The two great commands, Jesus said, are to love God, and love our neighbour as ourselves.
Reflecting this, our chief goal and mission is to connect people to the hope of Christ and to each other. In unprecedented times, we’re trying to figure this out day by day. Things get complicated when you get into the nitty gritty details. On a regular basis, we explore creative ways to better managing both overarching goals in this Covid-19-era.
We have created a committee to consider the challenges and opportunities for reopening the building at First B, including meetings for worship and other activities. Several times a week, we reflect on what is our best next step as a church. We know a few local churches are tentatively reopening. We are monitoring how they are (or are not) following AHS guidelines, providing for people’s safety, and how it’s working for them. We can learn from their “best practices.” On an ongoing basis we will continue to reflect on the best options for us.
Echoing Jesus' command to love our neighbours, our primary concern is the health and safety of people in the community and in the church.
We need to keep in mind that:
- Jesus WILL build His church, even through these tough times. We expect - and have seen - God do some amazing things in and through His church over these past weeks.
- The church was never a building. While our building is a blessing to us in many ways, we ARE the church as we live out our faith among our family, friends, and community.
- If the church was never a building, the church has never been closed. Our church is totally OPEN - ALWAYS - as we live our faith in the world.
We’re looking at several options for relaunching in-person services (probably late summer or early September). We’re looking at examples of other churches to learn what works well and what doesn’t. We will continue our online services as well for those unable to – or who will elect not to – come in person. That’s totally fine. But it makes it all complicated.
We know it’s important to (safely) build community, too. Zoom works for some, but not for everyone. It’s complicated gathering in a responsible way. Some people are much more comfortable with this than others. That’s totally fine. But it makes it all complicated.
To combine these two goals, we’re planning an outdoor (on the church lawn), bring-your-own-chair, socially-distanced, face-mask-expected prayer time Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m. We invite you to come, with your lawn chair and face mask, for a time of social distanced fellowship and prayer together. Following AHS guidelines, we will not share food or beverages. Wearing a face mask is a practical way we can “love our neighbour” – protecting the health of others – therefore we expect everyone will wear one. To not wear one shows a lack of concern about the health of others.
We are committed to following ALL Alberta Health Services directives. Currently in Alberta, stringent guidelines restrict gatherings in churches like ours. You can read all 7 pages here. They include
- limits of 100 people,
- all seated,
- all physically distanced,
- congregational singing is discouraged (humming or silent meditation is recommended)
- kids must stay with parents (no nursery)
- face masks are expected
- no shared food/drink (you can bring your own)
- no social times. etc., etc.
We MAY be able to accommodate some occasional small groups in the Fireside Room or Gym with proper distancing, masks, hand sanitizing, etc. There would be large amount of accountability and responsibility placed on the leader for preventing risk of transmission.
We appreciate this is a difficult time for all of us, particularly difficult for people who do not have internet access. We are regularly phoning people, mailing out sermons and study guides, etc.
We will keep everyone informed through our weekly newsletter.
Here are a couple of other helpful links