Newsletter October 16, 2020

A Message from the Minister’s Messy Desk

At this week’s Session meeting we opened with Lamentations 3:19-33. Lamentations is an oft overlooked book of the Bible in part because it’s authorship is unknown and because it is included in the prophetic literature but comes across as more wisdom literature. Yet, I have found that Lamentations speaks to our times very well. In his introduction to the book Eugene Peterson writes, “Lamentations is a concentrated and intense biblical witness to suffering. Suffering is a huge, unavoidable element in the human condition. To be human is to be suffer. No one gets an exemption…Lamentations, written out of the Exile experience, provides the community of faith with a form and vocabulary for dealing with loss and pain.” Well, we are definitely not experiencing exile but I know that isolation can feel like it! Lamentations, however, is also filled with hope and the passage from chapter 3 talks of always having hope for help from God. It even says that God’s stockpiles of loyal love are immense and God will never walk out and fail to return.  As we plan to re-open in careful ways I pray that we can all feel the hope with which we are surrounded.

The Session met on Tuesday Oct. 13th. Here are some very important highlights:

We will begin in person services following the guidelines in the Re-opening plan with a trial run on Sunday Nov. 1st at 10:30am

Sunday, Nov. 8th will be an on-line only service (pre-taped).

If the in-person service is successful we will resume on Sunday, Nov. 15th.

The guidelines are provided below and must be followed. Elders will also be in touch with you about the guidelines. We will have a formal registration process in place by next week.

Small church committees are also permitted to in the building so long as they too follow the re-opening plan. Those guidelines will be sent to all committee chairs.

At this stage Joy to the World Nativity Display is also considering how they can proceed in a safe manner. Please pray for them as they envision what the event may look like during Advent 2020.

We are looking for volunteers to be a part of our Building and Property Committee. The mission of this committee is to ensure that adequate care and maintenance requirements for the CVPC building and grounds are met. We are also very grateful for the work of Dave Sherstone who has served as chair for many years. His term as chair completes in January 2021. Please contact Dave if you have any questions.

OTHER IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Trinity: The God We Don’t Know Bible study is wrapping up. Our last sessions will take place Oct. 21st at 2pm (in-person) and Oct. 22 at 7pm (over zoom). We will also have the privilege of a Q&A session over zoom on Wednesday Oct. 21st at 7PM with the author, Jason Byassee.

You can join using the link below (N.B. THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM THE THURS. LINK)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88234767912?pwd=U1BvYTVxOEMyY2tjVHdDVzhkYjJFUT09

OR by phoning 1-778-907-2071 (BC) and following the prompts

Meeting ID: 882 3476 7912

Passcode: 764463

 I will be away on holidays Nov. 2-9. There will be a pre-taped service for Nov. 8th available mid-week on our YouTube channel. For any pastoral emergencies please contact Angela Hope, 250-650-8830.

GUIDELINES FOR RE-OPENING In-Person Worship

With God’s help we continue to navigate unknown waters both as a society and as a congregation.  As a Session we feel that the time is right to begin a trial of in person attendance at services.  Our priority is to maintain safety for everyone involved by following the provincial guidelines.

Our first in person service of worship will be at 10:30 on Sunday, Nov. 1.  We will then take a break for a week to evaluate how things went and if all goes well we will resume in person services on Sunday, Nov. 15.

Of course these services can’t look or feel like they did before COVID-19!  So here are some changes to our usual procedures we’ll need to follow.

  1. We will need to maintain 2 metre distances at all times so our seating will be very limited. That means that you will need to pre-register in order to attend.  You can pre-register by phoning the office by NOON on the Friday before or registering online at https://reopen.church/r/G7rtRqfx .  We will be giving priority to those who wish to attend who do not have access to the internet to watch the service on-line.
  2. When you arrive you come in through the front doors only. The doors will open about 15 minutes prior to the service.  An usher will greet you with hand sanitizer and politely remind you to wear a mask.  They will also ask you the usual COVID-19 questions that you get everywhere you go these days.  Please maintain physical distance as you are entering and any time you are in the building.  Another usher will check off your name on the pre-registration list.  This will also help the Health Authority with contact tracing should that ever become necessary.  If your name is not on the list we will ask you to enjoy the service from your car through the FM broadcast or to return home and watch it on-line.
  3. As you enter the hall through the front doors, you can place your offering envelope in the plates on the table, there will be no collection during the service, and place any prayer requests in the bowl. You must write out your prayer requests at home so that we don’t create a traffic jam or handle too many items.
  4. The chairs will be arranged with appropriate spacing and you can sit together with one other from your family bubble. The service will remain about a half hour long.  The music may be pre-recorded. There won’t be any group singing, and may not include responsive readings or unison prayers.  You could hum softly with the music under your mask.  Once everyone is seated an usher will take photograph of the hall so we have a record of where everyone was seated, again an aid to contact tracing.
  5. At the end of the service you will be asked to remain seated until an usher indicates its your turn to leave so that we maintain physical distance. Everyone will leave by the back doors.  We would ask that you continue to maintain physical distancing outdoors as well and not congregate in groups.  We’ll have to wave our greetings to each other!
  6. The washrooms and kitchen remain closed as we do not have adequate cleaning abilities to open these up. Please keep all your personal belongings with you, including your coat.

We are not yet ready to begin offering Children in Worship, one step at a time!

You can of course continue to worship from home, watching the live stream of the worship service.  You can also listen to the service from the parking lot on FM at 88.1.

We are one as God’s family and we care for each other, holding each other’s safety in our hands. As a Session we hope that this small step towards re-opening worship is an uplifting experience for you, but only participate if you feel safe and comfortable doing so.

Corinne Wester

Clerk of Session