Grace and peace to you all.
As you are well aware, the efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19 are growing by the hour. In light of this, we have decided to suspend this Sunday’s worship gathering on March 15.
I want to be very clear: Love is the reason we are suspending our service, not fear. Not only do we want to love those who are most vulnerable in our community, we also want to support the efforts of our health professionals who are attempting to curb the spread of Covid-19. From what we are being told, limiting larger gatherings is a key response and will save lives. Please pray for the brave men and women who are on the front lines of this pandemic. Please pray for those who are already sick and for those who have lost loved ones.
As I wrote earlier today, we are not people of fear, nor are we given to the panic that grips so many. This has not changed. We choose to respond as people of the Spirit, as people of sound mind. As your pastor, I want to encourage you, again, to remember who God is and who we are. If any of you are feeling anxiety or panic, know that God hears you in your distress–reach out and we can pray with you. If you are aware of people in your neighbourhood or in our church community who may be vulnerable or alone, connect with them over the phone and consider how you might respond practically. If you are sick or potentially exposed, take the appropriate steps to care for yourself and others. Follow sound medical and governmental advice, but reject selfish panic and hurtful behaviours. Let’s be God’s Resurrection people in a time of trouble. This is not a time to hide, but to shine.
What about future gatherings? We are working hard to respond to this situation as it unfolds, and we will be meeting as a Leadership Team on Monday to discuss further steps. Please pray for wisdom. For now, we will offer Sunday’s teaching from Acts through a recorded video, along with some suggestions for your personal, family, or small group gathering. (This video will be posted online, as well as delivered through Facebook, email, and via our regular audio podcast). The truth is, though we need to limit larger gatherings, it is still important to connect as the body of Christ, as long as certain protocols are observed, such as self-isolation when sick or potentially exposed, good cleansing practices, etc. Again: follow the good advice being given by the health authorities.
Finally, let’s continue to pray for the Spirit’s work among us and in our Valley. God is just as active and present as he ever has been, and we continue to bear witness to his love and grace in all we do.
Much love to you all,
PS. Not everyone is online or email — if you know someone who might not have received this news, would you reach out to them and let them know what’s happening? Thanks.