As each of you are undoubtedly aware, the situation concerning COVID-19 is ever and rapidly changing.
Last evening, the bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (5 Synodical Bishops, and 1 National Bishop) asked congregations across the country to take decisive action to help ‘flatten the curve’ by cancelling all public worship and other gatherings in our church buildings.
Our Bishops write:
“With the information we have today, we feel it is both prudent and responsible that our congregations suspend all public worship services and other gatherings effective immediately. Some of you have already made this decision. It is our hope that we will all be strongly encouraged to do likewise.”
Our council has reviewed this letter prayerfully, and has voted unanimously to immediately suspend all worship, choir/handbell rehearsals, meetings, gatherings and facility rentals until at least April 5, 2020.
Please know that this request from our Bishops is a result of extensive consultation with public health officials across our country as well as other faith communities. Furthermore, it seems in keeping with the concerns that many of you (and members of the wider community) have expressed already.
This is not a decision that we enter into lightly. And in doing so your council commits itself, as leaders, to seeking new ways to combat social isolation and provide interim worship opportunities.
- Distributing a weekly e-mailed resource to facilitate worship at home.
- Outlining a number of online, local television and local radio church services.
- Increasing our Social Media usage.
- Implementing a phone check-in/visitation ministry (Volunteers needed!)
Please know that I have decided to cancel my vacation. I will be working diligently and prayerfully to seek opportunities to provide pastoral care during these challenging times. Kelly will also continue to be present in the office, and will reply to all phone messages and emails as soon as possible.
Furthermore, I have been deeply encouraged by the number of folks who have volunteered their time to helping members of our congregation who may require assistance picking up prescriptions or getting groceries. If you are in need of this sort of support, please contact the church office.
I am praying for you, dear friends. And I hope that you will pray for one another as well.
The peace of Christ be with you,