This morning’s national address from our Prime Minister highlights the importance of social distancing and prudence in personal health. Watch the PM’s address here (or go to globaltv.net). While I have very idealistic theology and practice, I am also constantly saying we as Christ’s body must be prudent without panic.
Prudence tells us that we should stop social contact as much as possible. Therefore, I am recommending that everyone stay home as much as you are able. Please cancel your in-person appointments, meetings, and engagements as much as possible. These are precautionary and voluntary measures to limit the spread of the virus and enable our health care system to help those who need it most. This means we are cancelling all community gatherings, meetings, classes, and public worship at Church of the Cross until further notice. Disinfectant, hand washing, and social distancing are great practices, but not being in contact at all is a sure way to stop the spread of the virus.
Every challenge provides amazing opportunity, so we are at work to provide new avenues for spiritual care, connection, and direction. Our pastoral care and community connections will continue to thrive as we hunker down, protect public health, and turn to God for strength and courage, but they are likely to take on new forms.
The COVID-19 virus is an opportunity for rest and social reset. It is a forced sabbath, during which we may focus on what is most important in our lives and concentrate on giving care and supporting one another. We are asking that you do a number of things while you are home to help in this regard:
- In the next day or two, I will be providing you with some community contacts that can offer some assistance in your isolation. These people are stepping up to run necessary errands and support you, so please contact them with discretion. For now, please call the church office if you need anything. Likewise, if you are willing to help people who are isolated, please contact me so I can add you to the support list.
- Please make a practice of making one or two phone calls a day to friends and neighbours. Call the people you naturally talk to already, but please also include the people nearest you physically, with whom you may or may not already have relationship. Be a good, kind, and helpful neighbour yourself.
- Think about writing good, old-fashioned letters. Give someone you are thinking about a reason to smile when they collect their mail.
- If you are going to the store or to run other necessary errands, ask your neighbours if they need anything. Help other people stay out of the marketplace themselves while offering your practical care. Use this suggestion as a springboard for other ways you might show your care for the people around you who are also self-isolating.
- Get outside. You are not quarantined! God lives in the heart of the city, your neighbourhood, and in nature and all living things. Take some time to enjoy the cold, the sunshine, and the birds beginning to re-populate the city.
Here are some COVID-19 pastoral initiatives that we are working to provide:
- Pastoral phone calls. Our in-office work is going to shift greatly to include connecting with people as our first and highest priority. This offer is open to church members and everyone in the community alike. If you would like someone to talk to, please call me (phone number below).
- Regular communication on Zoom. I have a “Zoom Room,” which serves as a virtual meeting place and I will be meeting online to host regular devotions and other conversations. To begin, click on this link on Tuesday, March 17 at 10 am.
- Sunday morning community connection. In light of cancelling public worship until further notice, we will be providing a time to connect with one another online on Sunday mornings. We will likely read scripture, provide scriptural reflections and an act of worship, and sing together. If someone in your family cannot connect in this way, please consider taking your laptop to their place.
- Educational and pastoral resources you can use at home to support you in your scriptural study, Lenten practices, and faith formation. We recognize that these efforts are mostly internet based and that not everyone in our community has access to equipment that will serve them in this way. If you are being left out by these practices, please call me so we can work together to find a method to connect you. If you are technologically saavy and willing to provide support for others, please call me as well.
Remember that you are not alone. We are committed to our whole community and to the hope and promise of the body of Christ. We trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring new life and transform our reality. We believe God is at work in the midst of the city and that it shall not be moved (Ps 46), except in ways that transform it into a vision of the kingdom of God.
Please pray for all people who provide civic resources, leadership, and care. Pray for level heads and lovng hearts.
Pastor Laura (403) 540-0053 [email protected]