As Ontario is in lockdown beginning in April 2021, all services are now drive-in only.
April 23, 2021
Some of you have communicated surprise that our congregation gathered for worship outdoors the past two Sundays. In light of the changes of regulations regarding worship that came into effect on April 19th, we thought it prudent to share with you our plans for this Sunday.
We are planning to hold two “Drive-In” services at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in which attendees are being asked to remain in their vehicles and listen to the service through an FM transmission. (The service will also be streamed on our YouTube channel for those unable to attend and want to watch online.) We know that in the context of lockdowns, some people are frustrated by our continued worship, believing that churches should be fully locked down. So a brief explanation as to why we continue to gather might be in order.
Although there are ten commandments in the Bible, we understand God’s law to be consistent. As we have made decisions over the past 13 months regarding how to properly “do church in COVID times”, three principles have guided our decision-making. We have communicated them regularly in our interactions with both our congregation and civic officials.
- Our duty to love our neighbour requires that we take all responsible action to ensure the health and safety of all who gather with us as well as the community at large (sixth commandment.) This must also include that we show love to our neighbor by caring for the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of our congregation and community as well as showing our community the need to care for the whole of a person’s life. In both our indoor and outdoor worship, we have reminded all attendees of protocols and organized ourselves in a manner that ensured social distancing, etc. was safely practiced. We submitted our COVID protocol plan in advance to local officials and at times, have taken steps that went beyond government regulations to safeguard the health of all.
- We recognize and show deference to the legitimate authority of civic government as it regards matters of public health (fifth commandment.) This must also recognize that legitimate authority of civic government doesn’t have ultimate authority and can and must be honourably challenged and even defied when they do not carry out their calling under Christ faithfully. All of our gatherings have complied with the numerical limits and conditions set by the (frequently changing) regulations. We are actively communicating with officials, pointing out that the government’s own Science Table has highlighted that “policies that discourage safe outdoor activity” will not work and are of very little risk to the public. (See https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/sciencebrief/fighting-covid-19-in-ontario-the-way-forward/).
- The obligation to call the congregation to gather in worship is a biblical imperative and we will maximize the opportunity to gather in worship, preferably in a physical manner (fourth commandment.) Although we are thankful that many can be blessed through online observation of a worship service, it is not the same as in-person worship. We believe important aspects of worship include singing, corporate prayer, the administration of baptism, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Gathering in worship with fellow believers is also important for the rest of our lives as our congregation seeks to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15) and support each other in all aspects of our lives.
Obedience to God as a congregation cannot set any one of these principles over against another but ought to be translated into practical policies that honour all of them to the maximum. We have, and will continue, to seek to apply these principles into the very practical matter of when and how we will worship, always ready to defend and explain ourselves in witness to the hope that we have in God. (I Peter 3:15).
We trust this explanation is helpful and certainly are ready to answer any concerns that you might have – feel free to contact us via email@example.com. Better yet, feel free to join us for our services. As we are meeting via drive-in services this week, there is lots of room in our parking lot for you to participate in our worship. On Sunday morning at 10 a.m., Pastor Scott Dibbet will be preaching from Daniel 2, a passage which describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams in ancient Babylon, under the theme “There is a God in Heaven.” At 3 p.m., Elder Ray Pennings will be leading a service that continues our study of the life of Abraham, covering Genesis 20-21 under the theme “God’s Promises Dishonoured, Yet Fulfilled.”
As a congregation, we seek to be a faithful salt and light in the community, loving God above all and our neighbour as ourselves. (Mark 12:30-31).
Providence FRC Consistory
An open letter has been sent to Ontario’s Premier Ford regarding the need for gathering physically for public worship. Permission is granted for this letter to be used or modified to help in composing letters to our governing authorities.
From the Deacons: Offerings can be sent via e-transfer to PFRCDeacons@gmail.com.Please note in the message line where you would like the funds to be allocated.
We will also still accept cheques, which can be mailed directly to Providence FRC PO Box 534, St. George Ontario, N0E 1N0.
We are a congregation of 118 families and 479 members who seek to worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4: 23, 24), live to God’s glory and spread the good news of the gospel in our community and abroad.
(statistics current in Jan 2020)
In viewing our website we hope that you will get an understanding of who we are, our worship services, our youth and adult education programs and our outreach programs through which we engage with our local community. Please visit our website regularly to see the latest information on our services. We invite you to join us in worship. You can also join us online at our YouTube Channel or at sermonaudio.com/frcstgeorge. If you have any questions or would like more information about us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.