New Life News
Dear New Life Family,
We are praying for you and hope that you are walking with Jesus in this most unique time. We sure miss seeing all of you, worshipping and serving together. Along with this update we send our best wishes to you, hoping you had some refreshing times this summer, and encourage you to press on with faithfulness to God.
Since our June update not a lot has changed with the pandemic conditions. We continue to follow the health authority guidelines and we will adjust if and when guidelines change. A guiding principle in all of this is to love our neighbor and ensure the health and safety of our church family. We are also committed to praying daily for the church as we love and care for each other. Daily prayers are offered through the New Life smart phone app so you can join us in prayer. It’s a great way to bless the congregation.
VIRTUAL WORSHIP SERVICES
Through the end of the 2020 year we will worship together by way of pre-recorded worship services online. That will be re-evaluated at the beginning of January 2021. This fall we will upgrade our YouTube channel (through which you view the online services) to increase opportunity for online interaction. Our stage lighting upgrade is progressing and will be finished by the end of this month. This upgrade will improve the viewing quality of our online services in addition to improving the over-all function of our auditorium. Our main goals are to be faithful to the Word of God, engage the congregation in worship, and reach more people. Producing virtual worship services has introduced quite a new task within our ministry. We are thankful to staff for working hard each week to produce the weekly videos.
In addition to virtual worship services, we plan once a month to host churchwide events for this fall. Sunday, September 20 is the date for our fall kick-off service and we are busy making plans for that to be an outdoor event in the church parking lot. With multiple services, we expect be able to host everyone. Registration for the event will open soon. Watch for it. In October we’ll host another event on Thanksgiving Day in lieu of a worship gathering that will feature a food drive (for Abbotsford Food Bank) and opportunity for testimonies of thanks. Plans for a November event and for some great Christmas specials are also in the works. It’s going to be an exciting fall after all!
One of our endeavors throughout this pandemic is to provide ways to connect to God and to one another. We hope to develop some kind of online opportunities this fall by which we can grow in faith and encourage one another to follow hard after Jesus. Life Groups continue to be a key component for connection as well. Some groups are meeting together for the virtual worship services as well as other occasions. Pastor Justin and the Life Group elders are available to assist your group in gathering appropriately, or in helping you get involved in a group. Make sure you stay connected. And as always, contact a pastor or drop by the church, we’d love to encourage you and bless you.
For Christ and His Church,
Pastor Nathan and Pastor Mike
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)
Our office hours have been adjusted to protect you and our staff. The office is open and the times are Monday-Thursday 9am-2pm and Friday 9am-12pm. You are welcome to come by anytime within these hours. We will keep the doors locked during this time, but ring the doorbell and someone will come open the door for you.
In a time like this, especially with the realization that the Covid-19 reality may last for some time I want to urge you to keep on keeping on. Here are some “keeps” to keep in mind:
Keep faith — this includes gathering for worship with our online services (see our website), but it also includes maintaining or starting ways to stay spiritually healthy (the spiritual disciplines we have been talking about in our current message series).
Keep your schedule – so many things are up in the air, or discontinued, and your own daily routines are probably quite different; try to keep a schedule, including bedtimes, wake times, meal times; and don’t overdue your screen time, stay creative with your activities.
Keep your distance – please observe all public health recommendations; that’s part of loving your neighbour! There are no physical gatherings at New Life Church, the facility is essentially closed to the public.
Keep praying – we have initiated a virtual prayer wall on the New Life App (go to the menu at the bottom of the screen), we’ll keep reminding you to be in prayer and we’ll keep praying for you and your loved ones, just send us your prayer requests.
Keep reaching out – we have to stay connected by whatever means; we have redesigned our website for this purpose, check it out; the deacons are ready to help if you need any kind of physical or financial assistance; the elders of the church are making contact with members in the congregation just to reach out, enjoy the conversation when they call; and make sure that your Life Group stays in touch with each other.
Here at New Life we remain diligent in following guidelines and stipulations for dealing with the outbreak of the novel virus. At this point the church remains open, though we have cancelled all gatherings and meetings at church for the rest of the month. Some of the staff are working at the church. Because of recent travels Pastor Nathan will remain in isolation until March 31, as will Pastor Mike. Pastor Koen will remain in isolation until April 2. All staff are healthy at this point and are eager to stay in contact with you and assist where ever it is needed. Thanks to everyone for their cooperation and patience, please continue to exercise social distancing and hand washing. Keep encouraging each other and helping each other. There are opportunities for community engagement. The Abbotsford Food Bank is in need of volunteers to help with food distribution. The New Life deacons have initiated a donation from our Benevolence fund for the Food Bank. The staff and worship teams are working hard to produce a weekly virtual worship service. We also keep working at developing our online format to be engaging for everyone. I want to encourage you to continue to participate in these services, even though it might at times seem inadequate or awkward. Don’t give up worshipping together, even if we can’t physically meet together.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
This week the world health organization declared the covid-19 a pandemic and just yesterday the province of BC asks that larger gatherings of people no longer meet.
What that means for us is that we are suspending our Sunday worship services and mid week on campus ministries until further notice. We want to be a part of flattening the growth of this pandemic.
Our prayer is that you will keep connected one another. We will be changing and adapting as we are called to changed lives, to be a diverse community and to have a radical impact.
This Sunday, March 15 we will have a very timely message that will be available on our website at 10am. We invite all of the New Life family to gather and hear God’s word for us during this time.
Live stream and discipleship content such as the New Life Link will be available midweek. We continue to encourage our life groups to meet as Christ center communities as you are able.
