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:
"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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.