November 7, 2020
Dear Bethel Church Family,
On Jesus’ last night with his disciples, he said the following words: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32-33)
As you may have heard, Dr. Bonnie Henry today announced further restrictions in response to the increasing cases of COVID-19, particularly in the Fraser Health Region, of which we are a part. These restrictions are concerning social gatherings, indoor physical activity, workplaces, and travel. All social gatherings of any sort are currently prohibited with anyone outside of one’s immediate household. Dr. Henry was then asked a follow up question specifically concerning churches. Her response was that churches are not considered social gatherings and that the 50 person gathering size is still in place. It was eminently clear, however, that we need to be even more careful to take actions and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Unless further direction or information comes to light, we will continue to have in person Sunday services for the time being. As church services are not a social gathering, they do not fall into the restrictions announced today. That being said, we want to make some changes so that we can carefully adhere to the recommendations and requirements put in place by the BC Government for our Sunday gatherings. This means:
We are trusting that God will give us wisdom to continue to walk well through this season. Dr. Henry expressed appreciation for the response of the faith community in BC, and I am thankful that the church has a good reputation with the leaders of our province. We want to continue to keep each other safe and make Jesus look good, and this means that we face further challenges in the weeks and months ahead.
In John 16, Jesus told the disciples that they would have troubles in this world, and we are experiencing a part of that. However, the response to this was not fear, panic, conspiracy, or despair, but rather to take heart. I echo those words to myself and to us as a church family:
This doesn’t mean we don’t have concerns or experience uncertainty, but rather that we don’t let fear impact our decisions. We lean on the truth that Jesus walks with each of us individually and as a church family and we will continue to see God’s faithfulness at work in our lives and in our community.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Terry Christie, Congregational Chair
Jon Reesor, Lead Pastor