November 9th, 2021 COVID-19 Update
Dear Mountainview Church Family,
On Sunday evening, I was relaxing in my chair, reflecting on a rewarding day of ministry, and looking over my weekly calendar. One of the meetings that I was nervously anticipating was booked in for Tuesday (today), with a handful of local evangelical pastors.
The goal of our meeting would be to pray about, discuss, and Lord willing, formulate a collaborative response on a potential shift for our churches, set to launch on November 30th. There had been whispers of a vaccine mandate for all faith-based gatherings, which could significantly impact our role as pastors. Up to this point, our government officials (specific thanks to Patricia Living), had maintained great lines of communication with faith leaders, so we hoped they would seek our insight before launching such a mandate.
Last night, everything suddenly shifted.
As you all know by now, the Yukon Government rolled out the new mandate 3 weeks earlier than anticipated, which included faith-based gathering restrictions of “maximum 50 percent of venue capacity with proof of vaccination required; seating limited to individual households with physical distancing between households”, and “mandatory masking in all indoor public settings".
Needless to say, this morning’s meeting with that handful of pastors shifted considerably! Instead of working through hypotheticals, we were forced to discuss our current realities, starting as early as this Sunday. There wasn’t much discussion about mandatory masking, 50 percent capacity, or encouraging households to sit together. There was, however, a unified concern expressed on restricting any segment of our community from attending corporate worship.
We concluded with plans to meet with our lay leaders.
I had already called an emergency Pastor-Elder Team meeting for this afternoon. We prayed, then I relayed everything discussed that morning. At least one local church had already published an official position, which we reviewed and discussed. We talked through a number of potential alternatives and outcomes but realized that the time to ask for alternative options had not been given in the Yukon.
We considered the situation from a First Century church perspective, as well as situations of illness and infection throughout church history. Biblically, one could pick and choose verses. Theologically, it’s been debated on hundreds of church leadership blogs over the past two years, with no concrete answers.
In the end, we came to two conclusions:
1. This is a new, and complicated journey for the local church.
2. This mandate feels rushed and we need more time.
So, Mountainview Church will pause and pray.
We will continue filming, but we will pause all physical gatherings for the next two weeks, temporarily moving back to online and at-home gatherings. This will give our Elders more time to pray, discuss options with our Board, and carefully evaluate our next steps. We must seek the Spirit’s guidance and discernment at this moment.
I strongly encourage you for the next two weeks, to connect with another household for Church-At-Home. Please contact that family with who you frequently share life, and have church together. Break bread together, and pray together for all levels of leadership, from our local church to territorial officials.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)
This is the verse that came to me late last night as I stared at the ceiling, struggling to fall asleep. For some reason, it gives me a mental picture of John, “the one whom Jesus loved” resting against his Lord at the communion table. (Jn. 13:23)
After today, I think a lot of us long to be John; longing to rest on Jesus. Though physically separated for a time, may we corporately rest on Him together, and unite in prayer. If you have any questions or concerns, or specific requests, please don’t hesitate to email our Pastor-Elder Team.
Lead Pastor, Mountainview Church
(867) 335-7524 or email@example.com