LATEST UPDATE: (July 2020)
UPDATE: BETHEL IS GOING EXCLUSIVELY ONLINE STARTING THIS SUNDAY: (March 16, 2020)
Good Afternoon Bethel Family,
It was great to join together with you all this past Sunday, whether it was online or in person. It was a powerful time of worship and community, and a great opportunity for us to be stretched as we ventured into the live stream world, taking our Church Experience beyond the four walls of our building.
During our service and throughout this health crisis, we have shared that we desire to walk with wisdom, care and honor and that we desire to make the health and safety of our church family, local community and nation a priority. For anyone who has been watching the news, health debriefs, or social media lately, it is evident that things are not “business as usual” in our country and world. It is clear that in order to bring safety and calm to our nation, we need to do some things that we have never done before to help slow and stop this problem.
Throughout this process, we have asked you to remain flexible and fluid with us as we prayerfully navigate this season that we find ourselves in. The Bethel leadership team is going to ask you to once again do this as we embark on another big change for our Bethel Sundridge Family. After much prayer, conversation, and input from local, provincial, and federal government and health agencies, we have made the decision to CANCEL our IN-PERSON SUNDAY MORNING GATHERINGS and fully take our BETHEL SUNDRIDGE CHURCH EXPERIENCE ONLINE for the time being. This means that we will be temporarily cancelling all of our Sunday in-person gatherings, as well as our weekly programming including Bethel Kids, Bethel Youth, Elevate Jr. High, Bible Studies, as well as all outside community affiliates/partner programs and groups that use our facility.
Let’s take a closer look at what this means and where we are at:
- All In-Person Sunday Services are Cancelled: In an effort to “flatten the curve” of this COVID-19 pandemic and to honor the recommendations of the Canadian Government, which recommended that all public gatherings over 50 people would cease, we have cancelled our weekly IN-PERSON SUNDAY SERICE. A second reason for the cancelling of our in-person service is due to the fact that we are citizens of a great country and a global community – and we want to do our part to love our neighbours and truly show the love of Christ. The New Testament encourages us to pray for and honor those in authority. We pray for them and honor their recommendations as a means of living peaceful and Christ-like lives.
- All of our In-Person Groups and Ministries will be on hold for the time being. We will be re-assessing this situation regularly, but this plan will be in place until at least after April 5th, 2020.
-Our doors throughout the week will stay open to receive people for Prayer (no laying on of hands), to minister to practical needs, for small planning meetings, and to receive tithes and offerings. All staff besides Pastor Curtis will be working from home.
-We will be taking our CHURCH EXPERIENCE ONLINE and will be encouraging all to join with us each Sunday at 10:30AM via one of our online platforms (as further detailed below).
What does this mean for our normal Church Services?
First and foremost, we must remember that the CHURCH is not a Building, but instead it is the people of God. The Church has not “closed”, it has simply gone into motion beyond the four walls of a building. As a result of these changes we have not limited our ability to impact and bless the broken and hurting, but instead have expanded our reach and put our beliefs into action.
Our plan will be to take CHURCH ONLINE. We will be holding our SUNDAY MORNING EXPERIENCES, music and all, online on our platforms each week starting at 10:30AM. We will continue to update you as to how to easily access these as the week progresses. You will be able to access these whether on our website (www.bethelsundridge.com ), Facebook (Bethel Sundridge), or Youtube (Bethel Sundridge) each Sunday at 10:30 AM or on-demand. We encourage you to join with your family, roommates, or spouse and join with us as ONE BODY across our community to worship HIM together in your homes. Our services will be pre-recorded, to help with buffering due to the limited internet in our area. During the service playing at 10:30AM, we will have someone available to chat online with you, and also to receive phone calls for prayer. Moving forward we will be setting up an On-Call Prayer Line for not only our church but anyone in our community.
What about Discipleship or Weekly Programs?
All of our staff are in the process of setting up plans to be able to use technology to help our adults’ and our students’ journey through this season in a positive way. In the days and weeks to come, you will see Face Book Groups and Zoom Mtgs activated, where we will be able to continue to minister to all age groups in new and exciting ways.
As we continue to develop new and innovative ways to minister to and serve our church body, we would ask that if we do not have your present contact information that you would update us by either emailing the office at email@example.com or by calling the church office and leaving a message.
What about Tithing/Giving?
During this time when we will not be meeting In-Person, we will be encouraging people to use E-Transfer for their tithes and gracious gifts. You can do this by sending e-transfers to: firstname.lastname@example.org . In the event that your bank requires you to submit a password or code in order for us to receive the transfer, we ask that you send this to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have not already set this up with Cindy. We will also be available to receive envelopes or finances at the church during the week.
We are so thankful and blessed to be a part of a generous church that is involved in furthering His Kingdom locally and across the globe. During this time of not meeting we encourage you to continue to graciously give, as our regular operating costs, as well as our monthly support of missionaries, ministries, local agencies and food banks continues even when our in-person services do not. We want to continue to be able to bless others during this season of trials and be a positive in a time full of so much negativity.
Where do we go from here, and how can we be the Church in Motion?
