Dear Rehoboth Congregation, March 19,2020
As Covid-19 continues to spread across our country, province, city and world, we see local and federal government taking steps to try to stop its spread. Individuals have been called upon to do their part. We have probably all learned a new word: “social distancing.” In all of this, we give it over to the Lord who is sovereign over these times as well. The government has put in place regulations that limit the number of people that can be together. Therefore, at our video conference consistory meeting last night, the following decisions were made.
We will not be having public worship services for the next 4 weeks. At that point we will reconsider the situation. Instead, services will be pre-recorded and then released at the ordinary worship times (10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday). We will attempt to release these services via multiple media. We will provide links to the services for the congregation.
The reasons for pre-recording the services are:
1. Sometimes the livestream cuts out or is shaky. Pre-recording will hopefully alleviate that problem.
2. This will make it easier to broadcast the services on more platforms (e.g. YouTube).
3. This will make it possible to redo a part of the service if the recording equipment is not working properly.
4. By recording the service on Saturday, it will ensure that no one “shows up” for worship in the building because they see cars in the parking lot.
At these recorded services, there will be two elders present overseeing the service. There will be an accompanist and audio/video personnel. We would like to keep the number of people there under 10.
During the congregational prayer, the pastor will pray for the needs of the congregation, but he will not be using last names. If you have a concern about this, let the pastor know.
As a pastoral suggestions: Use this time on Sundays as a unique time of family worship. Treat it like a service, maybe even wear Sunday clothes and have the kids ready with their printed out children’s bulletin. Try to make the best of a difficult situation.
We will continue to produce an electronic version of the bulletin, though in a shortened form. We will also send out a children’s bulletin so that it can be used for family worship.
We have cancelled all church rentals until at least April 15.
HELPING OTHER CHURCHES
There have been other churches with which we have ecclesiastical fellowship that have reached out to us. If we partner in any way with them, that might be mentioned at the beginning of the service. Not all churches have livestream capabilities.
As Christians we have a unique opportunity to help those in our congregation and our community. Call your neighbour, offer to pray for them, and wisely use this as an opportunity for the gospel. If there are members of our congregation who need anything, please reach out to someone. People want to help but are not sure how. A phone call or email can be a real encouragement.
Please continue to give to the church. There might be another message from the deacons in this regard. E-transfer is available, but cheques can also be mailed to the church. Don’t forget benevolent needs. More to come on this.
All church events are cancelled until at least April 15.
If you have not received a home visit yet, your elder will be reaching out to you to speak about that.
SYNOD WELLANDPORT 2020
The regular URCNA synod meeting has been postponed for a year. It will still likely be held at Redeemer next year.
Please know that these measures are not being taken out of fear. With submission to our governing authorities (Rom. 13), and a realization that the threat of Covid-19 poses is serious, the consistory finds this to be the prudent way to continue to ensure that the Word of God is faithfully proclaimed each week. Though it is strange to not have the regular worship, these unprecedented times call for unique solutions. We thank God for modern technology so that we can virtually join together at the ordinary time.
Let us rest in these words from Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Warmly, in Christ, for the consistory,