Church Update from the Elders (April 3, 2020)

[By Wayne Hope, Clerk of Session and Rev. Matthew Ruttan, Pastor]

Posted: April 3, 2020

Dear Westminster family:

In this post we would like to give you an update about life at Westminster on behalf of our elders. We met last night (Thursday, April 2nd) for a special meeting using an online platform called Zoom. It was wonderful to be able to use this technology with all of our active elders participating.

As everyone is well aware, these are uncertain times. Many aspects of our lives have been impacted by COVID-19. We want to acknowledge how difficult a time this is for so many. Our daily lives have changed. Some may have uncertainties or fears that they never thought they would have. May we continue to support one another as best we can, and may we continue to prayerfully look to the Lord for wisdom, guidance and strength as the hands and feet of Christ.

After we previously made the decision to stop holding public gatherings for worship and cancel the March Break Camp, we indicated that we would meet again on April 2nd to reassess the status of our programs at the church.

Since the Province of Ontario has indicated that there should be no public gatherings of more than five people, activities will continue to remain cancelled until further notice, and we will continue to lead worship services with a live-stream-only format (with a team of 4 or 5) so long as it is permissible by the Province. We will respect the guidance of the Province, including the appropriate best practices concerning social distancing measures. We are fortunate that one of our elders, Cathy Clark, is the Director of Safety, Security and Occupational Health at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie. She has been proactive about keeping the elders up-to-date with the latest information from the Province and has been providing helpful guidance on these issues.

We will continue to keep the congregation updated about various matters before the elders including programs or outreach initiatives as well as the financial well-being of the congregation.

We have offered our facilities to Royal Victoria Hospital should they need extra space during this crisis. We will keep the congregation informed should this be a need going forward.

Holy Week is upon us. It is a very special time in the Christian year. This year, all around the world, Christians will celebrate differently. This will be challenging, but we will still rejoice in response to what God has done for us in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

On Maundy Thursday at 7pm, a service will be uploaded to YouTube by Pastor Ruttan where you will be invited to celebrate Communion virtually. He will walk you through the service, and you are simply asked to bring a worshipful heart, your Bible, and some bread and grape juice or wine. Our Good Friday service will be live-streamed at 10:01am as we reflect on the crucifixion, and Easter Sunday will also be live streamed at 10:01am.

Our Music Director, Jenn Harris, also had a wonderful idea that we have decided to adopt. After the pandemic is over, on our first Sunday back in the building, whenever that might be, we will again celebrate Easter Sunday!–this time gathered physically as God’s people! We are a people of hope!

In Christ’s service,

Wayne Hope, Clerk of Session | Rev. Matthew Ruttan, Pastor


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