March 18, 2020
Hello church family -
So how are you all doing? These are certainly strange times that we are living in, aren't they? If you had told me last week at this time that in a week we would have cancelled our services and be moving to an online church model, I would have told you that you were crazy. And yet here we are. And despite the craziness around us, the sun is still shining, and the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven (Psalm 11:4).
Yesterday we met as a church board to discuss our continued response to the COVID-19 crisis. With the continued rise of COVID-19 and increased levels of concern, we want to do our part in "flattening the curve" of the spread of this virus. There is increasing alignment internationally that the only way to slow COVID-19 from spreading and overtaxing our health system is to reduce opportunities for the virus to transfer.
We are therefore cancelling all gatherings at Bethany, no matter what size, effective immediately. For now, the church office will remain open with staff onsite. We are working hard to move our communication online, so please stay tuned for more information about how this will be happening. Pastor Stef is very excited about being able to use his creative side: so far this week he has painted a wall in Pastor Jerry's old office to use as a "green screen", planned out some fun videos to share with you this week, and much more. It's going to be great - so please watch your email and our website for more information.
If you are part of another group that meets regularly at a different location, we would encourage you to also suspend meeting for the immediate future. Please consider the recommendations of the public health authorities to practice "social distancing"; we all need to do our part to help slow the spread of the virus.
Please continue to support Bethany financially as you are able. To make an online donation please visit our church website or mail your tithe to Bethany (22680 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC V6V 1B7). This will not only allow us to continue reaching our community with the love of Jesus, but also help us keep our church family connected during this season.
Please also continue to pray for us as leaders as well as for our health professionals as they work hard to contain this outbreak.
I want to leave you with another quote - this time from the wizard Gandalf (from The Lord of the Rings). Gandalf is having a conversation with Frodo that goes like this:
Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
We too may wish that none of this had happened and that the world was not as it is. But while we cannot change the situation, we can change the decisions we make about it. We can CHOOSE to love others, even if we cannot physically be with them. We can CHOOSE to not panic, but instead to plan and prepare and live life each day in a way that honours God. We can CHOOSE to be inconvenienced for the sake of those who are more vulnerable than we are. We can CHOOSE to pray for our leaders, the health care workers, and those who put themselves in harms' way every day. We can CHOOSE to be the feet and hands of Jesus in our communities.
Blessings on you all -