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March 19, 2020

Dear people of Comox United Church,

A letter to ministry personnel from the national United Church speaks of how we are living in “unique and challenging times.” How well put.

At times we may feel overwhelmed, but it's important to remember that we are not alone. We have our family of faith and we have our faith itself, the loving presence of God which gives us strength, calm and compassion.

Our Church Council met last night via Skype and talked about various ways that we can support one another through these “unique and challenging times.” As mentioned in our previous e-mail, we will no longer be holding Sunday worship at the church, but are working on ways to provide online worship for you. For this week Paul (our music director), Gloria (our pianist), Keltie and Wayne will be meeting at the church tonight to video a shortened worship service. We will e-mail a link to you on Friday so you can watch it at home. While you can watch it whenever you wish, we encourage you to watch it at 10am on Sunday so we can have a sense of worshiping together. We will also be e-mailing out links to churches that are live streaming worship services. So you will have many worship possibilities! We will be getting in touch with those who do not have e-mail to make sure that they stay connected as well.

If you have prayer requests for worship or prayer requests that you would like to share with our prayer group, please let Keltie and Wayne know. Prayer is such an important way of looking after one another and of looking after ourselves.

Along with worship and prayer, keeping connected is another essential part of being a family of faith in a time of crisis. We will be working at ways to use e-mail, phone and other social media to keep people connected in the weeks and months to come. Any small groups who would like to try connecting via the internet (Skype, Zoom or Google hangouts) can contact Ross Griffith Cochrane by email [email protected] or by phone at 250-941-5559 for tech support.

There are a number of ways that you can help us with staying connected. First and foremost, please let Keltie, Wayne and Lorna know your needs. If you are in self-isolation and need help with groceries or other errands, we can connect you with people willing to help.

If you need to talk or need emotional and/or spiritual support of any kind, please reach out to Keltie and Wayne and we will help you in any way we can. If you see other needs in the larger community that you think the church can help with, please don't hesitate to let us know.

We are also looking for people who can help us with connecting. If you are healthy and feel willing and able to help others with things like groceries and errands, please let us know. We are especially in need of people who would be willing to make phone calls to keep us connected. Ideally we would like to find at least ten people who would be willing to call 15-20 households every week or two just to check in. In this way we stay connected in a more personal way and can have a better chance of knowing what people's needs are.

If you would like to help with this “Telephone Fan Out,” please let Keltie or Wayne know.

Council is working at setting up a Facebook page for the church. At the moment we have two Facebook groups/pages so we'd like to consolidate that! We'll let you know when we have that done as Facebook is fun way to communicate and stay connected.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to our staff for any reason. Keltie can be reached at [email protected]  Wayne can be reached at [email protected] or by phone/text at 250-203-7258. Lorna can be reached at [email protected] and at the church at 250-339-3966.

Our church office is closed, but Lorna will be answering the phone, responding to e-mails and generally coordinating the life of our church as she always does so effectively.

We end with words from two very wise and compassionate people. The first is the apostle Paul and the words are from Romans 8, our epistle reading this past Sunday: “Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? No, in all these things we have complete victory through Christ who loved us! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The other wise person is Dr. Bonnie Henry, the chief medical officer of BC whose advice in these unique and challenging times is: “be calm, be kind, be safe.”

May we be aware of that loving, powerful presence of God with us at all times, and may we indeed be calm, be kind and be safe.

Blessings, Your ministers ~ Keltie and Wayne

 

The United Church Creed

We are not alone,

we live in God's world.

We believe in God:

who has created and is creating,

who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh

to reconcile and make new,

who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:

to celebrate God's presence,

to live with respect in Creation,

to love and serve others,

to seek justice and resist evil,

to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,

our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,

God is with us.

We are not alone.

Thanks be to God.