COVID-19 Updates

11/19/2020

PROVINCIAL HEALTH ORDER UPDATE

This afternoon, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new COVID-19 related health orders. To the best of our understanding, these new orders mean we will not be able to gather for in-person services until after December 7th.

Based upon Dr. Henry's verbiage, tone, and body language, it seems likely the order may later be extended beyond December 7th.

Until we're able to meet in-person again, here's what you need to know:

- We will be gathering together every Sunday at 5pm for an online service that will feature worship, a Bible study, a chat room, and the ability to request one-on-one prayer. We hope you'll join us this Sunday at mynewhope.ca/online.

- Our children's ministry also meets online every Sunday at 1pm at mynewhope.ca/online. If you have kids, don't miss it!

- Our midweek Home Groups will continue on Zoom until the end of November, at which time they will break for December.

- If you need one-on-one counselling, our leadership teams are still available to meet and pray with you (with masks and social-distancing protocols, of course).

We know this is a difficult time for many of us. Hold on tight to Jesus. Reach out if you need help. Call your brothers and sisters and check on them. Keep being the Church!

We love you, and can't wait to gather together again around the beautiful name of Jesus.

Blessings,

BJ & Jeff.

10/29/2020

HEALTH PROTOCOL UPDATE FOR CHURCH SERVICES

In light of the latest recommendations from public health authorities, we are changing our mask policy at church services.

We are asking attendees to wear a mask at all times before, after, and during services, except when sitting or standing at their designated seat (at which time they are distanced 6 feet from others and not directly facing anybody).

Please note that this policy is mandatory for anyone attending a service.

Our policies are and will continue to be based upon obedience to Jesus and His Word, the law, the latest scientific data and recommendations, consideration for the health-vulnerable among us, and the reputation of Jesus and His Church in our community.

Thanks for your continued flexibility and cooperation, Church!

7/30/2020

PROVINCIAL HEALTH UPDATE FOR B.C. CHURCHES

Yesterday afternoon, our denomination's Regional Ministry Leader, Hamish Buntain, participated in a conference call between faith leaders and Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Dr. Bonnie Henry. Here are the relevant parts of the report he shared with our family of churches today:

"All 3 of these provincial leaders expressed their thanks for the work of faith based groups in ministering to their people during such a difficult season... She is hoping that next summer will be different but expects this season to continue for perhaps another year.

Singing indoors continues to pose a risk. While masks are not mandated indoors, Dr. Henry recommends their use. She said that in church settings it is a wise thing to do. People over 60 are at risk and should stay away from worship gatherings if there will be prolonged singing indoors."

Note from Pastor Jeff: If you're concerned about the safety of singing in church, I would encourage you to read this article. Despite COVID-19 seemingly running rampant in the United States, they are not seeing outbreaks in churches that are following social distancing protocols, despite millions of worshipers attending churches every weekend. The examples cited by health officials as evidence for concern are churches where social distancing was not practiced (nor was common sense). Because we are faithfully observing social distancing and other safety procedures to an even greater degree than American churches, we believe both the science and the observable evidence supports our belief that our small church gatherings are safe. As always, our position may change as new data emerges, and we encourage each person to take the precautions they feel comfortable with.

"Small groups of people who are part of the same bubble is the best way to manage the risks posed by this virus. Still, the people attending should be the same people each time. Do not mix them up with different people each time. Consistency in who is present allows the risk to be minimised."

Note from Pastor Jeff: This means in-home small group meetings are still, unfortunately, off the table for the foreseeable future.

"Unlike the first 2 conference calls I've participated in, I sensed that Christian leaders, were pushing back against the rule of 50 people only in our gatherings. A number of Christian pastors attempted to exert pressure on the provincial leaders to go higher than 50. They cited Costco, restaurants, airlines as examples of places of more than 50 and pushed to have more than 50 in worship. Dr. Henry never budged from the 50 number and told us that there will be no consideration of increasing that number. This is not an arbitrary number but one that they have chosen based upon science and experience. Movie theatres and restaurants have the same restriction. If she had the power, she would make that law for airlines as well. One pastor shared how wonderful it was to have been part of a worship service of over 1,000 in the US. Dr. Bonnie in her gentle voice responded with, “I am slightly horrified to hear that you took part in such a gathering and do hope, that on your return you quarantined for 14 days.” It is odd to me that we have provincial leaders asking faith leaders to practice loving those most at risk, by choosing to restrict and limit ourselves in the exercise of our desires. I find it odd, because that is the biblical principle that we should be teaching and modelling before our congregations and communities and yet, it is our provincial leaders who are teaching us this biblical principle.

