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 Bethel Mennonite Church Newsletter – October, 2020  

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11    

To Our Bethel Church Family,   We have been through a difficult season these past months and it doesn’t look like life will return to “normal” anytime soon.  Although we wouldn’t have chosen to go through this (who would have?), God’s faithfulness has been shown each step of the way.   We know that God has been faithful to us in the past, He is faithful to us now, and we can trust He will continue to be faithful as we head into the future!  

We have heard from a number of people that they are feeling increasingly disconnected from the church family as COVID continues to affect our lives.  The regular flow of life has been dramatically interrupted, meaning we’ve lost the frequency and quality of connection we enjoyed prior to the pandemic.  There are many of us struggling with loneliness and isolation and this will likely become more challenging in the coming winter months.  

As part of our desire to nurture a sense of connection, we will start sending regular written updates to our church family.  This includes a review of recent sermons, prayer requests for church members, updates on what’s happening in our congregational meetings, and the like.  While it won’t replace all of us gathering together, we trust it will help reduce that feeling of disconnection.  If you have something to add or any suggestions, please let us know!  

As you may have heard, the Executive and Ministerial Teams met for a physically distant retreat earlier in the fall and we felt God clearly leading us to focus on relationships as a church family in the coming months.  In response to this leading, we are encouraging every person in our church family to intentionally invest in relationships that have “deep roots and good fruit.”  You may already have relationships like this or you may wonder what this could look like for you.  It can be different for each person, but here are some good questions to ask as first steps:  

1.      Who is someone you can connect with regularly?  This could be by phone, internet, letter writing, or safely in person, and it doesn’t even have to be someone from Bethel!

2.      As Hebrews 10:19-25 reminds us, we should have relationships that “spur one another on towards love and good deeds.”  How can you take steps towards “encouraging one another towards love and good deeds” in your regular relationship?  

If you are struggling to think of someone you can regularly connect with or how to grow deeper in a relationship, I would encourage you to take a moment and share that with God in prayer.  It’s amazing how God wants to work in our lives when we open the door for Him to do so!  You can also reach out to the church office and we can pray with you and also see how else we can help.  

In other news, there has been a lot going on in our church lately!  Please take a look below to see a summary of what’s been happening.  If we’ve missed anything or you would like to add anything, please let us know and we’ll add it to the next letter.  

Church Services:

Online Services:  After experimenting during the summer, we are moving toward a sustainable and consistent process for recording the worship and sermons.  One of the positive aspects of having online services available on our website is that we have the opportunity to reach a wider audience and we pray that there are people who have been blessed by the online sermons and worship.  (In case you’d like to join us there, our services are available on our website at bethelmc.ca)

In person Services:  It has been good to have in-person worship services since this summer.  To ensure that we don’t have more than 50 people in our sanctuary on a Sunday morning, we have used a registration process.  Those wishing to attend in-person services have been asked to register for services, either through our website or by phoning the church office.  We still have room for people each week so please contact the church office if you’d like to attend an in-person service!

Sermon Series:  We have begun a series on the book of Isaiah, which will continue until Christmas.  Similar to how one looks into a mirror (James 1:22-25), we want to look at the book of Isaiah and see where our lives accurately reflect God’s character and where we are called to grow and change.  Previous sermons are available on our website but here are the sermon passages and topics we’ve covered recently:  

Date & Passage - Topic

September 27 - Isaiah 1 Living as the people of God

October 4 – Isaiah 5 The danger of forgetting who God is

October 11 – Isaiah 6 Remembering who God is

October 18 – Isaiah 29 The importance of worshipping with our hearts, not just our words

October 25 – Isaiah 58-59 The importance of worshipping with our lives, not just at Sunday Service    

Staffing Updates

Jon enjoyed a week of vacation prior to Thanksgiving and we are glad to have him back.

Aleah is leading the youth ministry and is doing a great job of keeping connected with the youth from our church and community.  The youth recently had their highest turnout since the beginning of COVID! 

Dan is working as a pastoral intern and engaged in full time studies at Columbia Bible College.

Linda is working 4 days a week and is enjoying babysitting her granddaughter on Tuesdays. 

Corinne Pavlakovic is working in the office on Tuesdays and it is so good to have her on staff.

Leni, with help from her family, continues to serve faithfully in keeping the church building and yard in good condition.   We hired professional cleaners to come clean the Sanctuary on Sunday evenings during the summer but Leni is now able to do that as well.  

Church Business We had several meetings in September and October to review and discuss the ongoing process of forming a Society as well as our new Constitution, Bylaws and Guidelines.  Thank you to those who attended and provided feedback.  We will be voting on 3 proposals regarding forming a Society and the new Constitution, Bylaws and Guidelines in November.   

We also approved the upgrade and installation of our internet in the building.  It has since been installed and has already begun to facilitate ministry in the building.  

Upcoming News & Events  

The Board of Trustees has planned a fall workday for Saturday, October 24 from 9 am – 12 pm.  Snacks will be provided and we hope lots of people are able to come out and help clean up the church building and yard.  

The Board of Outreach has planned a Baby Shower for Tasha Nickel on Sunday, October 25, following the worship service.  The shower will be in the gym to allow for social distancing.   

Our annual Family Fun Night on October 31st will be a much smaller, socially distant, outside event this year.  We still want to provide treats and be a blessing to the families of our community and your donations of peanut free chocolates and candy are appreciated.  Please bring donations to the church prior to October 31.   

November 1st is a Trivia Night in the church gym and everyone is welcome to attend.  This will be a fun, safe event.  Bring your friends and family.  Snacks will be provided.  Start time is 7 pm.    

Prayer Requests  

Praise God that Anne Roche has been doing better lately!   

Please pray for Pat Roche as he is heading in for surgery next week to remove some cancer.  Please pray for peace for him, wisdom for the doctors, and for the healing of God’s Holy Spirit.  

Greg & Jessica Zibin recently announced that they are expecting their second child!  Please pray for a healthy and blessed pregnancy for them.      

In conclusion, allow me to share the words of Hebrews 13 with you:  

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.     

Amen!        

Pastor Jon & Linda Hoock