We want to assure all those involved and affected by this decision that this decision to suspend our larger gatherings does not come from a place of fear – but rather it is an act of love, honor, and partnership as citizens of our larger Almaguin, Ontario and Canadian neighbourhood. Jesus throughout His ministry, as well as in the words and actions of the early Apostles emphasized the need for the church to be the hands and feet of Christ and to care for the vulnerable and hurting. We believe that by doing the actions that we are in cancelling; we are coming into agreement with His Great Commandment to “Love God and to Love Others”.
As followers of Christ, we are called to display compassion, grace and love, and we are to be His peacemakers and demonstrations of Hope. Bethel Family, this is what we are asking you to do during this COVID-19 health crisis while we are not meeting together in person:
1. Care for those in our community who are lonely, hurting and in need.
2. Call and check on your neighbour or the elderly
3. Drop off some groceries for single parents or those in our community who are in need.
4. Pray for all those affected, our municipal, provincial, federal leadership and all health and emergency service providers and workers.
5. If you know of individuals who require assistance please contact us. If you need assistance, please make this known to us.
Let’s walk in the Peace that we have in Christ, and freely share it with a world who so desperately needs it at this time. We serve a God who is good and who loves people – church it is our turn to display this. The greatest days for the Church are right now! Let’s be the church in motion.
We look forward to worshipping together online this Sunday @10:30 AM
Love and Blessings,
Pastor Curtis and the Bethel Leadership Team
Bethel COVID-19 Update (March 13th, 9:00AM):
Bethel Sundridge Family,
In light of the developing COVID-19 virus, we wanted to take a few minutes to bring you an update on our response thus far regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), and to provide some important prevention information as well as some spiritual encouragement during this uncharted time. In regard to our weekly Sunday services and programming, our services will continue as normal at this time with increased precautionary measures to ensure a safe place of gathering and worship. As a leadership, we will be closely monitoring the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) both locally and globally, and will be paying attention to guidance published by the Ontario and Federal Government, as well as Health and Disease Prevention Agencies, in the event that conditions change and we must alter our plan of action.
In times like these where we are venturing as individuals, a province/country, and churches into unchartered waters, what better place to turn to for help than to the Word of God. The apostle Paul shared some timely words that we can hold to in times like these when he encouraged a Timothy by saying, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (wisdom)” (2 Tim. 1:7). As the body of Christ, and specifically the Bethel Family, it is important that we respond to this situation that has brought fear to so many in our communities, with love, power, self-control and wisdom. Our God is still, and will always be, in control. In moving forward with our services, we do not take this situation lightly and understand the importance of operating with wisdom, love and grace.Your well-being and safety and that of those in our community matters to us. With that in mind, we will be taking, and encourage you to take, precautions to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. We are not exercising this caution out of fear, and we’re confident that the risk to our community still remains low at this time, but we want to protect and honor those who are considered more vulnerable in our community, and therefore we plan to be diligent in stopping the spread of germs where possible. These are the precautions that we are planning to take as well as some we ask you to as well:
Precautions that WE will be taking at Bethel will include:
- We will sanitize highly touched surfaces such as doors, handles, tables, sign-in stations, and sinks on a regular basis. If you’d like to be part of the cleaning team, let Pastor Curtis or the Board know.
- We will have hand sanitizer stations available and encourage people to use them
- We will be changing up our entrance greeting routine. To minimize contact spread points with others, our volunteer teams will hold exterior doors open to greet you. Instead of a handshake, instead they will greet you with a smile, or “elbow bump” and kind word.
- We will be changing up, and for the time being omitting our mid-service greeting time.
- We will not be passing the Offering plate. You can place your Tithes & Offering in the plate provided at the back of the church, drop off at office, or you can also give by e-transfer: email@example.com.
- In our Bethel Kids areas, we will continue to thoroughly sanitize all children’s play areas.
- Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.
Precautions that we encourage YOU to take to help stop the spread of the virus and to keep yourself and others safe:
- Stay home when you or your family members are sick or are displaying symptoms. In this event please enjoy the sermon online posted on our website or YouTube rather than physically attending the service. This will ensure you recover more quickly and that you do not pass along your sickness to others or anyone in the especially vulnerable sectors. If you desire prayer, or encouragement, call the office or send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly provide that.
- Refrain from shaking hands and hugging during our Sunday morning services.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.- Get in the habit of not touching your face so often.- If you are returning from a high-alert area, we urge you to consider refraining from attending church events, classes and services until the 14-day time-frame has been observed
.- If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved, and take any necessary precautions here at Bethel Sundridge.
Most importantly, let’s walk out the words of Paul, and not allow this virus and struggle to defeat us or stop us in our tracks with fear, but instead let’s truly display the love, power and wisdom of the body of Christ by rising up in prayer and acts of service for those affected in our province, nation and world. Let’s pray that in the name of Jesus, this virus would stop and that God would bring healing to those affected and help us to be a source of peace and an encouraging light in the darkness to those around us. We thank you in advance for helping us to keep our church family and community healthy. One final thought: This week I encourage you to read Psalm 91:2-6 (NLT) and John 16:33 (NLT) and share the truth of these words with others who are full of fear during this time. Let’s remember that our God is good, and that He is for us!
We look forward to seeing you Sunday at 10:30 am.
Love and Blessings,Pastor Curtis and the Bethel Leadership