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We have been actively continuing to prayerfully consider when and how we incorporate regathering as a part of our relaunch of Covenant. As a part of that process we are listening to our Be In Christ Church of Canada leadership, Health Units (both provincially and locally), and seeking input from local health professionals. What we are hearing (and beginning to see in the numbers) is a likely second wave of COVID-19 cases. In fact, as one healthcare professional told us, we are currently at greater risk in our community than at any previous time during the pandemic.

Additionally, as our deacons have reached out to many within our church family, we are discovering that most people are not ready to regather yet. This has affirmed our commitment to provide a quality online option for engaging with our Sunday morning gatherings and upcoming Covenant Cohorts. We must be able to do this effectively from our church building before we can consider regathering.

In light of this, we are retaining our commitment to not regathering before labour day and we are adopting a process that we need to follow before we are ready to open for public gatherings. We are planning to follow each step of this process and each step may take more than one week. We are not putting a specific timeline on each step.

  1. Obtain all necessary equipment to stream live services from our building. We have begun this process and are drawing on money in our New Ministry Fund to make this happen. If you would like to contribute financially to ensure we are able to obtain this equipment (which may cost up to $5,000), please designate special gifts to that fund.
  2. Once the equipment is in place, work with our online ministry team to begin running online services from the church in a manner that is similar to what they are now. (Most of the elements on video with Jon leading live.)
  3. Once our online ministry team is able to do this effectively and safety protocols allow for it, we will add music teams to our live online services. This will add more people to the building and add complexity to both the in person and online production.
  4. Once the elements in stage 3 are figured out we will welcome volunteers - greeters and cleaners - to participate on Sundays to clarify and rehearse the essential roles they will play in fostering a healthy and safe environment.
  5. Once our volunteers are in place we would move to a "soft launch" stage in which some invitees would come to experience the service in person and give the volunteers the chance to practice their roles with limited numbers of people.
  6. After the soft launch has assured us we are able to handle the flow of people, we will be able to re-gather using a registration process and adhering to all regulated and recommended safety protocol.

As you can imagine, this will take time. In the meantime we will be looking to launch reimagined children's ministry, reimagined youth ministry, Covenant Groups, and Covenant Cohorts. Depending on restrictions at the time, some of these may be able to have an in person component.

Please pray for our church family - especially those for whom this time is especially lonely. Please pray for the various stages - that we will be able to access all necessary equipment and supplies for each stage. Please pray for those who will be leading the different teams. Please pray for our leaders - church leaders, health care leaders, and government leaders - who are doing their best to discern the way forward during this time. And please pray and work aggressively for unity in this very divisive time.

I've been reminded of the truth that we can't please everyone, but I pray that we can remain together as a family united around Jesus during these challenging days.

Peace to you,