Unfortunately, the news was not favourable. We received notice that our COVID-19 prevention protocols should be tightened back up. Which in turn, restricts some components of our Sunday physical gatherings. In our attempt to adhere to Yukon Health requests, and maintain unity with our local health officials, we are requesting the following:
Updated Mask Protocol: “Masks should be worn at all times…even during the sermon.”
- This is a shift back from our previous directive of being able to remove masks once seated (and not singing or speaking).
- Beginning this Sunday, masks should only be removed while eating or drinking, then placed back on.
Updated Socialization Protocol: “Impromptu socializing before and after the faith gathering should be strongly discouraged.”
- This is also a shift back from our previous directive of social distanced socializing (small groups) with masks.
- Beginning this Sunday, socializing in small groups should happen outside of the building.
Updated Public Speaking (Preaching) Protocol: “A mask should be worn while preaching.”
CAVEAT - There was significant push-back from a number of faith leaders on this protocol for two reasons:
- Many elderly and hearing impaired congregants need to see the lower portion of a speakers face to understand what is being communicated.
- There can be significant breathing difficulties for a speaker orating for 30-40 minutes while masked.
- An example was given whereby Dr. Hanley removes his mask when giving public updates even though other officials and media personnel are in the room.
- This protocol is now under review and pending revision.
- However, beginning this Sunday, we will be moving back to video preaching for the two reasons listed above, until the review and potential revision is complete.
Other Notes of Interest
- Regarding timeline, it was asked if these restrictions would last until Thanksgiving, or even Christmas. (No timeline was given other than, “We’re hoping for weeks and not months.”)
- Our Wednesday night film team can continue as we have been. We have never stopped our pre-recording process, so that system will continue each and every week.
- Please continue hosting Church At Home groups with your bubble of friends and family. We will continue to provide content and discussion questions every week. Please continue prioritizing church-time as a constant in your lives.
- The church building is still open for those who prefer to attend physically. Our gathering maximum is still at 1/3 capacity, 59 people in the auditorium at 9:30 and 11:00 AM.
We’ve been here before.
This was my first thought this morning as I got out of bed, knowing that I had to write this email. Then as I poured my coffee, it was there again, “Jeremy, we’ve been here before.”
On some level it’s a depressing statement, reconciling with the fact that we’re jumping through the same hoops, yet again. Equally, it’s an optimistic statement because we know these hoops, both what they look like and how they feel as we pass through them. Yet, it’s not lost on me that “being here before” isn’t compelling enough to keep us all jumping (for joy) through these hoops…I needed something more, and I’m sure you do as well.
Coffee in hand, I sat down and asked the Lord to give me something encouraging to hold onto to, and to write to you in this message. He led me to Psalm 125:
- “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” (Ps. 125:1)
There it was. With that Scriptural promise God completed my initial statement: “We’ve been here before; trust in Me.”
All of a sudden I realize that it’s not about a self-centric pep-talk. It’s all about Jesus; He being at the centre of this whole journey. When we trust in Him, we move past our earthly understanding toward the eternal. It helps us get a bigger, better, and perhaps (whether we want it or not) longer perspective on the pandemic and all the hoops we continue to jump through as we move back and forth through the various phases of restriction and reopening.
Today, this week, this month…and maybe even for the rest of the year…may we choose to trust in Him, so that we will not be moved, and may abide in Him in this moment, and forevermore.
Lead Pastor, Mountainview Church