Dear Emmanuel Family;
As news concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19) circulates, we want you to know that your church staff and elders have been prayerfully considering our responsibility to care for and protect our church family and surrounding communities. We are keeping informed of any decisions and directives being made by our government and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Our Ontario government has just made the decision to cancel all public schools for 2 weeks following March Break in order to try to contain the virus. We also are taking this very seriously and want to find a balance between taking appropriate preventative measures, while not giving in to fear or panic. We are so thankful to know that our great God is in control and that we can rest in His sovereign plan for each of us as individuals, and for us as His church.
We want to outline what our response as a church will be to this health crisis. First, we need to highlight the importance for each of us to take responsibility for caring for each other. If you have any signs of illness, please stay home. If you have travelled to any of the countries listed on the Government of Canada website (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices), you should quarantine yourself for 14 days, even if you are showing no symptoms. For more information on prevention and symptoms, see the Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit website: http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Promos/Novel-Coronavirus.
If you are a senior citizen or have a compromised immune system, please consider staying home from any large gatherings. Wash your hands often. Please help us to protect our community by being proactive yourselves.
As a church community we have determined that there are two different levels of response that we will enact as new information is available to us:
LEVEL ONE – THIS IS OUR CURRENT STATUS, AS OF MARCH 13, 2020
Modified Sunday Morning Ministry:
- We are doing, and will continue to do, a thorough, sanitizing clean of all facilities.
- We will refrain from physical contact (handshakes, hugs, etc.) and encourage use of hand sanitizers and hand washing.
- Our offering receptacles will not be passed during the service; there will be collection containers at the back of the church. Alternatively, please take advantage of our online giving option (www.emmanuelbarrie.org/giving).
- We will make amendments to how we serve communion.
- We will suspend our Sunday Morning Café ministry until further notice.
- Our Kids Ministries will provide a volunteer to help with the computer sign-in and eliminate the need for parents or children to touch computers or iPads. We will remind our Kids Ministries volunteers to stay home if they are not well and encourage parents to do the same with their children if they are not well.
Services and Gatherings Suspended:
- Should things escalate, which may happen quickly, your staff and elders will be staying informed of any Health and Government directives regarding cancelling large gatherings. This would mean the suspension of our programs and services temporarily. As the situation progresses to level two, we will keep you up to date through our website, email and social media. Should this happen, our staff will continue to minister to our people through this time in any way we can.
Things to remember in this health crisis:
- We need to pray. Here are some suggestions: We can pray for those who have been infected and the families dealing with their illness. We can pray that doctors will be given wisdom to know how to deal with this terrible virus. We can ask God how He can use us to be His hands and feet during this time in our communities, and we can pray that God will use this time of uncertainty to turn many hearts to Him.
- We don’t need to be afraid. “God is our refuge and strength, and 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)
- We need to be wise. Use extra precaution. If in doubt, please stay home. And remember that if you are at home, and even if our services are cancelled, we will be live streaming on Facebook (Emmanuel Barrie) and through our website.
- We need your support. Thank you for supporting your leadership during this time. And if you are unable to give financially in person, please consider giving online. At a time like this your ongoing support is so valuable in order to see God’s work continue and to be able to have ample resources to support our community. (emmanuelbarrie.org/give).
Please know of our love and care for you. Our desire in being proactive is to be loving to our community, to help slow the spread of this virus and to protect those most vulnerable. We will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops.
Your Emmanuel Staff and Elders