Our friends from Graf-Martin Communications have put together a resource page for the Canadian Church. Click here to visit.
COVID-19 Townhall Meetings
Conversation on how to make the most of the benefits that a house church offers and avoid the pitfalls that may come with it.
Pastoring in a season of social distancing.
PDF RESOURCE: Preparing your church for Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Humanitarian Disaster Institute
PDF RESOURCE: Family Discipleship & COVID-19 – church edition
PDF RESOURCE: Family Discipleship & COVID-19 – parent edition
What are the financial and insurance implications related to the COVID-19 pandemic? Hear from an insurance expert and learn ways to minimize the economic impact on the local church.
March 13, 2020 update to churches (click to expand)
Dear MB churches,
As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, our response is not prompted by fear or anxiety, for we know that God is in control of all things. Instead, we reach out to you today out of the responsibility for the well-being of those we serve. To that end, we recommend actions to prevent the spread of illness and curtail the strain on the medical system.
On Friday, March 13, 2020, the government of Canada released a public statement recommending that gatherings having more than 250 attendees should consider cancelling or postponing. This measure helps reduce prolonged (more than 10 minutes), close (less than 2 metres) contact between other individuals in public.
This announcement will impact a few of our larger congregations. In response, CCMBC is suggesting that churches of all sizes consider the following:
- Holding virtual gatherings for worship services, particularly for those with congregations over 250 people. If this is not possible in your setting, consider recording the sermon message with a phone and distribute it to your community via services such as YouTube or Vimeo.
- In times like these, churches will feel the financial implications of withholding services. We encourage you, as pastors and leaders to emphasize the utilization of pre-authorized financial giving. If your congregation is not set-up with electronic giving, congregants can drop donations off at the church office.
We trust that you and your leadership teams will employ discernment as you decide how your church will respond.
March 12, 2020 update to churches (click to expand)
As many of you are aware, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Distressing news such as this causes public anxiety and fear to rise. Government pandemic response protocols, including travel bans, may have a disruptive effect on the work of the local church.
This communication is intended to provide pastors, leaders and churches with practical steps and recommendations to protect and support our churches and faith communities during this difficult time. We recognize that many churches are well-equipped and prepared to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while other churches may not have access to information and resources. We hope and pray that the following is helpful to you.
How should pastors and church leaders respond?
We are here for you…As fear and anxiety grow, our responses to the community must be pastoral: calming and comforting. Please acknowledge that you hear their concerns and empathize with their fears. Offer a clear message of hope and healing. There is no room for doomsday messages or allusion to God’s wrath; these subjects only heighten anxiety and are not helpful.
Be mindful and considerate of those in isolation, find ways to connect with them either virtually or in controlled visitation. Remind them that they are loved and cared for, and they are still a valued part of the church community.
We care for you…Emphasize safety and communicate clear steps of how you are addressing people’s safety. Here are some suggested steps to take in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Taking practical steps will have a demonstrative effect on the community and will reinforce positive behaviours and actions. Announcing these protocols from your pulpit demonstrates care and eases anxiety.
- Encourage those from your church who are feeling ill to stay home until they are well.
- Encourage seniors or otherwise vulnerable people to consider avoiding Sunday and other gatherings for a season. Watching services online or listening to sermons online is a good option until the threat of COVID-19 decreases. Permit them without guilt, to attend or not attend services.
- Provide support for seniors and others who will be experiencing isolation because of these crises. Do this by organizing phone support, grocery pick up, meal delivery and other services that may be appropriate for the vulnerable.
- Organize extra disinfecting protocols for the church, such as providing hand sanitizer and cleaning surfaces etc. Place instructional signage encouraging proper hygiene practices in your foyers and bathrooms.
- Temporarily suspend pot luck or buffet style events
- Suggest that people greet one another without a handshake, or hug etc. and remind them to cough into their sleeves etc.
- Be intentional with offering and communion. Example: Take offering at the end of the service having the ushers hold the basket to allow people to place their offering as they leave. Avoid passing the communion elements to multiple people or dipping bread into juice. You could consider having servers wear gloves to serve the elements while participants come to receive communion. Consider providing prepackaged communion elements may be the best option for health concerns, but also have stewardship implications
- Consider limiting staff travel outside of your home province
- Consider postponing or cancelling short-term mission trips to areas affected by COVID-19
- Consider the postponement of any events held outside of your church, such as retreats. (some insurance companies are currently refusing coverage due to difficulty determining the safety risks of such places.)
CCMBC will continue to pay attention to what other organizations, denominations and groups are recommending and doing to deter the spread of COVID-19. We will update you if further steps are required.
Please receive this invitation to pray for those who have been affected physically, emotionally and financially. It is in difficult circumstances that we are made even more aware of the call to be the church in the world today, and to take the love of Christ to the sick, the hurting, and the afraid.
Jesus, our Lord, you are the light of the world. You are our beacon of hope. Lord God, remember your church in Canada, we are yours. Lord, in your mercy and grace, give us confidence in you and resilience in the face of turmoil. Give peace and hope to those who fear. Draw near to those who are sick among us, lead them to health. Holy Spirit compel us to extend help and care to those in need. May we be salt and light in this time of crisis. May we hear from the heart and voice of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)