To: The Congregation of Waskasoo Bible Fellowship
From: Gerald Kiffiak, on behalf of the Leadership Team
Like all of you, the leadership team at Waskasoo Bible Fellowship has been following the quickly evolving COVID 19 health crisis. This is serious and it is real. I, for one, listen carefully every afternoon to the press briefing by our Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and read the comprehensive material on the Alberta/coronavirus website. We intend to carefully follow the guidance given by Dr. Hinshaw, and the instructions on that website.
On top of the health crisis, Albertans have been simultaneously sideswiped by historically low oil prices which will no doubt lead to even more unemployment and hardship. This feels like a devastating one-two punch. This is exactly the time when we feel we need to get together for prayer and mutual support!
So what does this all mean for us? How do we reconcile the prudent health requirements from our health authorities with the scriptural instructions we have been given, such as the following?
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
For now, in Alberta, groups of less than 50 are permitted to meet. Since our numbers are less than that, we have contemplated holding a simple one hour Sunday service with no communion or fellowship time with a focus on prayer and encouragement from scripture. Of course, we would need to keep the required 2 m distance between family groups.
However, as we prayed about this and discussed it, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that we must, for now, cancel all Sunday services. We must also cancel the Youth Group. We need to protect the health of our families. We need to protect the health of those who depend on us. We need to do our part to slow the spread of this disease within our community. We need to do our part to minimize the load on our Health Care system.
Little did we know that the letter written by Paul to the Corinthians, which we began to study in January, would contain so much that applies to our situation today. Paul starts out his letter like this:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
We must stay in touch with each other. We need to support and comfort each other. Starting next week we plan to start a regular phone follow up with every household in our congregation. This will be a wellness and a needs check. Perhaps there is more we can and need to do to stay connected? We are open to ideas.