Dear Church Family,
The health and safety of our families and our team members is of the utmost importance to us. Since the last time we met we have been keeping up to date with the shifting recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Nova Scotia Health Authority. We are also following how government services, businesses and other churches are addressing these recommendations.
As of the morning of June 18th, Premier Steven MacNeil on behalf of the province announced a number of regulations being lifted across the province, including the ability for people to gather in groups up to 10 without physical distancing, and groups of 50 with physical distancing. These groups include church services, weddings and funerals. You might be wondering if or how Stevens Road United Baptist Church would make use of these altered restrictions.
At this time the pastoral staff, the deacons board, the trustees board and all other major committees have decided on a ‘take it slow approach’ to reopening. The church building will remain closed for general use including Sunday worship, funerals and weddings until the end of June. This will give us more time to put into place all of the safety requirements to make returning to church as joyful as possible. Throughout the remainder of June and July we will get together and train a team of volunteers who are ready to make each in person church service possible. There is no date yet for in person services, but we are looking at either August or September.
That said starting now we do want to encourage and help set up ‘Home Churches’. Since March most of us have been worshiping only with the people we live with but this new ‘group of 10’ gives us the opportunity to invite other people into our homes so we can worship together. To be clear the instructions from the Province are ‘People can now gather in groups of up to 10 without physical distancing. People in a group are not required to be exclusive but they are strongly encouraged to maintain a consistent group.’ We want to help link up those who are willing to host a House Church with those who are willing to be hosted.
You might be wondering about either weddings or funerals. The decision was made that until we have opened the church up for regular services we will not be hosting a funeral or a wedding. Pastor Erin and Pastor Christopher are both available to conduct these services in other locations that follow current provincial guidelines.
Now let me tell you all of the ways during this period what we are doing to help us grow in our faith in Jesus and connect as a body.
Each week we are having a digital church service that includes children’s time, prayer, announcements, bible reading and preaching. An order of service is also being e-mailed out each week. You do not need a Facebook account to watch it ‘live’ on Sunday. You can catch the service at this link https://www.facebook.com/stevensroadbaptist/posts
The same digital church service will be broadcast ‘live’ on YouTube at 10:15am and it will be able to be watched on demand after that. No account is needed to watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2JHFcCjsMQQoCeGALWg6Jw?view_as=subscriber.
House Church- Please consider hosting on joining in with someone to watch the digital service together.
The Sunday sermon will be uploaded to our podcast by Monday afternoon. No account needed to listen. You can also find this podcast using your favourite podcast app. https://stevensroadbaptist.podbean.com/
On Sunday Morning at 10:15am you can come to the church parking lot and listen to our digital service via FM radio signal 88.5 FM. This service is the same service that will be broadcast on Facebook and YouTube.
Each week between Friday night and Saturday night an order of service e-mail is sent out to everyone on our mailing list. This e-mail has up to date announcements, prayer prompts and various links to click so you can listen to music, watch or listen to our Sunday service.
We are encouraging staying in contact with one another through phone calls, text messaging, e-mails, and even old fashion letters.
We have a number of volunteers willing to help with any needs you may have and are ready to ‘Knock, Drop and Go’.
Zoom Gatherings- We have been making use of Zoom gatherings. The Youth Group, Kids Night Out (Currently named Kids Night In) a Tuesday Morning bible study at 10am, and a Sunday Afternoon bible study at 2pm.
Following the YouTube and Facebook service premieres we will also be hosting a Zoom coffee and tea time for anyone interested in having a 30ish minute conversation and seeing each other’s smiling faces.
And lastly, we understand that money may be a personal issue for you and your household in this time but we ask that you please consider giving on your normal schedule if possible. We accept e-transfers (firstname.lastname@example.org), we can set up automatic withdrawals, checks can be mailed, picked up or dropped off through the church’s mail slot handy the office door. We also want to say thank you for being faithful in your giving so far, it has been a blessing.
While we are starting to find our way towards a new normal we will be physically separated for a while longer but please know that none of us are alone. While we are each in our own space, we are still a community joined together through our faith in Christ as our Saviour and Lord. We will see the end of this period in this church’s history and this period of world history before too long. God will lead us through.
Pastor Christopher On behalf of Staff, Deacons, Trustees, Christian Education, Worship and Finance