Some of you have been asking about our District response in light of the easing of some governmental restrictions both now and in anticipation of additional lifting of restrictions in the coming weeks. Allow me to make a few comments:
- I would like to thank all of you for the ways you have faithfully adhered to our District requests for the limiting all in-person meetings and as much as possible your live-worship recordings from your church buildings. I know you have grieved these losses and I want you to know how much I appreciate your cooperation, both with the District and most importantly with government requirements and recommendations. So far the Ontario government has not specifically addressed the easing of restrictions related to churches, so I encourage you to stay tuned for any future announcements. In the meantime, all I request on behalf of the District is that you continue to strictly adhere to all government restrictions. While we encourage you to continue to minimize your interaction with others (and to always maintain appropriate physical distancing and hygiene practices), you are welcome to resume some in-person gatherings or worship recordings as long as all government requirements are adhered to (see below for a list of the latest government information).
- Last Friday I had the privilege of participating in a zoom call with about 900 other pastors to meet with Premier Doug Ford and some of his cabinet ministers. The Premier was unable to give any additional information about the potential easing of restrictions for churches, but he assured us of his concern. Several church leaders (including our own Alliance President, Dr. David Hearn) in turn prayed for him and our other government officials. It was a beautiful testimony of the church blessing our government leaders and uniting together in Christ.
- Finally, I want to encourage you to be patient in this time of waiting and uncertainty. At this point, it appears that we are in this season for the long haul, probably until at least the early stages of 2021. There may be some opportunity to resume in-person gatherings in 2020, but most likely with no more than 50 people present at a time, and based on the example of Alberta, quite possibly without being allowed to do congregational singing or children’s ministry. I know this is not what we want to hear, but I think it is important that we are prepared for this very likely reality moving forward. Please know that myself and our District team are here to support you in any way that we can as you continue to adjust to this prolonged season of disruption. I’d also encourage you to join our weekly zoom calls, every Wednesday morning from 10am-11:30am. This is an opportunity to connect with fellow pastors and to dialogue together about how we are navigating this season. It’s a great place to be inspired and to learn together!
- In these days of physical isolation, let me encourage you to press into the genuine community that we have in Christ – both within your local churches and in our broader District and National family of the Alliance. This is a time to rally together, to learn from and support one another. You are not alone! If you haven’t been following our 40 days of prayer, may I encourage you to sign up for a daily devotional from your fellow ECD leaders, or look through the link on our website and choose some to listen to or read. I have personally been blessed by the multitude of voices in our ECD family, to sense that we are all in this together, inviting a fresh work of God among us. Now is the time to join together and seek the Lord. Challenges abound – but Pentecost is coming! May you each experience a fresh empowering of the Spirit of God to lead with extraordinary effectiveness in these days.
Joyfully partnering with you,