Thank you for your understanding in this, and let me leave you with a question. What does it look like for us as members of the body of Christ to reflect Jesus in these times? Let’s continue to serve and worship Him.
Psalm 91:1-2 says:
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
We value the time we have on Sunday mornings at 10am to worship Jesus. It’s an important time for us to connect with one another and experience life change. Due to the recent outbreaks worldwide of the coronavirus we want to be diligent.
We care about the safety and well-being of each person and we are taking appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of everyone that comes to New Life. We are taking extra precautions so starting this Sunday, things might look a little different.
WHILE WORSHIPING AT NEW LIFE
New Life has made some minor changes to our Sunday worship service for the safety of all.
- We are working towards live streaming our services.
- We are exercising extra diligence by wiping down and cleaning surfaces regularly.
- We will be discontinuing our coffee and tea service until further notice.
- Greeters will open doors but will not make physical contact when you enter the building.
- Offering basket will not be passed around the church but you will still be able to give in an offering basket that will be placed at the auditorium exits.
- No handshakes or hugs will be encouraged during fellowship time.
- All sermon audios will be uploaded Monday at 10am for those unable to attend.
- We are maintaining inventory of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and soap.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Calling all Superheroes, of ALL AGES!
…YEP that includes you who is reading this… don’t look around the room, I am speaking to you! Well now that I have your attention, may I ask “What is your Super Power?” We just finished the sermon series ‘How do I fit’, exploring your spiritual gift (for the purpose of this article) AKA your Super Power!
Have you thought … how can I use my super power to make a Radical Impact in my community?
Well here’s the mission if you choose to accept it…
For the weeks of July 8-12 and August 12-16 from 10am – 1pm you are invited to join us at Mill Lake (Water Park Entrance – Emerson St.) to help support, strengthen and unify the community of Abbotsford.
Last summer our focus for summer outreach was to take church ministry out of the building and meet people in a common community space such as Mill Lake. We recognized when people felt there were no strings attached to neighbourly kindness they were more willing to open up, share life stories, struggles, areas they need support and be prayed with. Through all of this relationships were built. When we contacted the city to run this program again they were very excited to see this positive community outreach happen. We want to live out our mission statement: live a Changed Life, be a part of a Diverse Community and make a Radical Impact
Questions you may have:
Q: I don’t have young children at home. Am I encouraged to participate in this outreach?
A: Yes, everyone is encouraged to come out, have fun and be the good neighbour Jesus has taught us to be. When community children are playing, you are encouraged to join in or engage in conversation with other parents, grandparents or caregivers.
Last year Koen sat down a built a tower of blocks with two twin girls. While they were playing the girls began to open up about the struggles in their home. They told Koen their parents were in the middle of a divorce and they were living with their aunt. Koen was able to encourage and pray for them.
Another child wrote “I am not good” in chalk. One of the families who came out was able to sit with her and build her up. They made her feel important and valued.
Q: I am just a kid, what can I do to impact my community?
A: PLAY… be a friend. It’s easy to make a new friend during summer outreach because we have tons of games like, giant Bowling, giant Connect Four and giant Jenga. Do you get it yet? We are making a giant impact.
You have the ability to change someone’s day by just being kind!
Q: I’m not very good at sharing my faith. How can I be used to help?
A: Sometimes just sitting and having light conversation will allow you the time and a moment to share little bits of your faith. Pray about it, the Lord wants you to be a vessel for His work!
Q: I am gifted in creative ability, how can I serve?
A: We do so much more than just sports. We do colouring, beading and of course face painting. Face painting is a huge hit and we always need more volunteers to help with it.
Q: I am not able to commit to coming every day for the week. Should I still come?
A: Yes, park days run July 8-12 & August 12-16 from 10am – 1pm. Come when and as often as you can. You will be blessed
Q: Can I drop off my kids at Mill Lake Park without adult supervision?
A: No, we will not be responsible for childcare. You are welcome to drop off your kids if you feel they are able to be unsupervised and responsible for themselves.
Q: I enjoy helping, but not one on one. Can I still help?
A: Yes, there is set up/ take down and other logistics. We want you to come serve.
So let’s recap…
You are a superhero called into action to make a Radical Impact on the community around you, by using the strengths and gifts God has equipped you with. We hope you will accept the mission!
For more information contact Cyndi Broersma or New Life Office.
NEW LIFE MEN’S CONFERENCE April 12-14.
We are excited to announce the 2019 Men’s Conference at New Life Church. The theme is “In Step With The Spirit” (Galatians 5:25) and Aaron Baart will be back as the conference speaker. The conference will be at New Life Church and will run Friday night and all day Saturday. Aaron will also speak at New Life on Sunday, April 14. Registration will cost $60 and you can register at New Life’s Men’s Conference signup form.
Aaron Baart is coming BACK for this year’s Men’s Conference – IN STEP!! After last year’s life changing retreat we wanted to have Aaron back and we are hosting the event AT New Life Church! We hope to have many men come this year to IN STEP to ask the question what does it mean for us to be IN STEP with the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives.
On Saturday afternoon we have some Men type of events planned. You can choose between having a BIG equipment experience with a crane and excavator, a hike on one of the local mountains, or some fun and games at the church. You choose your own adventure. We also will have a conference t-shirt and the food will be terrific – think lots of protein.
The Conference will cost $60 which is much less than last year. We hope with a bigger venue, lower costs and excellent speaker that you will invite many of your friends to the conference. If you haven’t signed up yet you can do it here.