Thursday, March 19, 2020
We are writing to confirm that we will be having our Sunday Service online this week. All you have to do is tune in to our Facebook page at 10:00 AM where we'll have a time of worship followed by our morning message and a couple of announcements. If you cannot attend live, the message will be available for viewing at a later time and you don't need a Facebook account to watch. We encourage you to join us live if possible.
- Join us Sunday @ 10:00 AM here https://www.facebook.com/GatewayChurchCanada.
- Stay tuned for an online devotional series with Pastor Ian to keep in touch during these days of isolation. We're planning a way to proactively reach out to our whole church family. In the meantime, stay in touch with each other where you have natural relationship connections.
- If you have any urgent needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastors Ian & Jeff
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Dear family and friends,
We have received updates from Public Health, from healthcare organizations, and from local health care professionals.
In light of the concerns surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak and Public Health recommendations, we have decided to join in solidarity with our community at large and other Wesleyan Churches in the Ottawa area to do all we can to stop the advance of the virus. One of the most effective strategies employed to stop the Coronavirus in its tracks is to avoid public gatherings. Church services fit that category.
We have therefore decided to cancel church service tomorrow and next week (March 15 & 22). We will provide updates as the week progresses, with the hope of providing at the least some online connection next Sunday morning (March 22nd).
Currently there are a few local churches who are planning to remain open tomorrow and you are welcome to worship with them should that be of interest. We encourage you to follow your conscience on this issue.
In place of our service, at 10:00 a.m., Pastor Ian will lead a prayer time in the sanctuary for anybody who would like to pray for the stop of the virus, healing, and recovery for all who suffering from the virus's impact. This will be a "head nod" and prayer time only without any of our usual worship and children's ministries activities.
May we continue to live in the peace and security of our Heavenly Father and offer people the hope that is found in our Lord Jesus. Please watch for opportunities to share the love and peace of Jesus with people as they deal with their fears and insecurities. Watch for people who are particularly vulnerable (including financially) that may need our help and support during this time.
Pastors Ian, Jeff and the Local Board of Administration
Friday, March 13, 2020
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." - Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
We're all aware of the evolving situation with COVID-19 around the world. And, we're aware that our response as a church is likely on your mind.
Here's what we're doing as a church
- Trusting God: Viral disease is a fact of biological existence and part of creation. Keeping perspective and not panicking apply here, just as they do for all risks we face. No matter how dire circumstances get, the Lord remains our refuge and strength, "an ever-present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1). To trust in the Lord in times of trouble is to experience and bear witness to the power of Christ.
- Praying: We must pray for the sick, the scared, for public health officials, for researchers, for caregivers, and for our Government leaders. As Christians, we believe prayer has power, so we seek help from the Lord.
- Staying Informed: The media is constantly providing updates, which are impossible to read, absorb and respond to. We're following a reliable list of information for educational, planning and management purposes.
- Public Health on COVID-19: The Canadian Public Health Agency for Disease Control's up-to-date resources on coronavirus.
- The U.S. CDC Resources for Community and Faith-Based Organizations has created resources specifically for faith-based organizations to respond to influenza pandemic. As a church we're using this reference as much as we can.
- Preparing: Because COVID-19 likely spreads like the cold and flu, personal hygiene is very important among staff, volunteers, and participants attending our church. We are following the Public Health recommendations for hand sanitizer stations, ample supplies of tissue, and disposable gloves for cleaning crews. We're also routinely cleaning all frequently touched surfaces in washrooms, nurseries, kitchen, including countertops, doorknobs, and toys. In addition to these practical steps, we're doing the following:
- Our Pastors (Ian & Jeff) are continually reviewing all of our efforts in response to COVID-19.
- We're in direct communication with local public health officials.
- We're reviewing all of our communication practices to ensure our congregation is informed.
- We're adjusting our greeting practices and encouraging everyone to "Nod to your Neighbour" as a preferred greeting over handshakes or other common physical greetings.
Here's what you can do to help
- Pray for our nation and those directly affected by COVID-19. Pray for the health care workers that are treating the sick and those public health administrators making difficult decisions. Pray that God would protect our community from further spread of the virus.
- Reflect Christ. In these anxious days, the church (all of us) can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience and prudence. We can demonstrate for the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear.
- Practice recommended personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. Do not touch your face if possible. Avoid contact with the sick. Stay home if you're sick or symptomatic (fever, cough, congestion, etc.) and enjoy the podcast once it is posted.
There are no cases we are aware of in our area, so we will continue to meet Sundays, while cautiously watching for any factors that may warrant our delay in meeting for a time.
Please stay tuned for further updates - even as early as tomorrow - as we are awaiting further instruction from Public Health at the time of this writing. Check your e-mail, Gateways' Facebook page, and our website for further updates.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body. . . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew 6:25–27 (New International Version)