for help if you need it and there are ways to serve if you are able.

As a response to the growing needs in our community, we are going to be starting up two COVID-19 initiatives as a church body. These initiatives will allow us to love one another, serve one another, and stay connected in the midst of everything going on in our world. 

Phone Tree Initiative
Our first initiative is a phone tree. A phone tree is a system of making regular phone calls to each other to stay connected. We will be organizing this phone tree in order to reach out to those in our congregation and community who are unable to leave their house for various reasons, such as self-isolation. This initiative will allow us to stay in community with one another, enjoying fellowship, and spurring one another on in love as we trust in God's plan. If you are interested in receiving regular calls from our SDBC Phone Tree team please fill out the online form (link below). You can also sign up by calling the church office at 604-943-8244.

Sign up to receive calls

Grocery and Supplies Initiative
The second initiative we will be starting is one that will allow us to deliver food and supplies to those who are unable to leave their homes. No matter what stage of social distancing we get to, we all need to purchase food and supplies. This initiative does not need to involve any direct contact or entering anyone's home. Rather, it can be as straightforward as receiving a grocery list, picking the groceries up, and delivering them to the recipient's front door. It is simply a way that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus by meeting tangible needs in this time. If you have any grocery or supply needs, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sign up to receive grocery delivery

If you are able to help pick-up and deliver groceries and supplies, please email me.

As we continue to run this race and press forward together in unity and love, let us remember this charge in Hebrews 12: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

May our community come to know Jesus through the love and care we have for one another.

Posted by Mary Grierson

SDBC's Response to COVID-19: Update

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As we mentioned yesterday in our newsletter article, we have been monitoring the current COVID-19 situation carefully, and the most recent announcement from Adrian Dix (Minister of Health) and Dr. Bonnie Henry (Chief Health Officer of B.C.) provides an insight into our provincial government and health authorities' plans to contain and minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus in British Columbia. As a part of their effort to protect our most vulnerable citizens from this virus, our provincial government is directing all organizations to cancel any gathering that involves more than 250 people. Here is an excerpt from the announcement from yesterday:

Effective today, we are also directing all event organizers to cancel any gathering larger than 250 people. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings or other similar events. This threshold has been selected, as it is much easier to maintain important social distancing to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

As our Sunday morning gatherings involve more than 250 people, we are making plans to cooperate with our government and health authorities to keep our community safe. Our Sunday morning services will not be held at our church facilities for the next few weeks until further notice is given. Instead of gathering as a large group at our church building, we're encouraging our church family to gather with their community groups and/or friends in smaller numbers to worship God and enjoy fellowship. This experience of church may be unfamiliar to some of us, but the intimate experience of gathering with brothers and sisters in our homes will be similar to how home churches gathered in the early church. On Sunday morning, at 10AM, you will be able to access a video service including songs of worship, church announcements, and the sermon. Please visit our website to access this video on Sunday morning. You can turn this video on and enjoy the service with others, and then have a time of meaningful prayer and fellowship.

If you're sick or have any symptoms of coughing, sneezing, or other flu like symptoms, we ask you to stay home and enjoy the video service at home. If you're at high risk of the virus and would like to stay at home to enjoy the video service, please feel free to do so. The bible calls us to be mindful of others and to care for them. "Count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3b-4). Let us live in obedience to this teaching in these challenging times, and put others' interest before our own to keep our community safe. Here are a couple recommendations from the Fellowship Pacific and the BC government on how we can serve the community at this time:

  • Contact and interact with those who may become quarantined or choose to stay at home because they are in a high-risk category. Specifically, it might be good to find a way for younger people to ensure the elderly know how to use the video call functions on their phones or computers so that they are able to have face-to-face contact with others in the church. Then, try to ensure that there is a system in place to maintain social contact with those in isolation.
  • The government leaders asked that faith communities arrange to deliver groceries or to pick up necessary prescriptions for those that need the help.

If you feel led to serve your neighbours in this way, please take the opportunity to be missional during this time. And please remember that as Christians, we do not operate out of fear. We live with confidence and hope because our God is trustworthy and faithful. This is an opportunity to demonstrate our calm, respectful, and loving response to our current challenges. May our God protect you, be with you, and lead you to live with hope and joy.

Posted by Paul Park

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