Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for God who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Dear sisters, brothers, and siblings in Christ,
The news of the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the world has been unsettling for many of us over the past few weeks. It is now impossible to ignore the impact of COVID-19 on our society. With our favourite sports leagues suspending their seasons, plans for school closures in Ontario, and calls for “social distancing” measures, many of us may be feeling anxious, fearful, or disoriented.
It is difficult to discern the best way to respond to this rapidly evolving situation. Our provincial and federal governments are asking all of us to take certain measures as precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time, as a community of faith, we are called to witness boldly to the presence of Christ in our world – especially in anxious times such as these – and we do this by continuing to gather together to share God’s Word and Sacraments.
During this time, we will continue to gather together for worship as we always do. We will take precautions, but these precautions need not hamper our spirit of fellowship and community. Based on the recommendations of Manitoba’s public health authorities, we are suggesting the following precautions during worship:
We will continue to share the peace of Christ with one another, and elbow bumps, bows, nods, or smiles are all beautiful ways of doing this.
Communion assistants and the presiding minister will continue to use hand sanitizer prior to serving communion.
We have asked cleaning staff to thoroughly clean and disinfect our building and worship space prior to Sunday worship.
We ask that if you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms (especially fever), please stay at home until these symptoms are gone. If you do need to stay home from worship, or if you are required to self-isolate, we still want to do our best to ensure that you continue to feel connected to our church family. Please let us know (by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 204.255.5433) if you would like us to add your name to our prayer list, or if you would like to receive a copy of the Sunday sermon and bulletin. Furthermore, we will be exploring the possibility of posting sermon recordings online so that folks can access them from home.
As we respond as a family of faith, let us respond not out of fear or anxiety, but rather out of love for our neighbours, and love for one another. If we elbow-bump, let’s elbow-bump with love. When we wash our hands, let’s wash our hands out of love for one another. And when we greet one another, let us recognize the face of Christ in each other. And as we go about our daily lives, let us always remember that we are surrounded, not by potential virus-carriers or patients, but rather, by beautiful human beings who bear the image of the living God.