New Life Church COVID-19 Update

March 13, 2020 Update: 4:45pm

 
Dear New Life Family & Friends,
 
Heading into the weekend, I want to provide another quick update for all of you concerning our activities and life together.  Not much has changed since I communicated with you yesterday, but I think we are all sensing an increased concern throughout our valley and beyond as our civic, provincial and national leaders make decisions in response to the information they are receiving from many sources. 

Travel Restrictions.  You are aware, I’m sure, that international travel is being discouraged, and that those returning to Canada from anywhere are now instructed to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return.  It is because of these restrictions that we have suspended our Youth Mexico Team’s departure tomorrow – a 10 day trip that would turn into a 3+ week odyssey including self-isolation following their time in Mexico.  As we work at rescheduling this trip down the road, we are receiving full cooperation from One Life, One Chance Ministries in Mexico, from the airlines and hotels we have booked, and from the parents of the youth team members.  Pastor Phil Wambua is scheduling alternative programming that will be implemented over the balance of spring break, unless we have further restrictions communicated to us. 

Worship Gatherings.  You are also aware that a restriction on gatherings of 250 or more has been communicated, and that such restrictions are now national, not just provincial.  We are supporting this decision, of course, by suspending our Sunday gatherings – both morning & evening – until the restrictions are lifted. 

Daily Online Devotional.  Today we began working on a short (15 minute) video devotion which will be accessed online through our website and Facebook page.  The devotion will include biblical teaching (we will be studying the life of David), updates on any changes affecting our ministries, communication regarding ministry events that are still happening, and a list of prayer concerns. 

We considered taping a virtual Sunday Service, but believe that there are already excellent weekend services available on television, and that our volunteer worship teams should be spending time attending to matters close to home.
 
Children’s Ministry.  KidZone material will be available online for all parents and teachers within our KidZone ministry.  I encourage every parent to access this material as we partner with you in helping your children meet and follow Jesus.  If you are a teacher, can I ask you to contact your KidZone kids, via email, and encourage them to read their Bible, memorize their verse for the month, and pray with their parents for our country?  Thanks so much.

Prayer.  Although large-scale prayer events will not be wise, I encourage you to meet together in small groups and pray.  Nothing that is happening is a surprise or concern to God.  He remains firmly in control of our universe and is using these moments as an opportunity to express Himself through His people and many other ways.  Look to Him for wisdom in responding to neighbors, friends and loved ones.

Opportunities to Serve & Give.  Please check our website for details of how we might be able to help out in our valley during this time.  Take time, too, to contact your neighbours and keep an eye on those who might be especially vulnerable, especially the elderly.   We want to be Christ’s hands and feet to our community, using this opportunity to clearly exhibit the love of Christ in difficult and uncertain times.

Finances.  Though we’re not gathering in-person for church, our expenses remain, and I so appreciate your continued commitment to our life together.  Because of our online giving option each of us can still contribute to our budget.  Call the office if you have any questions about online giving or drop by the church offices and speak with Henry.

As we head into the weekend, some of you may be wondering what all the fuss is about, while others of you will be stocking up on supplies and worrying about what will happen next.  No matter where you are I encourage you to join me in asking our Father God to use this time of global uncertainty, confusion and fear to remind the world of His love, His unlimited knowledge and understanding of every event and every person, and of His complete control over all things.  Pray that His glory, His justice, His power and His mercy will be seen and experienced throughout the earth.  That the proud will be humbled and the humble lifted up; that those in authority would turn to Him for wisdom & help, and that Jesus will be expressed through His Church across the world.    

God bless you – see you via video on Monday!

Pastor Ken Nettleton

 

March 12, 2020 Update #2: 5:45pm

 
Dear New Life Family,  
 
Within hours of my first update, we’ve received direction from our provincial authorities regarding travel, public gatherings and ongoing precautionary behavior.
 
So, with these latest directives in place, let me provide for you a revised set of plans pertaining to our congregational activities.
 
This afternoon, provincial health officials communicated new restrictions on international travel and large group gatherings, both of which directly impact New Life.  The first restriction on travel has effectively brought to a halt our youth team’s departure for Mexico.  I have directed Henry and Pastor Phil Wambua to work with our travel partners and One Life, One Chance ministries in Mexico to reimburse and/or reschedule the trip for a future date.  While this will be a disappointment to all of us, a larger view of things makes it easy to realize that we are now in uncharted territory with our government leaders who are doing their very best to guide the province and nation through this time.  Please pray for them, asking God to grant wisdom, empathy and cooperation from us, the public that they serve.
 
