It has been quite a March. It started with the introduction of Pastor Greg Smith and Jocelyn, Keltie and Seth on March 7th where 85 members attended and enjoyed a lunch and discussion. This was followed by a Special Congregational Meeting on March 8th where 84 voting members resoundingly approved the issuing of a call to Pastor Greg with a 96% positive vote. By the next Sunday, March 15th we were deeply concerned over the spread of the Coronavirus and social distancing was requested for the 25 people which showed up at each service. It was followed within two days by a decision from the Board to suspend worship services, LCOS gatherings and outside LCOS activities and users at our Church facility. The speed of these events has made the Board consider sending out communication on a more frequent basis.
Worship services were videoed on March 15th as a test for a potential way of sharing our worship experience. This was put into full effect on Saturday March 21st when the entire service was recorded at the Church, special thanks to Pastor Julianne leading the worship, Alex and Terrylee McKay and Bob Montgomery providing the music, Dorothea Schabb on slides and Mike Mihaichuk providing the editing of the videos. We wanted to provide a familiar setting for the congregation in our Church family home, so held the service at the Church with proper care and attention to social distancing.
One measure of the interest in the service is the number of people that have viewed the video. A total of 223 people/families have viewed the video over the last three days with 190 views on Sunday! Pastor Julianne also wanted to make it more than just a video and so provided some questions and opportunities for interaction over the phone to each other. Did this approach assist in your worship experience? Any suggestions on how to improve on this spiritual journey? Send an email to Pastor Julianne at pastorjulianneLCOS@gmail.com.
Further, Pastor Julianne, Judy, Johanne and Cliff have been working on getting “social” groups set up which will be contacted by the Board and congregational members once per week to ensure that everyone’s physical/food, mental/social and medical/medication needs are being met and everyone is in good health. The Coronavirus can take away the use of our Church facility but it can’t take away our community of believers and family of care. This is when families must stick together!
An important exciting upcoming event is the arrival of Pastor Greg Smith on May 1st. He has informed us that he has accepted the call and has signed the official paperwork. But with this excitement, we will be losing Pastor Julianne on April 23rd. It saddens us that we can’t have a formal public thank you and goodbye. Therefore, we would like to have you send us cell phone videos or letters of thanks with your favourite Pastor Julianne experiences. These again can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will also be collecting funds to celebrate Pastor Julianne’s ministry with us. Please send those electronically to email@example.com and indicate that it is for the Celebration of Pastor Julianne’s Ministry. You should also invite Pastor Julianne to your virtual small group meeting where you can also thank her.
We will be continuing our budgeted compensation and benefits to Pastor Julianne and the staff. This is challenging when we are not receiving weekly donations. We do appreciate that there are a number of our members who are not able to work due to closures etc. and need to focus their spending on basic needs. Please do not worry if you are not able to donate at this time. However, if you are financially able, we would appreciate your continued support by sending donations electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org . This will allow us to continue our ministry and outreach. Our financial secretary, Cliff Blumhagen, can be reached at email@example.com or at 403-936-0419 if you have questions or need assistance for these transactions.
We are working on applications to avail the congregation of any of the Federal or Provincial Government programs to support some of the staffing salary and benefit costs. These will not significantly improve our financial position during these extraordinary times but will help.
The Board continues to be concerned for the health and welfare of all of you in the congregation especially during these times. We are also dedicated to continuing the viability and spiritual strength of the family. Please keep up your contacts in a heathy and medically safe manner but please continue.
Yours in Christ