March 13, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Your Leadership Team and Pastoral Staff have been meeting together and praying about what our church’s response should be to the continually evolving situation with COVID-19, the coronavirus that was designated a pandemic by the World Health Organization this week.
As you know, the number of people in our Province and in our community that are impacted by this disease continues to change on an hour-by-hour basis.
Here are some things the leadership of your church family want you to know:
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) This is not a time to panic or overreact, but it is a time to adopt common sense healthy practices and be a responsible part of the Greater Victoria region.
Our Public Gatherings—In a news conference in Victoria yesterday (Thursday, March 12) Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, called for “an all-of-society approach” and directed organizations to cancel any gatherings larger than 250 people. Dr. Henry said, “It is a number (250) we think has some rationale to it, in that over that large group, it’s really challenging to put into place those social distancing measures that protect people and prevent transmission of respiratory infections. We are looking at event organizers—whether it’s community events, whether it’s large events—to look at alternatives they can use to keep that connectedness and social cohesiveness.” In light of this direction from our Provincial Health Officer, we have decided, for the next two weeks, to replace our Sunday Worship Gatherings with an online service, starting this Sunday, March 15. More information will be sent out in this regard tomorrow afternoon.
We will also be taking a break from all onsite church gatherings and studies as an extra precautionary measure until we have some more information from BC Health.
We will assess the situation weekly moving forward.
Pray for the vulnerable members of our community and those around the world.
Pray for our government leaders, that God will give them wisdom from above in making the difficult decisions that impact so many different aspects of our community life.
Pray for our healthcare professionals and first-responders (paramedics, fire fighters and police officers) who are working around-the-clock on the front lines of this complex situation. Pray for their health and safety and protection.
The Body of Christ—We need to continue to operate as the “Body of Christ” to each other and to our community. As this chapter of “social distancing” progresses, please be thinking and applying your creative brains and hearts to ways to connect without physical touch as the incarnational Body of Christ in the Greater Victoria region. That can mean reaching out by text or phone call, or sending messages of encouragement to our brothers and sisters working in healthcare. Let’s all seek ways we can be people of peace and hope. Please inform us through email or phone as a church should you or a family member be affected by the corona virus so that we can support you and also ensure the ongoing safety of the rest of our church family. Our pastoral care team will be making arrangements to ensure that our congregation’s needs are being met.
And Finally—Let’s all remain confident of God’s constant presence as we pay careful attention to all that is happening. In Psalm 46 we are reminded that it is God who is our Refuge and Strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, let us not fear, but with confidence use this opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus through our prayers, care for others, and caring for ourselves.
Your Leadership Team and Pastoral Staff