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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

The Cross and the Crown

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Thankfully the season of spring is upon us. Trust me, it IS coming! All the signs of new life can be seen in cherry tree blossoms and blooming daffodils. I am so thankful for the change of season and a shift to lighter, dryer, and warmer days! With this brings the realization that the Easter celebration is only a few short weeks away! I want to warn you: we as a staff are planning for a party! Light has conquered darkness, death and the grave are defeated, and new life, through the resurrection of Jesus, is available to all.

Our Easter weekend at SDBC will be an incredible time of worship, reflection, and celebration. We have entitled this year's theme, The Cross and The Crown. On Good Friday we will contemplate the Cross, and all that Jesus did for us, journeying towards the darkness of the grave. On Easter Sunday, we will celebrate the One who wears the Crown, who dwells in unapproachable light, the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS. This will be a fantastic party that we, as a whole church family, will experience. We are excited for baptisms, times of worship, pancake breakfasts, and kids running around with huge chocolate covered smiles on their faces!

Invite cards will be available this Sunday at the Spotlight Table for you to pick up and give to your friends and neighbours! Please be praying for opportunities to connect people with the gospel…the great news of Jesus and his resurrection.

For all the details on our Easter weekend celebrations, visit our Easter page.

Posted by Jayson Oldham

A Story of Service

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I first came to SDBC in the mid 1980s, when the church was on 11A Street, after receiving an invitation from one of my grade 7 students at English Bluff Elementary School to attend a service where teachers were being honoured. In the early 1990s, Shirley and I, our children, and my mother began attending SDBC. We had moved from Richmond where we attended Broadmoor Baptist. However, for too many years we enjoyed the morning service and other special events at SDBC without being connected to the greater fellowship of believers.

That changed with an invitation to attend a men's bible study. Not long after, our group was challenged to reach out to the community and to serve those that needed help. The Helps Ministry that was a result of this challenge, led by Dave Sowerby, helped many people in Tsawwassen, Ladner, and beyond move from one accommodation to another. At the end of each move, the group would pray for the family and bless their new space. The team of helpers impacted many people and built strong relationships among themselves that continue to this day.

When I retired, I was introduced to Stephen Ministry by Rebecca van den Brink and Pastor Paul Johnson. Twelve years later I am one of a team of leaders for this compassionate ministry. As you may know, Stephen Ministers come alongside people experiencing a challenging time in their life. God has blessed this ministry with exceptional people who have volunteered countless hours to serve their care receivers. Stephen Ministers, because of the hours spent together dealing with very emotional situations, have developed a strong bond that will last a long time.

As a young boy, I watched my dad use his skills as a carpenter and home builder to volunteer not only at First Baptist in Vancouver but at Beulah Gardens Retirement Centre, also in Vancouver, and at Keats Camp on the Sunshine Coast. Today, I see the men in our bible study use their gifts to serve as caterers in the kitchen, babysitters for Moments for Moms, servers for the community dinners and Senior Scene luncheons, ushers at the morning service, and story tellers for Kids ministry. We serve not only to be connected to the faith community but because God tells us to love one another. There's no better way to love than to serve one another. Don't wait to be invited. Seek out an existing opportunity or create a new opportunity to serve God by serving others.

If you are interested in getting connected and serving at SDBC, visit our website.

Posted by Doug Thomson

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