Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. ~Galatians 5:25
Dear Bethel Family,
It’s been a long, cold, lonely COVID ‘winter,’ but the thaw is finally coming! The BC Government this week announced a 4-Step Restart plan, including possible dates and benchmarks, for the lifting of restrictions in BC. This is very exciting! If you’ve not yet seen the plan, I encourage you to take a look at it online so you have a sense of how things might unfold: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restart
It is important to note, as of the writing of this letter, that this plan does not yet include a return to indoor worship services. Guidelines for worship services are still in development and we are hoping to hear more details around this soon. Once we have received the updated guidelines and timeline from the government, we can make plans around our return as a Bethel church family!
As we prepare for this return, we will need to ask for and extend grace to one another. The pandemic has impacted each of us differently and it will take us time to transition away from the reality of this past year. We all have ideas and expectations of what our post-COVID life will look like, and these ideas and expectations are likely all different. Some of us will be eager to meet in the biggest group we can as soon as possible, and others will want smaller groups in more casual settings. Some of us will be heading out to see friends, family, and far away places, others having friends and family visit them, and still others will want to take it easy over the summer. Life will gradually and eventually feel normal, and in the meantime we want to give each other grace as we move at our own speed!
As we consider our expectations of not just life but our post-COVID church, it will be important for us to return on purpose. What do I mean by this? (Good question!) I imagine we all have a picture of what we miss most about being together, and it might not all be the same. Some of us are excited to sing, others to hug, and still others to have coffee and catch up. (We also recognize that many people will be traveling over the summer, which will impact what services look like as well!) All of these are important, and we will see all of them return eventually, but we want to begin this next season intentionally walking by the Holy Spirit, being led by the Spirit, living by the Spirit, and keeping in step with the Spirit.
COVID has been a difficult season, and yet it was an opportunity for us to reflect on our lives, individually and as a church family, and to see what was healthy and what had grown stale. It helped us understand more deeply what we miss about church, and hopefully gave us excitement about what the future can look like. Lord willing, we learned and grew as a result of this very difficult season! (It may seem strange to talk about learning and growing during COVID, but the alternative is for us to have learned nothing and grown not at all. Personally, I prefer to have learned something rather than nothing.
As we anticipate the return to ‘normal,’ I would ask us as a church family to prayerfully consider the following questions:
We’re still a little way off from the restrictions being lifted, but they are on the way out! The light is at the end of the tunnel, a new day is dawning, and the cracks are beginning to appear. As we anticipate the time to come and prepare to return to life together, let us do so with grace for ourselves and each other, prayer that the Holy Spirit would lead us, and eyes firmly fixed on Jesus.
In Person Services We had our second in-person service on May 30th. The first was on April 25th and it was a wonderful time of reading Scripture, prayer, and communion. It was such a blessing to be able to gather again. We will be following the same format for the upcoming service. The online Zoom gathering will meet at the same time with sharing, prayer, and communion. Despite the BC Government’s 4-Step Restart plan, we are still unable to hold any in-person indoor worship gatherings but will keep you up to date as we hear new information.
Property Transfer of our Church Building
On March 25, 2021 we received the results of our congregational vote on transfer of title of our property from MCBC to the Bethel Mennonite Church Society. 95% approval was received. Based upon that, we proceeded to ask MCBC to have the transfer made.
On April 22, 2021 we received notification from MCBC that their Board had approved transfer of the property to Bethel. Based upon all of this, we will proceed to have the transfer made. As we previously stated, we remain a member of MCBC. Thank you for your support of this action. We will keep you informed of any further developments. Terry Christie, Congregational Chair
New Baby - Emma Janzen is tickled pink... er... blue! Happy news for Emma Janzen's family. Emma has a new great-grandchild. Her son Sam's daughter, April just gave birth to her third child on May 7th. A healthy baby boy named Dearic Graham Beard. (pronounced Derrick). Congratulations to the Janzen family!
Wedding - Congratulations to Mark & Audrey!
Mark Holmlund and Audrey Epp were married on Saturday, May 22nd in a beautiful ceremony at the Epp household. While the COVID restrictions limited the numbers of people who could attend, there was no limit on their love!
Changes to the Landscape Our front garden at the church has had much work done to it this month. There are many beautiful new plants that will grow very nicely into the space and will require little maintenance.
A very big Thank You goes out to two of our Bethel families who generously donated their time, effort and funds toward this endeavour. We praise God for giving them the gifts they possess and the heart to share those gifts with us, their church family.
Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus among us!
There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:4-5
GLA received this wonderful letter from a GLA student to his teacher
This is John In. I want to say thank you for all your hard work and dedication you’ve done for me. You provided genuine care and support with all kindness and understanding and it made such a difference in my attitude and behavior. Now I am so happy that I am no longer what I used to be. However, I won’t stop here. I will keep trying to shape myself into an even better student so that hopefully, it brings you much more pleasure hereafter.
Before I met you, I was in big trouble. It is still kind of a terrible memory to me. But your guidance and inspiration have led me in the right direction and opened the doors to my future. Without you, I would have been lost. I wouldn’t be where I am today. I think you look like Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that you were my teacher. I will always remember you with the deepest respect. And I also would like to tell you that I really enjoyed all the delicious dishes you made for me. As a teacher, you always encouraged me to love friends and put others first before me. I will be carrying those lessons in my heart forever.
I used to be like a devil and had never thought of religion at all until I met you. How amazing it is that you led me into God. I finally got to believe in God and I’ve been cured. I wish to thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I won’t let you down anymore. Every day I will try to be the best that I can be. Thank you so much!
Job Opportunities at Bethel
We are looking to hire for two positions at Bethel.
The first is an Office Manager position, which is permanent part-time starting sometime after August 31.
The second is a custodial position for GLA. It’s about 6 hours per week in the evenings. Ideal for students.
If you or someone you know may be interested in more details about either of these openings, please see our website, or call the BMC office. 604-856-8454
Prayer Walks As a church we want to edify, support, and encourage one another. During COVID, one of the ways we can do this, as stated by the Provincial Health Officer, is going for a walk, and so the Outreach committee is inviting our congregation to meet outside together in order to pray for one another, our church, and our community. You can meet at the church building, outside your home, or at a park - you can pray together anywhere you can walk together!
If you are interested in participating in a prayer walk, please email email@example.com or call the church office and we will connect you with the Outreach committee. We will help to organize different pairings of people who can walk and pray together. If you already have a walking partner from church let us know and we will include you in the prayer walking group.
Past & Upcoming Sermons Date Topic
Church Clean-up Day – June 5, 2021 We are having a church clean-up day in June. The clean-up will be focussed around the upstairs and downstairs education wings. Projects we hope to accomplish are:
Refreshments will be available at coffee break. Please call the church office to volunteer. More details can be found on our website.