March 13, 2020
A Personal Message from Pastor Mel
We’re entering a situation in our world which is new territory as the spread of the COVID 19 virus was formally declared by the World Health Organization this week to be a pandemic. We want you to be aware of the kinds of measures we are taking to help us continue to both “do” church together appropriately, and also “be” Jesus’ body in our community in this time and for this time.
I can’t tackle anything without thinking about what a “win” might look like. As I thought along that line, I asked two questions: 1) How might we use this situation as a personal growth win? Shouldn’t we use every situation in life for that? And then, 2) What might a missional win look like for us as a body in our community?
A “Personal Growth” Win to Pursue
Let’s talk first about a personal growth win. As things are changing almost daily, let’s remember … and help each other remember … to keep sinking our roots deeper into something that does not change. We are Jesus’ body ... as a group, and each one of us as individuals. And so, regardless of our circumstances, we live …
- in his enduring love ...
- under his watchful and capable care ...
- and with his hope.
So let’s make it our over-arching goal in everything we do during this time is to find ways to live that truth well.
In that light, let’s remember what Jesus said to his followers ... which includes us ... when he told them he would be physically leaving ... I guess today we might call that the ultimate in “social distancing.” He warned them of it ahead of time, but he also gave them the promise that he would send his own personal presence ... his “Spirit” to be in and among us: “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 16:33, NIV). What would happen if we gave ourselves to working that reality into our hearts and minds so fully that it became the forefront of what we see ... and the filter through which we think about everything? Friends, that would be a huge win!
A Community- Partnership Challenge
In light of that big vision, let’s talk about what a win might look like in the way we do church together and live in our community. What has captured me, and I’ve been assured is the main challenge we need to work toward in our community, is to do everything we can to help “flatten the curve” (see https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/canada-covid-19-coronavirus-spread-hospital-surge-capacity-ventilators-1.5493178). While we do not currently have the ability to stop this virus from spreading, we need to do everything we can to try to slow the spread of this virus as much as possible … to lengthen the timeline as much as we can … so that our medical personel can do their best to handle the extreme cases well. Let’s be leaders in our community in helping “flatten the curve.” Please remember -- this is not just about protecting yourself; it’s about helping protect others, and our community as a whole.
Church Services This Weekend - Updated
Personal ‘Best Practices’ Reminder
We also want to remind ourselves to be diligent about maintaining primary best practices personally:
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
- Practice good cough hygiene.
- Try to not touch your face.
- Don’t initiate personal contact with people in ways such as shaking hands.
- Please co-operate with all recommendations that come out regarding travel restrictions and self-isolation if you feel you have been exposed.
- And the most critical behavior in protecting our body and our community is to stay at home if you are sick.
Where to Get Information
I would also remind you that in situations like this there is a wide range of “information” sources and perspectives. We want to be sure to follow the best advice from trustworthy experts. Here are the information sources we are following most closely, and encourage you to do the same:
- Alberta Government COVID Awareness site: (https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx)
- U.S. Center for Disease Control: (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
And finally, let’s come back to Jesus’ promise: “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!”
As you do that, I invite us all to double-down in prayer that this situation will not cause us to have a shrinking vision of what Jesus wants us to be and do together, but a bigger vision of how we can continue to trust God more fully ... love each other more openly ... and love the world more practically.
God bless you ... and may his peace be with us all!
Pastor Mel Fehr