Following the guidance of our provincial health officer, session has decided to suspend congregational gatherings immediately and until further notice. At the moment, the limit on gathering size set by the government is 50 people. If last Sunday is any indication our current attendance is well under that number. Therefore we are technically able to carry on meeting on Sundays for worship.
However many of us fall into the group that is particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. So in the spirit of caring for one another, session has decided we should cease gatherings at the church until the situation changes. Also, as the church, we are called to help our community get through this troubling time. By not gathering we are helping to reduce the risk of the virus spreading to others.
At the same time session recognises that our worship life together is critically important, the more so in times like these. Therefore we have decided to use technology as a means for virtual gathering as the church.
Here is the plan. Beginning March 29 we will be using YouTube to “gather” in worship. Our first YouTube service will be at 10:00 AM that day. You will actually be able to join in worship via YouTube at any time after 10:00 AM. But it would be good if we met at 10:00 like we normally do. For those of us not comfortable with internet technology, we will be emailing everyone a link that you can click on and go straight to our YouTube worship service without having to navigate the YouTube system. Session is also considering how we can include in our life together those without internet.
To this end members of session will be making an extra effort to connect with you during this time. But it will take all of us working together, caring for each other, to get through this time. So, please keep an eye out for your neighbours and for those who you know in the church who may need help. We plan to gather a list of those who are willing and able to pitch in by doing things like picking up groceries, etc. When we have compiled this list we will get into your hands. Let Clara know if you either need help or would like to be one of the helpers.
Finally, a word about our church finances. Stating the obvious, household and church bills never cease. To address this reality our on-line services, as all worship services should do. will include an offering time, an opportunity to thank God for his generous care for us. To facilitate the process of giving back to God we have attached a PAR (Pre Authorised Remittance) form. If you complete this form and return it to Clara along with a void cheque, the amount you indicate on the form will be deducted from your account on the 20th of each month. You may withdraw this form of making your offering at any time.
If you wish to support the financial needs of the congregation during this difficult time but are not comfortable signing up for the PAR program you may drop your offerings off at the church between 9:00 AM and noon Tuesday through Friday. If Clara or Dennis are not at the church when you come to make you offering you may deposit it in the mail slot in the bell tower.
Session thanks you for your prayers as we move together through this difficult time.
May the peace of Christ be with you all.
Your pastor, Dennis.