Additionally, the size restriction on gatherings of 250 or more have put both our morning services on hold.  While it would be possible to schedule three or four smaller gatherings, to do so is to miss the point our civic leaders are making, which is to restrict larger gatherings in order to halt any possible spread through close contact.  With this understanding, we are postponing our services until the provincial ban is lifted.  This may be a few weeks.  In the meantime, we will begin Monday to provide daily video devotions that can be accessed online through our website and facebook page.  We have considered taping a virtual Sunday Service, but think that the daily devotional format will work better in keeping us together.  That said, we’ll monitor how our first week goes and review things next week. 
 
KidZone:  As I mentioned in my earlier message, KidZone material will be available online for all parents and teachers within our KidZone ministry.  I encourage every parent to go through this material with your children.  You remain the main spiritual influencer in your child’s life, and we want to partner with you in helping your children meet and follow Jesus.
 
The7:  Although attendance at the7 is below the threshold number mandated by provincial health authorities, I believe it is best to give our evening service a rest, too.  We will review everything weekly and update all of you as we move forward, so stay tuned.
 
Prayer:  Let’s take these days of uncertainty to focus on prayer for our world and community.  Although large-scale prayer events will not be wise, can I encourage you to meet together in small groups and pray for what is going on.  Nothing that is happening is a surprise or concern to God.  He remains firmly in control of our universe and is using these moments as an opportunity to express Himself through His people and many other ways.  Look to Him for wisdom in responding to neighbours, friends and loved ones.
 
Opportunities to Serve & Give:  While the impacts of the coronavirus mean some changes to our daily lives, the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of people have not been put on hold and we must continue to care for those around us.  If you are willing and able to help meet the needs of people in our congregation and community who might need practical help such as a ride to the doctor, a trip to the grocer, or a cup of tea together in the afternoon, can you let Marita know?  We want to be Christ’s hands and feet to our community, using this opportunity to clearly exhibit the love of Christ in difficult and uncertain times.
  
Finances:  Though we’re not gathering in-person for church, our expenses remain, and I so appreciate your continued commitment to our life together.  Because of our online giving options each of us still have the opportunity to provide for our budget.  Call the office if you have any questions about online giving or drop by the church offices and speak with Henry.
 
Office Hours:  Throughout this season of change the New Life office will be open as usual for pastoral needs.  Drop by if you want to chat about anything – the coffee is always on!
 
Finally, as our world tries to get a grip on what is happening, be reminded that the power of God has not changed; the truth of Scripture has not changed; the hope of Jesus has not changed, and; our mission as a church has not changed. Let us not give in to fear. Rather, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
 
Bless each of you!
 
Pastor Ken Nettleton
 

March 12, 2020 Update #1: 2:45pm

Dear New Life Family,
 
I want to update you on what’s happening at New Life in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) news that we’ve all been receiving. Like you, I’ve been following this evolving story with concern. I’ve also reached out to local city officials and spoken with a number of other pastors in the area to gain perspective on how to best move forward. Please read through this entire notice as it contains detailed plans for keeping our campus safe, and how you can help.
 
At this time, provincial health officials are not recommending the cancelation of public events or Sunday church gatherings. New Life will remain open and we will continue to have services on Sundays and midweek gatherings and groups. In the event that these recommendations change, or we determine it is in the best interest of our New Life family to close for a time, we will inform everyone to the best of our abilities through our website, emails and social media.
 

Right now, here’s how we are committed to keeping our campus clean:

  1. We will sanitize highly touched surfaces before, during and after every service such as doors, handles, water fountains, check-in stations, and sinks.
  2. Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick. In addition, our Brewlife Team will wear gloves when they serve coffee.
  3. We will provide additional hand sanitizer stations around campus for everyone to use as needed.

 

We are also asking you to practice common sense by considering the following:

  1. Stay at home when you or a family member are sick.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  3. Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your arm.
  4. Get in the habit of NOT touching your face so often.
  5. Forgo shaking hands at church for a wave or a friendly smile.
  6. Attempt to maintain appropriate social distances when unsure of your circumstances.
 

Should we decide to withhold Sunday gatherings, we have plans to offer the following:

  1. Daily video devotionals online via our website newlifechurch.ca.
  2. Weekly KidZone content, also available online.
  3. As already mentioned, we are also asking local municipal authorities about any help they may require caring for people in our community through the provision of hampers and practical acts of kindness. Should this opportunity arise, we will be calling all those healthy and willing to assist in the creation of care packages and their delivery.

 

Questions or Concerns:

If you’d like to share your thoughts, concerns, questions, and ideas with us as we navigate our response to this situation, we’d love to hear from you. Your input and feedback are important to us, of course. Use our email office@newlifechurch.ca  with any questions or comments.

 

Be assured that we are doing our best to stay abreast of the ongoing situation, and preparing for any outcome. And please remember that God has not called us to live in fear but in faith. As the apostle, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” My prayer is that God will fill all of us with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.

 

God bless you today.

 

Pastor Ken Nettleton