The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
Friends, As a church staff we have been monitoring the viral situation, now escalated to a global pandemic. Before we get into how this will affect our church, please take heart. Many people in the world are living in terror and fear over this. May I remind you that this is not the first time the world has seen an illness? In fact, it is not the first time God’s people have seen similar. Israel was born as a nation in the midst of plague and despair. We celebrate our faith in and through Jesus, who rose from clutches of death. The word’s “fear not” appear in God’s word more than almost any other command. Depending on the version of the Bible one reads, there is one "fear not" for everyday of the year. We are to be at peace in an anxious and frantic world. Philippians 4:6 compels us to “not be anxious about anything, but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present our requests to God.” Here is what we would like you to know, as a church, regarding our path forward.
GATHERING Alberta Health has released that currently there are 23 cases in Alberta. As of right now, this is considered a low threat. Alberta health is cautioning against mass gatherings of people. In their own words: "By 'mass gathering', we mean any mass gatherings of more than 250 people. This includes large sporting events, conferences and community events.
It does not extend to places of worship, grocery stores, airports or shopping centres.”
In other words. Church is on, as usual, on March 15. We will have extra people on hand to open doors for you to let you into the building, minimizing the amount of doors you will have to touch. Inside our building we will endeavor to make sure many of our doors with handles are kept open all morning long. However, we love you, but if you are sick from whatever ails you, please pay the rest of us a courtesy and stay at home. Get rest, and let us know if we can help. Seniors, formally events of 50 or more that involve you are cancelled. However, worship services are exempt. You are free to stay at home, or free to join us. Do what you feel is best. We will be encouraging people to stay in the fireside room for the full duration of the morning and watching via livestream.
GREETING When you come, here is what we want you to know. You are under not obligation to shake anyone’s hand. We recommend you greet each other with smiles and waves instead of handshakes. As a lifelong Star Trek fan I will be offering lessons in the Vulcan salute and may offer you an enthusiastic “Live Long and Prosper.” Yet, if someone makes to shae your hand, and you take it, no one will publicly shame you for doing so.
GIVING We are still working out the passing of the offering baskets. We will have something in place by Sunday to minimize people passing the basket from hand to hand. However, we have been working behind the scenes on a beta testing some online giving tools. We have chosen one and are now making it live. You can find it HERE. You can now give online. If you need help with this call the church office during office hours and ask to speak to me and I will walk you through it. If you have ever registered and paid for a church event online, you should have no problems.
GOING Church, historically in a crisis such as this, it is God’s people who run to the problem, rather than from it. The church, when working right, has always risked its safety to proceed with compassion to people in suffering. Your friends and neighbors are suffering, even if just from fear. Now is our time. We serve a God who goes before us. His heart breaks for the plight of the world. Over the next while we will be monitoring the situation carefully. If we feel that we need to change our strategy we will do so. EMAIL WILL BE OUR PRIMARY FORM OF COMMUNICATION. If things get worse we will be taking care of our own, but also serving the broader community. Jesus went to a cross, for the joy set before him. We can do no less than to walk into the mess and offer His peace and love.