July 29, 2020
Hello church family!
How are you all doing these days? It’s hard to believe that we have been meeting online for almost 5 months already - our last full in-person service was WAY back on March 8! It seems like almost a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? So much has happened and changed in all of our lives that it’s hard to remember what “normal” actually looks like. We were very excited to welcome some of you back to in-person church on July 19, and we are looking forward to another in-person service on August 16. It's also been great to see some of you meeting in smaller groups both at the church and in your homes or other locations. We are so looking forward to a time in the future when we can meet together again without all the current restrictions. Until then, we will continue to find as many ways as possible to connect with each other, and we will keep focused on the things we can do, rather than those we cannot.
Because through it all, God is good, and we are thankful for the technology that allows us to connect with each other, even it is not in person. We are blessed to have digital means to communicate with each other, even if it isn’t the personal nature we all desire.
Return to Church Plans - Fall 2020
As the staff have been putting together plans for the fall we would like to let you know about some of the things you can hopefully be a part of. At the same time, we realize that we need to hold to our plans loosely as they could change quickly depending on a possible second wave of COVID, or if we are finding certain things are not working or need adjusting. The staff has been working hard at trying to balance out ways to keep us connected, while keeping us safe, while respecting our governing leaders, while being a good witness and example to our neighbours.
Our hope is that, beginning on September 13, we will be able to offer two 50 person live services on Sunday mornings; one at 9am and one at 11am. If we find that both of these services fill up we will then add an in-person "watch party" where a group can watch the online video service together. We are still trying to figure out how to run things for the children during our services and are hoping to be able to offer something in the 9am service for children starting in October, as we learn from some of the things the schools will be doing. In addition to this our pre-recorded online services will continue for those who cannot, or choose not to come back at this time.
As for our midweek programing, there appears to be a lot of desire for Bible Studies and Small Groups. (This also confirms our pre-COVID plan to hire a part-time pastor of small groups.) Therefore, to begin offering these to people, as well as to provide another important avenue for people to connect, we will be launching a small group/Bible Studies sign-up in the fall for people who want them either in-person or through Zoom.
The midweek videos will also be changing in the fall. Wednesday's prayer video will become a Zoom prayer time from 10-10:15am for all those who want to link in and join Pastor Stef. Pastor Stef will also be doing a 30-minute podcast on the gospel of John which will be released every other Thursday at 7pm. For those who want to join a Zoom discussion group on each of the talks, they will be able to link in to the teaching on Thursday's at 7pm where they will be broken into discussion groups with a facilitator afterwards. Pastor Stef will also be working with a team of future small group/Bible study leaders on alternating Wednesdays for training, and to take them through material they will then teach to groups in 2021. The Friday interviews with different people will continue.
As for age-specific in-person ministries here at church (all under 50 people) there will be seniors lunch events every second Tuesday, Young Adults on Tuesday evening, Youth and iConnect on Wednesday evening, praise team rehearsals on Thursday evening, and children's programs on Friday evening. We are also excited to let you know that we will be launching a new website in September - stay tuned for info on this!
As mentioned, we will hold these plans loosely and be prepared to adjust as necessary - we are getting very good at being flexible!
Thank to you to all of you who took the time to respond to our Return to Church survey - we received 115 separate responses representing 315 people, which is awesome! It was very useful information to have as we plan for the fall and onwards. Please CLICK HERE if you are interested in seeing a summary of the survey results.
We understand that some of you are anxious to return to meeting together, while others are uncomfortable with the idea of meeting together in a large group. Remember to always be respectful of others' choices, even if they might be different from your own choices.
We also thank you for your understanding about the policies and procedures that we as a church have put in place for even small gatherings. We will ask you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you enter the building, to register and sign in when you attend a group gathering, to wear a mask when you sing, and to restrict your movements within the building. We understand that some of you may find these procedures annoying, or think that we are going too far in what we are asking you to do. Please remember that we are doing all we can to keep you and others safe, under challenging circumstances.
The situation surrounding Covid-19 is constantly evolving, and as guidelines and circumstances change, our protocols may change as well. During this time, please remember there are no perfect solutions, and we are all doing our best to love our neighbours - to care for, and to be kind to one another. Any further changes to our operations will be made based upon guidelines and recommendations provided by our government and health authorities.
How Can You Stay Connected Online?
These are unprecedented times which demand that our hearts be filled with faith, wisdom from above, and confident leadership. As a church we submit to the governing authority and we collaborate with them in keeping our buildings closed for larger gatherings. However, Church is not about buildings, but about people. It is about YOU, you matter and your story matters. Our church will never close but rather we will adjust our strategy to changing circumstances.
Connect with us
If you are not on our group email list and you would like to be, please call or email the office and we will add you to our list. We send emails almost every day, so this is the best way to keep informed of what is happening at Bethany.
If you are on Facebook, we have set up a Bethany Facebook Group to help us connect with each other. To join the group, CLICK HERE.
Sunday morning video services
The Bible tells us how important it is to gather together, and while we can’t do that in person right now, we’re grateful to have the technology that allows us to gather together online each week. You can watch the service on our website or on Facebook every Sunday morning.
Mid-week videos (until the end of August)
Each week, we provide shorter videos to help you feel connected to the church and to each other.
Tuesday: a teaser of the upcoming Sunday’s service
Wednesday: prayer time with Pastor Stef
Thursday: LOL with Pastor Stef
Friday: Stories to help us stay connected
Please CLICK HERE to view our video messages.
If your small group would like to meet together online, please let the church office know and they can help set you up on Zoom. It can be awkward at first, but it’s a great way to connect and study even while not meeting in person.
Even though we are not meeting in person, Bethany Kids is online! Click on the Bethany Kids Online tab on our website, and you will find weekly videos and activities.
The youth are meeting throughout the summer for various fun events – they might look a bit different than in prior years, but it’s going to be awesome! Click on the Student Ministries tab on our website for more information and to register for upcoming events.
Thank you for your continued financial support of Bethany. We are grateful for your donations and ask that you would please continue to support Bethany financially as you are able. Click here to make an online donation, or you can 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.