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COVID-19 and the NLBC Community

March 13, 2020 | by: Geo Philips | 0 Comments

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General

Dear NLBC Family,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, ESV)

Since our last communication on the COVID-19 virus, we all would have noticed additional news items of note, including

  • The WHO has now labelled COVID-19 a pandemic, which ascribes a higher level of severity to the outbreak
  • Ontario has cancelled the functioning of public schools till April 5th (as of now)
  • While there are no identified cases of community transmission in Ontario as of March 13th, there are several cases of COVID-19 in both Peel and Halton regions due to travel and close contact.

As the people of God bearing testimony to Him in our community, our response to this situation is guided by

  1. Our love for God: We recognize that our ultimate hope, security, and protection lies in God and the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We recognize the importance of our continuing worship to Him during challenging circumstances, hearing from His Word and bringing glory to God through our testimony to the world and each other.
  2. Our love for our neighbour: We recognize the importance of caring and protecting our brothers and sisters and our friends in the community (especially those most vulnerable to this outbreak) by following Godly wisdom and the mandates and recommendations of our governing authorities.

As a result, we are taking the following steps until a time when the situation changes for the better. Additional precautions may also be put in effect in the coming weeks as circumstances change.

Meetings

Sunday remembrance meeting: We are changing our timing of the Sunday services to be from 10-1130 AM effective March 15th. There will be no break between the communion and the sermon and no snacks will be served.

Sunday School: Sunday school classes for both our children and adults are cancelled until at least April 12th.

Friday meeting: Friday meetings from March 20th will move to an online format (instructions to be sent separately). On March 13th, we invite everyone healthy and able to come at 730 PM to pray and plan together, as well as to help make some changes to the seating layout in the church (details are further down.)

Wednesday meeting: We encourage Milton and Mississauga/Brampton prayer groups to continue meeting together using digital tools.

Church Practices

Communion and offertory: Communion helpers will be serving the bread precut into cubes and continuing our practice of serving the cup in individual containers. Volunteers will also be bringing the emblems to you (or you may have to walk towards the ends of the pew); we should avoid passing the containers among ourselves. The same process applies to the offertory as well. To accommodate this change, we will be increasing the gap between the pews to make access in and out of them easier.

Seating: We encourage family units to sit together and to maintain a reasonable distance from other families. This will require us to use all the seating available to us, leaving gaps in between.

Fellowship: We are a very loving community but for the time being, we should communicate that love by means other than handshakes, hugs and other forms of physical contact.

Nursery: No formal nursery service will be available for the next few Sundays.

Other Guidelines

  • We ask that you stay at home if you are sick or someone in your care is sick.
  • Current health guidelines recommend that if you have recently travelled outside the country including to the US or if you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should isolate yourselves from community exposure for a minimum period of 14 days.
  • Continue to practice proper hygiene especially regular washing of hands with soap and water, coughing and sneezing into your sleeves and other best practices as outlined by the Peel region at this link. We are unable to ensure that hand sanitizer solutions will be available on the church premises so feel free to bring your own from home or using other means.
  • There is some additional information for COVID-19 reporting and testing at the bottom of this post, but if you are sick and unable to come, do let the elders or deacons know so that we can keep in touch and pray for and with you.

Our Perspective

We continue to praise God that the risk level remains low for us in Ontario but we are taking these precautions in our zeal to bear a good testimony to the name of the Lord.

We should encourage each one of us to not be anxious or live in fear but be fervent in prayer, exhortation and fellowship by the means available to us.

We are confident that God will bring us through this trial as He has brought all of us through many in the past. At the same time, this temporary disruption should encourage us to think about the severe persecution that many Christians face in different parts of the world to worship God in freedom and their faithful testimony should challenge us to persevere in our praise and worship by all available means during this time.

We desire that this time passes soon and we can go back to our regular schedule of embodied worship and fellowship and that we use this time to grow in our knowledge and love for God and our love for each other.

If you have any questions, please contact one of the elders.

Abba Father,

We thank you that You are our God. In times like these when panic and anxiety can grip our hearts, may it be Your continued comfort and ever gracious presence that will remain our hope and strength.

We pray for those who are sick. We pray, Father, for their physical healing and their spiritual health-- that these experiences will have them draw close to You through Jesus Christ, Your Son.

We pray for Your protection on us. For those who are caring for the sick; for those who find themselves in unavoidable situations that might unduly expose them to this virus.

Lord, we pray that we are Christ-like in our demeanour at all times. Not isolationists but serving; not selfish but selfless; not careless but careful. Help us to show the love of God to our neighbours as we respond with love to those around us, in ways you show us how.

In Jesus’ name, Amen 

PS

These links are helpful resources

Christians, This Is Our Moment: A Call to Clarity and Mission

Govt. of Canada guidelines for gatherings

If anyone suspects that they have caught the coronavirus, you should call 811 (don't call 911) instead of going to the hospitals or family doctors, to avoid spreading the virus.

Once you are connected to 811, medical specialists will be arranged to do a home visit and inspection.

Direct phone no. for Ontario Residents: 1-866-797-0000

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