“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One, your Savior. ….. you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you. Do not fear, for I am with you.: (Isaiah 43: 1-5)
The prophet Isaiah’s word came at a time when God’s people were in exile. They were far from home including distanced from their place of worship. They were fearful and despairing whether their God had abandoned them. Into that wilderness time of uncertainty, fear, and displacement, God spoke words of love, hope, and the assurance of Divine faithful accompaniment.
These past days I have drawn comfort and strength through Isaiah’s prophetic message. As God’s people, we are assured that as we journey this pandemic wilderness season, God is with us. God holds us in a wide and strong embrace. God the Good Shepherd’s rod and staff are our source of comfort and strength (Ps. 23).
“Do not fear” – we hear this over and again throughout Scripture. While fear is a natural human response we need not be overcome. When we pass through that dark valley of fear, we are assured God is with us, loves us, and will bring us home.
We are living in an extraordinary time. We are holding our loved ones close to our hearts. We are concerned for our health and our global brothers and sisters especially the aged and vulnerable. Daily life has been disrupted. Children are home from school. Universities and colleges have ceased in-person classroom teaching. Recreation facilities and others have closed. Large gatherings have been banned. Changes in our work places are evolving day to day. Economic volatility creates uncertainty. Some of our congregational family members are in self-quarantine. Others are dealing with significant health issues including awaiting transfer for rehabilitation. Our hearts and love are extended to those who gather at hospice. In this extraordinary time be assured good people of God, “God is with us!!”
Last evening WMC Board met for an on-line email meeting along with Jane Kuepfer (SRC chairperson) and Grant Nafziger (Elders chairperson). WMC leadership and staff are learning new and creative ways to meet and I am delighted to share with you that last evening’s “experiment” was a success! I give thanks for WMC leadership!
Yesterday morning Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency for the province of Ontario. MCEC denominational leadership followed up, strongly encouraging the cancellation of all congregational activities (worship services, Lent services, in-person board meetings, etc.) until March 31. WMC Board believes cancelling all in-person gatherings is a faithful response for this time. While we cannot meet together at
this time, ministry continues. We continue to be the church!
To keep you informed:
Staff Relations Committee has been in contact with all WMC staff. Work situations have been evaluated and adjusted to fit with current realities.
I will be working primarily from home but available by phone and email (cell 519-749-5008 or email@example.com).
Susan will be working mostly at the church with doors locked for safety. She is available by phone and email and will continue to look after invoices, offering, Info Sheet and other communications (519-656-2700 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Clare will work exclusively from home. Jeanette will continue to clean the church and use time not needed for usual weekly tasks to clean more deeply and disinfect.
At this time of disruption, please pray for our staff and consider email and phone calls with words of encouragement and care.
Last evening the Board approved the formation of a “Pandemic Response Team.” This team’s primary agenda will be to monitor the situation, inform congregational leadership, and communicate, including offering recommendations. This vital team includes: Dan Lebold (519-504-1550), Delores, Schwartzentruber (519-504-7475), and Betty Ann Glauser (519-656-3582 from 7-9 pm).
Worship Committee has been in conversation over the past days, exploring a number of options for on-line worship. Further details will be forthcoming.
Because expenses are ongoing, please consider how best to continue regular givings. Stewardship & Finance offer a number of options:
1) drop cheques off in the outdoor mail box when Susan is in the office
2) write out your cheques and date for the Sundays that we are closed
3) etransfer: email@example.com
4) contact a Stewardship and Finance for cheque pick up
Care Team encourages us to consider how we can help each other at this time. By getting groceries or calling people who live alone we can show the love of Christ to those around us. We serve a loving God and we have a living hope in Christ Jesus. Let us cling to this sure steadfast anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:19) and encourage others to find refuge in God, our sure and present help in times of trouble (Ps 46). At
At this time, we have an opportunity to be the church in new ways. While we cannot be physically present we can still connect through phones calls, emails, or video chats. Let us check in regularly with our neighbours and one another.
At this time of “social distancing” may we draw near to God as God draws near to us. “Do not be afraid” says our God “I am with you.”
With a pastor’s love,