March 2021 COVID-19 Update

We’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel!

Dear Mountainview Church,

It has been quite some time since I provided you with a COVID-19 update. Truth be told, I’ve felt like we’ve been in a holding pattern, with no real changes to our physical gatherings for months.

Thanks be to God that there are signs of improvement on the horizon. And I’m thrilled to provide you with a few improvements to our physical gatherings, some of which will begin this Sunday!

Coffee & Tea Station - We’ve been test-running beverages over the past couple of weeks, and it’s been working very well.
  • As always, we only use single use compostable cups and lids, and single serving cream, sugar, and sweeteners.
  • There are two hand-sanitizer bottles at the station. Please sanitize your hands before using the pump-pots.

  • You may lower your mask when drinking, but please do not remove it entirely unless you are seated. (Yup, you read that correctly!)

Face Coverings / Masks - This is perhaps, the most significant update to faith-based gatherings in the Yukon.

  • According to the most recent Yukon COVID-19 update on “Physical Distancing” procedures, “People may wear non-medical masks. It is not required if they observe physical distancing.” After reading that, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What will this look like for Mountainview Church?

    • Face coverings should still be worn when…

      • entering the building,

      • walking around / through the building,

      • obtaining beverages,

      • speaking and singing,

      • during our post-service discussion groups.

    • Face coverings are “not required”…

      • while seated, watching video updates.

      • while seated, during the sermon.

  • Of course, those who prefer to continue wearing their face covering throughout the entire gathering are free to do so.

Congregational Singing - That’s right! Singing is back…although still modified.

  • According to the most recent Yukon COVID-19 update for “Singing and Music” procedures, “Participants should face forward while singing…(not in a circle or facing each other).” This of course, fits our typical mode of worship.

  • Performers should maintain a 4 metre (12-feet) distance from the audience”, which we have implemented by taking out the first row of seats.

    • Important Note: As of now, our Music and Tech Leaders have not yet decided on a date to begin live worship. Musicians and vocalists will continue to practice and record on Wednesday evenings, to be displayed on film during physical gatherings.

  • Please feel free to stand and sing during worship, as long as you are wearing your face covering.

Gathering Size - Unfortunately, even though some of the restrictions are beginning to lift, we are still under the gathering size restriction of 50 people (including staff and volunteers).
  • That being said, we have not yet reached our 50-person maximum in any physical gathering. There is room for you to attend if and when you’re ready.
  • If we start to reach our 50-person capacity, we will institute a pre-registration similar to that used during our Christmas gatherings, and that we will be using again for Good Friday and Easter.
Sanitizing - As more people return to physical gatherings, the importance of wiping down and sanitizing high traffic areas and equipment increases.
  • We’re looking for some volunteers, willing to serve for 15-20 minutes, one Sunday each month, between our 9:30 and 11:00 AM gatherings?

  • If you’re able to help us, click HERE to email our Facilities Lead, Aaron Mones. (Big thanks to Aaron and those who join him to serve behind the scenes!)

Final Thoughts - Most of us remember the polarization that took place when restrictions were first issued. It was a struggle to find balance. Opinions were formed, emotions were heightened, and positions were taken. My sense is that as restrictions begin to lift, there will be a temptation to become polarized once again.


There’s a potential for people to become encamped on whether or not restrictions are lifted too soon, or not soon enough, or maybe even how they should be lifted in different ways. We must be aware of the temptation to become divided, and prevent ourselves from being pulled back down this path.


May we take encouragement from the Apostle Peter, writing to the persecuted church. That we should “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pt. 2:17) And if and when things get difficult, may we remember that it is, “to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (1 Pt. 2:21)


This journey has not been easy. And we still have some distance yet to travel. The world is watching us as Christians; how we respond and how we interact with each other through this crisis. May we, at Mountainview Church, continue to seek balance, choose joy, and pursue peace. May Christ and His Gospel Mission be our guide in all things.


Looking forward to seeing a few more of you this Sunday!


Peace,

Jeremy Norton
Lead Pastor, Mountainview Church

Nov. 23, 2020 COVID-19 UPDATE


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

Nov. 24, 2020 COVID-19 UPDATE


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!

Peace,
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 outreach@mountainviewwhitehorse.ca with your delivery request for groceries, prescriptions, or other household items; and we'll take care of the rest.