COVID-19 & the Church

November 20, 2020

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.

Important Notices

On November 19, 2020, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a provincial order that prohibits indoor and outdoor gatherings of any size. In-person religious gatherings and worship services including drive-in church) are not allowed from November 19 at midnight to December 7 at midnight. This order also does not allow social gatherings of any size with anyone other than those in your household or core bubble.

While this order is currently in place for a short time, it may be renewed as Dr. Henry deems necessary and we encourage your church Board and leadership to plan for the potential of a longer-term restriction on gatherings.

See the Church Gathering Restriction Guidance for more information.

We encourage all of our church pastors to discuss with their Board of Elders, staff, and leaders the ways to follow both the government’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

District staff can be reached by email or phone during our usual office hours. Any meetings that were scheduled to be held in person at the District Office will be reviewed and may be moved to virtual meetings or postponed.

As a reminder, if you are the person in your church office responsible for employment or Human Resources and 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 should also be recorded on the form. For any questions on employment changes or support, please contact Dwayne Toews.

For general inquiries, please email cpdoffice@pacificdistrict.ca.
For any finance matters, please contact Aaron Chan.
For any benefits matters, please see Benefits Updates and contact Nicki Lundrigan.

Government Resources

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:

We suggest that you also consult your local health authority for any region-specific information.

Practical Considerations

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
  • 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

Resources

Here are several resources to assist you in preparing your practical response:

Church Guidelines & Communication Resources

Church Annual General Meeting

Weddings

Finances & Employment

Facilities & Risk Management

Media Resources

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 resources as you consider a Christ-centred response:

If you have any questions, please contact our office at cpdoffice@pacificdistrict.ca.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.