Elders letter Nov 2020

Dear Church Family,

You may be aware of the latest announcement from the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry yesterday.
In response to a significant uptick in numbers of active COVID 19 cases including higher numbers of ICU admissions and hospitalizations, tighter restrictions to try and stem the spread of this virus have been implemented: starting today November 19 until December 7. 
Included in this announcement was an order restricting any social gatherings, any nonessential travel, and any in-person religious gatherings or worship services.
We do not think this has caught any of us by surprise. In fact, many of us were expecting it as a second wave in the fall.
The doctors in the congregation have seen greater numbers of COVID positive patients in their practices many of whom have had viral pneumonias and have been quite sick. There have been greater numbers of people attending hospital because of flulike illness with shortness of breath.
We still battle to understand much about this virus, and in particular its unpredictability. For example, there are many who may be asymptomatic carriers, while others become disproportionately sick, some without any underlying predisposing illnesses.
There have been many responses to both the pandemic, and these restrictions, varying from those who think there is no virus and that this is a conspiracy, to those who are significantly fearful. Some would view this as religious persecution and the question has been raised "Ought we to obey?"
As an eldership we have made the decision to submit to this government order (it is a law) and will continue to monitor our response as things progress.
The reason for this decision is as follows:
1. We are not being singled out as Christians. All different religions and faiths have been requested to do the same thing. Even sports teams have been prohibited from traveling to compete in other communities. High intensity group sporting activities have likewise been disallowed.
2. Getting sick from a significant flulike illness is never pleasant but getting sick with an illness that is unpredictable in its outcome warrants greater caution.
3. Being in contact with somebody who is becomes positive requires quarantine: that 14 days of isolation can be a significant disruption to life and work.
4. There is a biblical mandate that we have not only to obey our government unless they're asking us to sin, but also to prefer one another, think of others as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2: 3-4). We see this as an opportunity to choose to do just that.
It is also important to emphasize that we don't go to church, we are the church. The church through the ages has faced many challenges but it has simply continued in whatever environment it has found itself in. A temporary restriction on gathering for worship services is not a restriction on our faith.
We gather to worship but that is not the only time we ought to be worshiping. Biblically, our lives are to be living sacrifices which is our spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

So instead of focusing on what we cannot do, we would like to emphasize what we can do!

We can spend intimate time with the Lord reading His Word.
We can spend time in prayer.
We can sing.
We can encourage one another.
We can meet digitally to do the same.
We can hold zoom care groups as we have done.
We can persevere.

No one is prohibiting these things.

This year has been and continues to be without precedent. We have adapted and attempted to continue to live out our Christian lives and be faithful. Let's hold steady, not be discouraged, and not grow weary in doing that. Let’s focus on being a thankful people.
We will revert for the next two weeks to having Pastor Jeremy present the lesson on our YouTube channel, and we are planning to simply continue in our study in Ephesians. We will of course review the whole situation again in 2 weeks on or around December 7.

Thank you for your faithfulness.
The Elders of GFC
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