Dear New Life Congregation:
We are all coming to grips with the challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced a new reality to us. Now we have to find our way around in that new reality. In addition, the work of ministry goes on; in fact we are past the stage of acquainting ourselves with how to carry on and now we must adapt our vision and ministry plans to this new reality.
USE OF THE CHURCH FACILITY
The big question for everyone is when and how we will meet together in person again. While we are fortunate here in BC to have relatively low infection rates the Covid-19 virus is not gone. So we will remain diligent in keeping everyone safe and take necessary pre-cautions in accommodating people. Here are some basic guidelines that will likely be in place for the foreseeable future (that is, into 2021):
- We can have in-person gatherings of 50 people, and we are allowed to have multiple groups of fifty, provided there are separate exits and entrances and no cross-flow of the groups.
- We must maintain social distancing of two (2) meters for all in-person gatherings, and provide sanitizing stations, and keep all surfaces sanitized at all times.
- Singing during in-person gatherings will be restricted if allowed at all.
- A registration of people in attendance will be mandatory for tracking purposes.
We are working on plans that will eventually allow us to extend our ministry beyond the current levels and limitations of doing things solely by electronic means. Given the above guidelines we are currently looking at:
- how to offer weekly worship services with in-person gatherings concurrent with our virtual services, likely some form of “multi-site” worship services, with attendance registration,
- how to allow ministries during the week to function in our facilities, especially in the fall
– currently there will be no in-person pre-school ministries;
– ministry teams can meet at church for committee meetings, but with social distancing and confined to the foyer,
– ministries with open invitations must submit a plan that incorporates public health guidelines to host in-person gatherings at the church facility or, as a church function, anywhere else.
- how to allow outside groups to use our facility, e.g. weddings, funerals, rentals (currently addressed on a case by case basis and following public health guidelines).
We extend a huge welcome to Janessa Gritter, the newly hired worship pastor intern. She will begin work in July. We are excited to introduce her to the congregation and will do so through the course of the summer. Also, we congratulate her upon her graduation from The King’s University earlier this spring. We are thankful to God for Janessa coming on staff. She had been hired on staff already back in February, 2020, before all the concerns and restrictions around the pandemic.
We also extend grateful thanks to Pastor Koenraad Beugelink who is wrapping up in his official role as Pastor of Faith Formation in the month of June. Koen’s credentials as a commissioned pastor will remain with New Life Church and he and his family will remain a part of the New Life congregation. There will be an opportunity to thank Koen at an upcoming event, and you are encouraged to send Koen a note of thanks for his 16 years of faithful service to New Life Church.
The Board of Elders requires a member to replace Stuart Bakker. Stu has served a three-year term faithfully, and also was the board representative on the Finance Team. We are grateful for his service, his wisdom and his humble discernment. You are welcome to send Stu a note of thanks for serving the board so faithfully.
Bernie Huizing has agreed to let his name stand as the nominee to replace Stu. Bernie has previously served as a board member for New Life Church. He will be appointed by the board to serve until we have an opportunity to take a congregational vote at an official New Life LIVE meeting (bylaw 4.9).
CONGREGATIONAL CELEBRATION & CARE
Sunday, June 28, 2020 is our Year-end Ministry Celebration. We are planning to have a reverse parade where you will be invited to drive through the church parking lot and greet and thank people in the various ministries of New Life Church. Watch for Instructions, procedures, and more details that will be given closer to the date. We are excited to celebrate the ministry that we have accomplished in this past year and to provide a way for you to participate in that. Perhaps it is difficult to think of anything that happened before March, but we had a very good fall season. Let’s give thanks to God for his faithfulness, and to all the ministry leaders and volunteers.
If you have any questions or concerns about our path forward through the COVID19 pandemic, please feel free to contact us anytime. As mentioned before, we are happy to receive prayer needs and offer spiritual and emotional support in this difficult time.
On behalf of the board and staff we extend God’s grace and peace to the congregation of New Life Church. Together we press forward, seeking to be a witness to the gospel power of redemption and renewal. To God be praise and glory.
Eric Hoogenraad (Board Chair)
Nathan Elgersma (Lead Pastor)
Mike VanderKwaak (Executive Pastor)