May 14, 2020
Dear WLAC Family,
We have now been through 8 weeks of lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic, and although many people have watched our sermons, worship sets, and mini-messages online, it’s not the same as being together. Even committed introverts are telling me they want to gather together with God’s people again!
Thankfully, a change is coming.
Last week our Provincial Health Officer announced the BC “Restart Plan”, which will begin lifting some of the restrictions that had been put in place to help slow the pandemic. Our church’s leadership has been and remains committed to walking in a humble, submissive, and selfless spirit toward others. We want to demonstrate to our community that we are following government guidelines and ready to deny ourselves in order to protect those who are vulnerable. To that end, even though we could have been meeting with less than 50 people, we have not done so.
However, in compliance with the Provincial guidelines and in consultation with our District leadership, we plan to resume public worship services beginning Sunday, May 24.
We are still under the mandate to limit our gatherings to 50 people or less, so obviously our whole church family cannot be “in the house” at one time. This demands a high degree of creativity and flexibility, and our leadership team has stepped up to the challenge. Our plan for the time-being is to host groups of 50 at the church building each Sunday at 10:30am on a rotating schedule. To handle this as fairly as possible, we are developing a reservation system where households will be able to book their dates to attend church in person every few weeks.
Watch for your reservation link to arrive early next week.
(Those without internet access will be provided the opportunity to make their reservations by phone.)
We will also be livestreaming and recording the worship service. This means, if you are unable to attend “live” church on a Sunday, you can still watch the worship service at the regular time, OR you may watch at a later time if you prefer.
All of this will be done with the intention of continuing to protect seniors, those at risk, and our health care system. At the church building we will be practicing health & hygiene protocols suggested by our provincial health authorities. This will include safe social distancing in our seating arrangements, frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, no hugs or handshakes, and no coffee/tea service. And of course, if you’re sick, stay home and keep others safe.
We want to highly encourage the practice of fellowship and gathered worship as a church family, so we are looking for host homes who will welcome others from our church family, and even guests, to watch the service with them and spend some time discussing the message and praying for each other. Home gatherings will be limited in number, and we will encourage safe social distancing and healthy habits during those gatherings as well. We’d love to hear from you if you are willing to host others in your home for this purpose.
We may not see a full return to normal for some months, as the Province is waiting for certain milestones to be reached before all restrictions are lifted. This is not our preferred situation, but it offers us some great opportunities as believers in, and followers of, Jesus:
• The opportunity to prioritize worship & personal spiritual growth like never before. It is not easy to adapt to all these changes how we do things, but we can do it. Making time and making the effort to gather with other believers and to worship our Lord Jesus is a very practical way to declare his worth.
• The opportunity to reach out to our friends, coworkers, and neighbours with a message of security and hope in uneasy times. Whether you share a sermon link with someone, drop off a plate of delicious goodies, or invite them into your backyard or living room, you can share Jesus during this time.
• The opportunity to build closer relationships with our family of faith. Rather than being further apart because of Covid, now is actually a chance to get closer. Even with safe social-distancing practices, and smaller worship services, we can build relationships with our church family during this season.
• The opportunity to minister to our community by demonstrating hearts of humility, faith, love, and service. There are differing opinions about how our government and healthcare leaders are handling the current pandemic. We need to keep them in our prayers (1 Tim. 2:1-2), and then, trusting that God is wisely in control of all human events, we can be great citizens by observing the guidelines they hand down (Romans 13:1-3).
Christians throughout the centuries have advanced the Kingdom of God in difficult times by exhibiting hearts of service, self-sacrifice, and love. “…Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)
So make your reservation to come back to church, smile & wave, bring your own drink, and let’s rejoice together as we move into the “new normal”.
Loving Jesus, Loving You,