November 19, 2020
The past two weeks have flown by again, full of meetings, planning and activities. Last Tuesday evening I had the privilege of attending and participating in the adult education event which was a tribute to Remembrance Day. It was humbling to hear about the experiences of war that members of our community and their families experienced in our not-too-distant past. In a time where it is easy to be caught up in current worries and concerns it was good to spend time together sharing and honouring these memories and individuals. One comment resonated with me that evening; a description of war-time church services in Holland where “we sat with members who were collaborating with the Germans alongside members of the resistance – all worshiping the same God”. It was a reminder to me that we serve a God who is capable of far more than we can ask or imagine.
Last week the government announced new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in our community. Although one of these measures is a 1/3 capacity for worship services, we are not affected, as we are currently using 1/3 of the pews in order to maintain appropriate distance. I have received several questions regarding the restriction on group singing, and whether that applies to our praise teams. This does not apply to our circumstance; the measure is intended for choirs and performing arts groups which had begun in the fall. The initial information on the government website was not entirely clear. However a follow-up letter received from the Medical Officer of Health did not suggest changes to our current practices.
I am writing this letter as the case numbers for Alberta are being released on Thursday, we are weary of record-breaking case numbers and increased hospitalizations. The reality of the pandemic is also impacting more of us on a personal level, I have spoken with several members who have had family impacted by both isolation requirements and positive cases in the people they care about. In addition, news of cases at Emmanuel Home has many worried for those that they care about who work and live in that community. I also know that important surgeries and medical procedures have been postponed for some, which is always disappointing. As our concern grows, different thoughts on how we should worship, gather or meet can become sources of tension, even among families. At this time, many activities at the church will continue in person, although we are unable to offer core or pickleball currently. Some committees and groups have decided to pivot to virtual platforms at this time. These decisions may be based on the health and well-being of participants, or out of concern for vulnerable people in their lives who depend on them. I would ask that we continue to show grace to each other, and work together to protect those who are the most vulnerable at this time.
Next week Wednesday we will be having our annual congregational meeting. This meeting will be open to in-person participation and will also be livestreamed. We will have people available during the meeting who will be able to receive calls and/or text message questions that people may have. If you have a question in advance, you can also email it to David van Berkel, our clerk: email@example.com. I hope that many of you take the time to participate in this meeting. In addition to discussing the 2021 budget, we will be hearing updates from our deacons and pastor, as well as the church renewal team. Please note that once the meeting is over, we will be moving the recording behind our members login, if you would like to watch it after Wednesday. Contact the church office for the link.
The words of Pastor Cecil’s sermon on Sunday have stayed with me this week; as God’s people we need to have the courage to hope – and in these times hope often does take courage. We find our comfort and assurance that the God who has prevailed through natural disasters, pandemics and wars is the same God who watches over us. Our calling is to show this hope to a hurting world. My prayer is that we will continue to find courage-both to hope and to care for each other well.