We want to exercise reasonable caution and help bring awareness of how to determine what practically applies in your church or ministry during the COVID-19 outbreak. We also recognize that this is a fluid situation and that an appropriate and reasonable response may change quickly.
On March 25, BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, stated that this is not a time for gatherings, celebrations, or ceremonies as even groups of 2 or 3 people may be the cause of transmission of the Coronavirus to a vulnerable person. She further requested that faith leaders “come together virtually to protect those in our communities over the coming weeks” and emphasized that we all need to find “alternate ways of coming together without being physically present.”
In consultation with medical experts and at the recommendation of the national C&MA COVID-19 Committee, President David Hearn is requesting that any and all in-person church-related gatherings of any size move online. This includes in-person gatherings for staff meetings, small groups, prayer meetings, etc.
In alignment with both the government and our C&MA leadership, the CPD is urging you to comply by moving every meeting and gathering to be virtual.
We encourage all of our church pastors to urgently discuss with their Board of Elders, staff, and leaders the ways to follow both the government’s and our president’s directions in these matters. Our continued prayer is that the churches will be beacons of hope and life in their communities during this time as this is a moment for us to truly be the Church.
Contacting the District Office
All District staff care working from home and can be reached by email or phone during our usual office hours. Voicemails will automatically send an email to the person you are trying to contact. Any meetings that were scheduled to be held in person at the District Office will be moved to virtual meetings or postponed.
As a reminder, if you handle your church’s finances or are the Board Chair, an Executive Pastor, or a Lead Pastor aware of any employment changes, please complete an Employee Data Form as soon as possible. Filling this form out informs the District Office and helps us to support employees with benefits changes, licensing changes, and pastoral care. If your employees are affected by a temporary work stoppage, this can also be recorded on the form.
For any questions on employment changes or support, please contact Dwayne Toews.
For general inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any finance matters, please contact Aaron Chan.
For any benefits matters, please see Benefits Updates and contact Nicki Lundrigan.
We encourage you to pay close attention to updates and information as well as understand and follow all government precautions.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has created multiple helpful resources:
The BC Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the BC Ministry of Health also have multiple resources and daily updates:
- BC CDC Information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- COVID-19 Information & Advice
- BC Government News
- Online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool
We suggest that you also consult your local health authority for any region-specific information.
Here are several practical considerations for churches to consider during COVID-19:
- communicate how people can connect with the church for services or pastoral care
- communicate steps that your church is taking to ensure the well-being of your church family and community
- communicate information on practical steps people can take to prevent the spread of infection, including physical distancing
- take the weekly offering via an online means (see examples here)
- thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting your church building and especially high contact surfaces for any staff or guests
- refraining from customary greetings like handshakes or hugging
- regular hand washing and avoiding touching your face
- covering your mouth when coughing or coughing into a tissue or your elbow
- encouraging those that are ill, even mildly, to stay home
Here are several resources to assist you in preparing your practical response:
Church Matters & Communication
- CPD Crisis Communication Resource for Churches – COVID-19
- C&MA in Canada COVID-19 Guide
- Church Annual General Meeting During COVID-19
- Coronavirus Church Guide
- Organizational Resilience Checklist
- Christianity Today Coronavirus Guide for Churches
- Memo – Economic Response to COVID-19 March 25, 2020
- FAQs – Economic Response to Covid-19 March 26, 2020
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- Employment Insurance and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- COVID-19 and the Workplace from WorkSafeBC
- COVID-19 Guide to Workplace Law for Employers & Employees
- Employer Guide to Managing COVID19 in the Workplace
- Church Online Platform– a free online platform for churches
- Vidflex Faith – 3 months of free video hosting/streaming services that integrate with online giving
- How to Capture Sunday Services Online
- Facebook Live for Churches
- Alpha Online
Ministry Response & Resources
God is our refuge in times of trouble! If you have a prayer request, we encourage you to contact our office to share this with our team of district intercessors. All prayer requests are kept confidential.
International Workers (IW’s)
An update from Global Ministries (GM): We are very thankful to the Lord that currently all IW’s are well and we have no reported Covid-19 cases. Weekly meetings are taking place with the GM Leadership Team to monitor all places where IWs are residing with frequent and direct connects with IWs to ensure they are well supported. A GM Prayer Room has been launched that has gathered the global team together twice a week for an hour of praise and focused prayer. As many countries are on full lockdown with borders closed, GM personnel are responding in line with local authorities as well as following the resources provided by Member Care. The overall posture of our global team is that they are home, in the places God has strategically placed them, for such a time as this.
Here are helpful articles as you consider a Christ-centred response:
- Arrow Leadership COVID-19 Toolkit
- Church Resources from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
- Crisis Leadership, Christian Leadership and the Coronavirus Epidemic
- Coronavirus, Christians, and a Christ-Centered Response
- Global Family & the Coronavirus
If you have any questions, please contact our office at email@example.com.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.