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November 7, 2020

 

Dear Bethel Church Family,


On Jesus’ last night with his disciples, he said the following words: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32-33)

As you may have heard, Dr. Bonnie Henry today announced further restrictions in response to the increasing cases of COVID-19, particularly in the Fraser Health Region, of which we are a part. These restrictions are concerning social gatherings, indoor physical activity, workplaces, and travel. All social gatherings of any sort are currently prohibited with anyone outside of one’s immediate household. Dr. Henry was then asked a follow up question specifically concerning churches. Her response was that churches are not considered social gatherings and that the 50 person gathering size is still in place. It was eminently clear, however, that we need to be even more careful to take actions and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Unless further direction or information comes to light, we will continue to have in person Sunday services for the time being. As church services are not a social gathering, they do not fall into the restrictions announced today. That being said, we want to make some changes so that we can carefully adhere to the recommendations and requirements put in place by the BC Government for our Sunday gatherings. This means:

  1. If you feel uncomfortable or uncertain about attending an in-person gathering, or if you are in any way sick, please stay home and join our weekly online service – bethelmc.ca.
  2. If you are completely symptom free, please know we will continue to meet for the time being. We will have increased screening procedures before the service on Sunday morning. This includes:
    1. A more intentional screening process for entering the building, including taking each person’s temperature with an infrared thermometer.
    2. More intentional physical distancing measures taken, specifically when we are within the building. To this end, we are asking you to take a seat when you enter the building and head straight to your car afterwards.
  3. All one-time events are currently suspended. It is more challenging for events like these to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines and so we will pause them for the time being. This includes events like work days, baby showers, trivia nights, and special seasonal events. We will have events like these again, just not for right now.

We are trusting that God will give us wisdom to continue to walk well through this season. Dr. Henry expressed appreciation for the response of the faith community in BC, and I am thankful that the church has a good reputation with the leaders of our province. We want to continue to keep each other safe and make Jesus look good, and this means that we face further challenges in the weeks and months ahead.

In John 16, Jesus told the disciples that they would have troubles in this world, and we are experiencing a part of that. However, the response to this was not fear, panic, conspiracy, or despair, but rather to take heart. I echo those words to myself and to us as a church family:

Take heart.

This doesn’t mean we don’t have concerns or experience uncertainty, but rather that we don’t let fear impact our decisions. We lean on the truth that Jesus walks with each of us individually and as a church family and we will continue to see God’s faithfulness at work in our lives and in our community.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

 

Terry Christie, Congregational Chair

Jon Reesor, Lead Pastor