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.