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From Pastor John's Desk - May 21, 2020

From Pastor John's Desk

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am happy to share with you that the distribution of John Piper’s book, Coronavirus and Christ, is now nearly completed. Andrea and I were able to deliver almost 60 books and it was pure joy for us to converse and pray with those we visited. I am deeply grateful for all who gave their time and laboured to make sure each family in the church received a copy.

Ten Sundays have now passed since we last met together to fellowship and worship in our facilities. During this time, thanks to a dedicated team of servants, we have been striving to keep the church family relationally and virtually connected while physically separated. This has been challenging to do but online worship, Daily Devotions on Facebook, and lots and lots of Zoom chats and phone calls have kept us all linked together and praying for one another. But of course, the big question we all have is when will things return to normal and we will be able to gather together again to worship, participate in the Lord’s Supper, pray with one another, and actually see each other face to face? At this point, none of us can answer this question, but I want to assure you that your church’s leaders are praying earnestly about this and we have begun discussing how we might safely reopen public worship and what this would look like for us.

On Wednesday of this week, I was invited to participate in a Zoom conference call with five MPPs, including the Ontario Minister of Labour, Monte McNaughton, Belinda Karahalios, MPP for Cambridge, and Will Bouma, Parliamentary Assistant to Premier of Ontario, along with over 60 leaders of various faith communities. Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West and Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook hosted this important meeting. The purpose was to hear from faith leaders to help the provincial government develop guidelines for churches, synagogues, temples and mosques to safely reopen.

This is an important development and it was also heartening to me to learn that on two occasions during Wednesday’s Question Period, Premier Ford made reference to the significant role churches are playing during this time of pandemic. While no decisions have been made we should be encouraged that our provincial government is reaching out to us, there is a recognition of our desire to worship publicly and there is a commitment to work with us to make this happen safely.

I want to encourage you to be faithful in prayer for our provincial government in the first phase of reopening Ontario. Pray also for those MPPs who are working closely with the Minister of Labour to develop guidelines for faith communities and places of worship. And finally, pray for our West Highland leaders as we consider the best way to implement government directives to safely reopen in the future. This is going to take time so we will need to be patient. In the meantime, be assured that the church’s Ministry Team, Elders and Action Committee are committed to communicate and consult with you and to restore our public worship and ministry in the safest way.

Trusting the Lord with you in these challenging days.

John Mahaffey

Lead Pastor and Ministry Team Leader