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September 1, 2020
Greetings to all.
I would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on what is happening at Central and, yes, lots is still happening here. Also, thanks to everyone for continuing with financial support, as you are able.
After several months of closure, churches throughout the country have been given the go-ahead to hold worship services and conduct meetings. Many denominations in the province have already done so, with varying degrees of success. Sad to say, some of those churches have experienced an outbreak of COVID cases, infecting not only those in attendance but also spreading the virus amongst their contacts.
For some reason, churches, prayer meetings and private gatherings are vulnerable to the spread of the virus. Now, it is anybody’s guess as to whether outbreaks will occur because schools are being opened to classroom teaching.
The Board, Staff, and Duty of Care Team have been pouring over information from many sources regarding the COVID pandemic and the feasibility of reopening Central for regular public worship and outside user groups.
Based on the information gathered, and the realization that Central is no less vulnerable than other churches, the Board gave the directive that the earliest Central will be reopened for regular public worship or outside group meetings will be January 2021. In the meantime, the Board, Staff and Duty of Care Team will continue to review data as it becomes available.
As you well know, change has come at us from many directions. Whether as a result of changes in staff or being forced by a novel virus to stop congregating, change has forced us into a time of transition. Change and transition is nothing new to the Church. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Christ-followers in Corinth the following: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” This is from 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Actually, long before this event, the Israelites were facing significant change when David was acting on God’s direction that he replaces Saul as King of Israel. When reading this account in the 1st Book of Chronicles it describes what each of the twelve tribes of Israel contributed to this undertaking. All but one contributed warrior trained to do battle. One tribe, the tribe of Issachar, was unique in that “All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take”. This is from 1 Chronicles 12:32.
Now is the time to understand the signs of our times and chart a new course for Central. The building may not be available but that will not stop us from discerning what our role is in ministering to our community, both near and far. As was the case during the time of King David, we will each have a unique role to play as we move forward.
Even though we can’t gather in person, we do have ways to stay in touch. With the technology available to us, we will be offering a wide variety of ways to tune in to worship and meetings. We will find new ways of being a community until we can congregate again in person.
As we move forward, transitioning to a new way of ministering, I encourage everyone to keep each other in prayer. It is often said we are all in the same boat. We are not. We are all in the same storm, but our individual circumstances differ significantly.
Be encouraged that God is with us to either calm the storm or to pilot us through it.
Diane Scheibner, Chair of the Board