In the end, I am grateful for these provincial leaders and the diligence and care they have shown in their leadership. We as Christian leaders can rise to the occasion and lead our people to love all, especially in the way we respond to this pandemic. We can seek God and ask His Spirit for wisdom in what it means to be church in these days. Perhaps this 50 limit will be for our own good as we consider how best to make disciples of the nations in these days.

Anyway, please know that I am praying for you and your congregation. I pray that God will grant you endurance, wisdom, patience, courage, peace, joy, and a huge capacity to love others as He has loved us."

 

7/5/2020

PRAYER & WORSHIP SERVICES

We're going to be partnering with our good friends from God Rock Church for Prayer & Worship Services on Saturday evenings!

For all the details, head over here.

5/31/2020

LATEST HEALTH DIRECTIVES

On May 26 more than 100 faith leaders participated in a conference call with Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to discuss the state of COVID-19 and church gatherings.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

"The current limits of no more than 50 people, buildings at 25 percent capacity and physical distancing will most likely be in place through the influenza season this fall and into next year. Dr. Henry was very firm about the ‘no more than 50 people’ limit. No exceptions."

"Dr. Henry was asked if small groups of up to 15 people could meet at someone’s home. She responded that two families could join together, provided this would be the only family they will continue with throughout this time. Don’t switch which people meet every week. Maintain no physical contact."

"Meals are permitted provided they are prepared by people who are physically distant from each other, and the meals are either plated or prepackaged. This is still risky, so the first line of defence is to not do it."

MEETING FACILITY UPDATE

Prior to suspending Sunday services due to COVID-19, New Hope was renting meeting space at Coquitlam Evangelical Chinese Bible Church. This past week, we contacted them to inquire about the possibility of holding some prayer meetings with social distancing procedures in place. We were informed that the building will not be opening for any reason until at least phase 4 of BC's reopening plan.

There is currently no target date for phase 4, as it is dependent upon herd immunity or a widely-available vaccine.

THE BOTTOM LINE FOR NEW HOPE

Under provincial health guidelines, New Hope can hold gatherings/services for up to 50 people (adults + children), if we are able to practice social distancing. Unfortunately, we currently do not have access to a building in which to meet.

We are exploring the possibility of holding some outdoor Sunday services during the coming months (weather permitting), and are looking for another meeting place to rent.

Before we hold an outdoor Sunday service, we will likely hold an outdoor 1-hour midweek prayer and worship service without childcare. We are hoping to do this in the next couple of weeks.

As you can see from Dr. Henry's comments, having another family over to watch the online service is not really viable yet (unless you're willing to commit to that family exclusively over the next year, potentially!), and small groups meeting in homes is still completely off the table.

PRAYER REQUESTS

We are concerned that the province seems to hold a very low regard for the importance of church gatherings, and the current plans would see even small groups in homes banned for the coming year, regardless of the number of COVID-19 cases.

However, the Church should not be surprised by this, nor should we pity ourselves as "martyrs" experiencing "persecution". We continue to live very privileged, blessed lives in BC.

Please pray for an end to COVID-19, the ability to safely hold services in a building, unity among the congregation, and above all for the will of God to be done in our church (whatever that looks like).

Please continue to fight for church fellowship and unity by joining our online men's or women's groups and tuning in to the online service on Sunday evenings.

Pick up the phone and call someone in the church, just to check on them.

We love you, and look forward to the day we can worship together in-person again!

3/17/2020

ONLINE SERVICES

Starting this Sunday, New Hope will be offering full-length online services in your living room! You'll have the opportunity to worship, study the Bible, pray, and take Communion with your church family or a time that works for you and your family.

Stay tuned for more details.

MEN'S & WOMEN'S GROUPS

Both our men's and women's groups will continue to meet online, using video conferencing. If you'd like the details, just shoot us a quick email.

CONGREGATIONAL GATHERINGS SUSPENDED

By now we are all aware of the gravity of COVID-19 and the necessity of social distancing. Effective immediately, New Hope will be ceasing all congregational gatherings until further notice.

FREE WEEKLY KIDS CHURCH CONTENT

Lifeway is graciously making free weekly downloadable content available, so that parents can do NHKids at home with their own family!

To sign up, just follow these easy steps:

  • Step 1: Go to lifeway.com/redeem.
  • Step 2: Register if you are a new user or login if you already have an account.
  • Step 3: Enter this redemption code: VZMD4SSQ38 (which churches are free to distribute).
  • Step 4: Click “Access” (if prompted to sign in again, sign in) and then click “My Dashboard,” and go to “LifeWay Kids at Home.”
  • Step 5: Download the activity page and one conversation sheet to use while watching the video session.