November 23, 2020

As most of you already know, cases of COVID-19 have increased in Whitehorse over the past couple of weeks. I'm sure you have been wondering, as I have, "How will this impact our church?" Or maybe the better question is...

"How should Mountainview Church be responding?"
I sent a message to Dr. Hanley's office to (1) ask if there were any new restrictions or directives for churches since the number of cases has increased?  Also, to (2) ask if Dr. Hanley would be hosting another Zoom conference with Faith Leaders in the near future?

They were prompt in responding and answering my questions. Pat Living, the Communications Lead for the Chief Medical Officer of Health, offered the following answers to my two questions:
  • "To address one of the concerns you raised, we have no evidence of community spread. All of our cases so far have a defined or suspected link to travel and/or cases linked to travel.  Community spread is when we cannot trace the point of origin for infection or link cases to each other."
  • "At this time, we are unable to participate in a zoom call with the faith community however I wanted to provide some reassurance that the advice provided earlier this year has not changed and we are not concerned about spread within churches as long as operational plans and numbers are being adhered to."
To conclude, Ms. Living added, "Should the situation change, we will certainly reach out to the faith community to provide further advice and information.A huge thank you goes out to Dr. Hanley's team for continuing to offer help and advice to church leaders like myself, if and when we need it!

We strive forward as planned!
As per the directives received, we will strive forward with the Physical Gathering Strategy that we developed at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will continue to take a "Your Choice at Your Pace" approach. We will refrain from policing attendees, but instead, encourage each person to choose based on their comfort level.

We will continue to provide options for people to gather each week (1) online through a variety of platforms, (2) at home bubbled in Church at Home Groups, or (3) in the church building for those who are able to adhere to the following requests:
  • Sign-in at the Welcome Desk for contact tracing.
  • Maximum auditorium attendance of 50 people.
  • Social distanced seating in family-friend bubble groups.
  • Refrain from attending if you are sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms.
What if we get more cases?
Let's assume for a moment, that case numbers do in fact rise over the next couple of weeks. We can choose now, how we will respond then. Our human nature will cause us to lean toward fight, flight or fright.
  • We may be tempted to fight, pushing back against authorities and restrictions, or forcing our neighbour to follow our personal mask convictions. Remember that we're still called to be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9).
  • We may be tempted to flight, heading to the mountains every weekend, using the pandemic as an excuse to stop serving and reaching people. Remember that we're still called to use our spiritual gifts. (Rom. 12:6)
  • We may be tempted to fright, hunkering down into isolation, allowing live-giving relationships to become secondary behind Netflix and YouTube. Remember that we're still called to be in community. (Heb. 10:25)
Most importantly, we're still called to be on Mission.
We may be tempted to put our personal Gospel responsibility aside "until the Pandemic's over." We can't do that. We might have to be more creative and more inventive in order to reach our friends and neighbours, but it can be done.

The Holy Spirit has blessed Mountainview Church with brilliant people who have amazing ideas. That same Spirit will bless us with the ability to troubleshoot and problem-solve in order to get the Gospel into our city, our territory, and beyond.

Further infection and restriction may come, but Mountainview Church can not give up our mission based on Christ's Great Commission, "To introduce, baptize, and teach people to follow Jesus."

On His Mission,

Jeremy Norton

Lead Pastor, Mountainview Church

November 24, 2020

Yesterday, I sent a COVID-19 update with current information from Pat Living, Communications Lead for the Chief Medical Officer.

24 hours later, we have some new information.
Today, I reached out to Ms. Living again, for some updated directives for our physical gatherings, based on the mask mandate beginning on December 1st. She stated that "The only change is that masks must now be worn in churches or houses of worship."

Basically, because our Sunday morning gatherings are open to the public, they should follow all public gathering directives.

What about this Sunday?
In preparation for the mask mandate on the first Sunday in December, we will be hosting a practice run this Sunday, November 29th. You will notice the following changes:
  • All staff and volunteers will be wearing masks.
  • Disposable masks will be available at the Welcome Desks.
  • All service components (including preaching) will be video-generated.
This test-run will give everyone a chance to try out what it feels like to sit through an entire worship gathering masked-up. We understand that wearing a mask for extended periods of time impacts each person differently.

This is a Sunday of grace to help our church adjust to the new directives.

What about filming on Wednesday evenings?
I also requested information from Ms. Living regarding our Wednesday evening crew. Honestly, this was my greatest concern; wondering how the mask mandate would impact our filming?

Thankfully, because Wednesdays are private gatherings of 10 people, by invitation only, the directives are not the same. Ms. Living offered the following:
  • "As long as the individual being taped is distanced from the taper [camera operator], this should be fine for announcements and sermon."
  • For music, "if distancing is possible, then you would probably be ok but if standing together in a tight choir group, then masks required."
  • For clarification, can the person being filmed remove their mask? "Yes, if they are distanced from the individual doing the taping [camera operator] and that individual is wearing a mask."
In consideration of Ms. Living's guidance, we have decided that vocalists will not wear masks but will be socially distanced. Instrumentalists (who are not singing) will be asked to wear masks at all times.

The blessing of a recording studio!
Some of you noticed that the Pastor's Office was cleaned out in November, then received a fresh coat of paint. This was in preparation for creating a separate recording studio, which will be put into use starting this Wednesday.

All speaking components (Welcome Host, BASECAMP Kids Moment, Scripture Reading, Preaching) will be conducted in this space. This will provide (1) better audio quality, and the side benefit of (2) increased social distancing. (May God bless this new space and use it for His Gospel and His Glory!)

Two Final Requests:
1. Please do not stop praying for our Music, Tech, and Hosting crew! Each week they are serving faithfully to bring the Church into phones, tablets, and televisions all over the Yukon. They are crucial to fulfilling our mission in this season, and I am privileged to serve alongside them!

2. If you have any of these people in your contact list, would you be willing to take out your phone right now, give them a call, or drop them a text? Despite the changes and anxiety of this season, they continue to keep the Gospel front and centre. The least we can do is thank them and encourage them.

Thank you again for supporting and praying for me as your pastor. I can feel it!

Jeremy Norton
Lead Pastor, Mountainview Church

Stay Home, We Deliver

Do you know someone who is elderly, immunocompromised, in quarantine, or is having challenges related to mobility? The Mountainview Church Outreach Team can help!

Simply email with your delivery request for groceries, prescriptions, or other household items; and we'll take care of the rest.