Saturday March 14, 2020
Dear New West CRC,
As there is a growing concern around the COVID-19 pandemic, our church community wants to respond with wisdom and care. On Thursday we issued a public response that we are now updating.
We are followers of Jesus Christ. We’re not driven by fear but by love for God and neighbour. As a church community, we want to proactively participate with our society in reducing the spread of Covid-19. For this reason, as a precautionary measure, the Elders have decided to cancel our public services tomorrow. We do encourage all of you to meet virtually through a live-stream Youtube video. We will be meeting to sing, pray, and open God’s Word together.
Click HERE to go to our church’s Youtube channel.
We’re reminded of the words of the Psalmist:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…” (Psalm 46:1–2)
In all probability, we will cancel our services for the next week or more, but we will give updates as decisions are made. Please check our church’s Facebook page, or website, or your email for updates.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Andrew Beunk
Tim Breedveld, Chair of Council
Previous Update on Thursday, March 12th, 2020:
As there is a growing concern around the global outbreak of respiratory infections caused by a new coronavirus known as COVID-19, our church community wants to respond with wisdom and care.
At present, Public Health has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada. Moreover, while B.C. has confirmed cases of COVID-19, the latest assessment from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control is that the risk of transmission continues to remain low for residents of British Columbia.
As a community following Jesus Christ, we must not be driven by fear. In all circumstances, what drives us is the call to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind; and to love our neighbours. Let us pray for those who are infected, suffering, and grieving. Let us pray for the medical professionals who are on the front lines. Let us pray for the institutional leaders and specialists who are seeking to find ways to monitor, contain, and address the outbreak.
In order to protect those who are vulnerable, particularly seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions, we encourage you to regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub, and avoid facial contact. If you are feeling sick or exhibiting reported signs and symptoms, we ask you to remain at home and contact your health care provider.
For this coming Sunday, and into the foreseeable future, we are putting in place a number of risk reduction strategies. When it comes to our communal practices, starting from this Sunday, we will proceed with the following adjustments:
Though hand-sanitizer will be present at entrances to the church, please bring your own as we have limited supplies (if you have extra, and can donate, please do!).
Custodial staff and volunteers have been asked to clean all hand-contact surfaces throughout the facility before, during and after each of our large gatherings. Those renting/using our facility—HFAN, choirs, homeschool group, etc. will also be asked to follow this protocol.
For smaller group gatherings that take place in the church or in homes, we encourage each group to decide for themselves whether or not to meet.
Most infections have originated from those who have travelled and come from high-alert areas. As spring break begins, for those who are traveling to high-alert areas, or for those receiving guests who have come from high-alert areas, please consider self-isolating for a period of 14 days when you return home or when your guests are here and/or after they have returned home. We request this self-isolation from large congregational gatherings simply as a precautionary measure.
It is unfortunate that the spread of misinformation has fueled fears, rumours, stigmas, and prejudices. Let us not be motivated by fear, but by wisdom, charity, and care.
May the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019)
B.C. Centre of Disease Control (http://www.bccdc.ca/about/news-stories/stories/2020/information-on-novel-coronavirus)
Vancouver Coastal Health (http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/vancouver-coastal-health-statement-on-coronavirus)