November 20, 2020 – New Restrictions
Grace and peace to you, friends.
Well, it seemed like only minutes after I sent you yesterday’s email, I was listening to Dr. Bonny Henry update our latest Covid-19 gathering restrictions. I won’t attempt to summarize those restrictions (you should read it for yourself here), but the main impact for us as a church is 1) because no social gatherings are permitted, all community group gatherings must be virtual and 2) the suspension of our Sunday morning on-site worship services. However, we can still gather! Because of the wisdom of our leadership team and the dedicated work by the various ministry teams in our church, we can continue to care for each other intentionally (use the phone, Facebook, email, Zoom) and we can continue to gather for church online. What’s more, we had already decided to meet on Zoom on Monday evening for our congregational meeting, so no disruption there.I know this is hard. But I really want us to hear this: to be back under social gathering restrictions does not mean we need to be back into solitude and isolation. Erickson Covenanters, Mission Friends, let’s lean into these next few weeks with real, tangible care for each other. Seize the moment to pick up that phone, to send that email, to simply connect in any way you can — call the people in our church community who are more vulnerable to isolation, reach out to your community group leader and ask who is in your group that will need extra support, let’s be the church FOR each other. We are moving toward the darkest time of the year, but we also entering the season of Advent — let’s shine the Christ Light bright for each other and for our community.I am praying for you today, for us all as we continue to seek God’s glory and our neighbour’s good, even during this difficult time.May God grant us the grace, courage, and wisdom we need for the time he’s given us.
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Effective Immediately: 3 Week Suspension
Hello ECC family,
Last night, we made the decision to suspend all church gatherings for the next three weeks (March 17 through April 7), including public worship, small groups, youth group, and ministry teams, as well as rentals. We don’t think that will come as a shock to anyone, as this limitation of gatherings is happening across the country in order to “flatten the curve” of this virus. Once again, this is not a fear-based decision — this is a key way we love our vulnerable neighbours and assist in the efforts to combat Covid-19.
As a Leadership Team, we will communicate by March 31 regarding the continuation or lifting of this suspension. We will, of course, be following the lead of our health authorities on the safety of public gatherings.
In the days ahead, we will provide online worship services and other discipleship resources so that we can make the most of this unique moment, growing in our life in Christ and serving our community in the name of Christ. (If you missed Sunday’s message, find it here.)
During a time like this, communicating is more important than ever. If you know of anyone in our church family who is not receiving this email, please encourage them to sign up at the church website. (You can start by forwarding this email to them.)
Please contact me or Dana if you have any questions, concerns, needs, or would simply like someone to pray with you. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
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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 neighborhood 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.