Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Believe in God,
believe also in me. (John 14:1)
Jesus spoke these words to his disciples at a time of deep turmoil, uncertainty and fear.
To "believe in God" and to "believe in Jesus" means to trust the deep inner wisdom, truth and light that exists in our lives by the indwelling presence of God's Holy Spirit. We do not face this strange time alone. We have within us the power of God's presence guiding and sustaining us no matter what the future may hold. We can trust that inner wisdom and strength.
It is vital that we be sensible in our choices and practice the best possible personal hygiene. But it is also important that we find within ourselves that deep "heart" place that, no matter what may be taking place on the surface, is able to join Julian of Norwich who lived in a profoundly troubled time in history, and know that,
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all manner of things shall be well.
On Wednesday this week religious leaders of BC had a conference call with Premier Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Subsequent to this meeting, it has been decided that it is appropriate to proceed with public worship. Our musicians plan at the moment to be present for the 9:00 service and Julian will be at the organ for 11:15.
We have, however, been instructed that, effective immediately, the use of the common cup will cease and we are to suspend coffee time. We are encouraged to respect one another's space; I expect there will be lots of room to make this feasible this Sunday.
Please remember, we are not exchanging the Peace with a handshake or hug. Offering plates are at the front of the church available to receive your offering as you come forward for communion.
We want families to feel able to attend church if they choose with their children. So, there will be a spacious and possibly outdoor activity for children. Parents may choose to keep their children upstairs. We are also suspending the snack at church for children, including teens. If you are attending church and feel your child needs a snack, please bring it with you and try to ensure your children do not share.
The best source of information about COVID-19 and how to respond is on the government website http://www.bccdc.ca/. It contains information about the virus, how it spreads and what we can do in an attempt to protect our own health and the health of people with whom we have contact.
WHO has declared that we are facing a pandemic. But Eric Klinenberg, a New York University sociologist who has studied the way social isolation leaves older Americans vulnerable in emergencies, has an important warning for us as we navigate these troubled waters. He suggests that we need to recognize that,
we’ve also entered a new period of social pain. There’s going to be a level of social suffering related to isolation and the cost of social distancing that very few people are discussing yet.
I absolutely honour and respect your need and responsibility to make the decision you feel is best for your health and your peace of mind. If you feel unable to join us in person in worship, please try to find ways to maintain connection with your social network and hold the worshipping community in your hearts and prayers.
May you particularly have wisdom and guidance as you make decisions about plans for how you will spend this week of spring break, which comes in the midst of such disruption.
May you all find deep peace, strength and steadiness in this unsettling time. God bless you all,