Dear Bethel Family,
Just in case you were wondering how the latest restrictions from the provincial government and AHS effect Bethel – the short answer is not much. We have gone through the latest guidelines as they apply to ‘faith-based gatherings’ and concluded that we still fall within the 1/3 building capacity limit. (Our posted capacity for the main auditorium is 194.) The existing restrictions, such as hand sanitation, masks while singing, social distancing etc., still apply (see update #4 for more info).
As a reminder for those who may have misplaced the current Zoom link:
May the Lord bless as we prepare our hearts to gather (either virtually or in-person).
On behalf of the Elders
Dear Bethel Family,
As mentioned last month, we are planning to reopen the chapel for in-person meetings this coming Sunday (July 5th). We want to follow our ‘normal’ routine as much as possible, applying AHS restrictions and protocols where necessary and applicable. This is how we see things unfolding:
General – If you are experiencing any of the Covid-19 symptoms, are not feeling well, or have a compromised immune system, then you should not come out. You can still watch online (see below). For those who are able to come out, hand sanitizer and masks will be available at the front and back doors. Please observe the social distancing protocols (including refraining from hand-shakes & hugs) except among cohort groups. You will find that every other pew, and several at the centre front, have been taped off to facilitate distancing. We will have music at both meetings, but if you want to sing you will need to wear a mask (or you can hum without one). We have blocked off the front several pews so that the song leaders don’t have to wear a mask. If you have your own hymnals, please feel free to bring and use your copy(s). If not, feel free to use the ones we have and then take them home and bring back each week. This will help us from needing to wipe down multiple hymnal covers each week.
Breaking of Bread – We’ve had to make a number of changes to this meeting. When you enter the auditorium pick up a self-contained packet of ‘communion elements’ from the trays on the bulletin cart. At the beginning of the meeting, the Announcing Elder will explain the procedure for the elements, including how to open the packet (it’s actually quite simple). There will be no passing of the bag for offerings, but a box will be available at the back for the auditorium for envelopes either before or after the meeting. There will be a garbage can set up in the foyer for you to dispose of the packaging from the communion elements following the meeting.
Fellowship Time – We’ve set up extra tables & chairs in the fellowship hall so that we can visit at the proper distance. We are not allowed to serve coffee and open food and beverages; however, bottled water, juice boxes and pre-packaged snacks will be available. Please don’t throw empty bottles & juice boxes in the garbage; look for the blue recycling boxes. Also, please avoid standing or gathering in the usual ‘choke points’, e.g. doorways and foyer. If you really need your coffee or tea then you will need to bring your own!
Family Bible Hour – Aside from the singing restrictions, this will proceed much as normal. Children will need to remain with their parents, including during the children’s story. We are not allowed to have a nursery program at the is time. However, the nursery will be available on a self-serve basis as needed by parents. As usual, children are not allowed in the nursery without a parent or guardian.
Sunday School – We are still working on how to make this work within AHS guidelines. So in the meantime children will have to remain with their parents or guardians throughout both services. Although speakers may try to make their messages applicable to all ages, parents might want to consider bringing quiet activities (e.g. colouring books) as necessary. We will let you know when we can restart the Sunday School ministry.
Post-Meeting Gatherings – These are discouraged by AHS, so we won’t be having ‘picnic-in-the-chapel/park’ or 'soup-and-prayer.' Of course, what you do afterwards is up to you!
Bethel Online – For the benefit of those who are not able to get out (at least not yet), we will continue to offer Bethel Online, via Zoom. Basically, the Zoom-room will be open from 9:30 AM (for Breaking of Bread), and stay open until the end of Family Bible Hour. You should be able to see and hear everything that happens in the auditorium, although you will not be able participate audibly. The sermon will be recorded and posted on our YouTube channel and website as normal. The Zoom link will be sent out on Saturday through email.
Please pray for wisdom and grace as we take this next step of faith as an assembly. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Col.3:17).
In His service,
Dear Bethel family,
It has now been 14 weeks since we last met as an assembly in person. With the recent easing of restrictions, we are planning to re-open on July 5th. We hope to follow our ‘normal’ Sunday routine as closely as possible, i.e. 9:30 Breaking of Bread, 11:00 Family Bible Hour and Sunday School. We will be taking special precautions regarding sanitation, preparation & distribution of communion elements, music etc. We are not allowed to serve food or beverages during the fellowship break (although you can always bring your own). We are not able to sponsor ‘picnic in the park’ afterwards, although we can’t stop families from meeting on their own. We are not allowed to have a nursery ministry for children under two years, but we can have Sunday School for older children. We are looking into ways to continue video participation for those who are shut-in, immuno-compromised, displaying symptoms, or who are just not yet comfortable getting together. So we have quite a few details to work through yet, but we will try to keep you updated as we approach our ‘re-open date’. Please pray that we would make wise decisions.
As Josh (Camp manager) reported at the Family Bible Hour (June 21st), Meadowlodge is taking advantage of the Covid stand-down to get much-needed work done at camp. Work is underway on a new underground water cistern and holding tanks, games facilities, and renovations to the girls’ washrooms. Volunteers are still needed for tree removal, disposal of old wood structures, sports shack rebuild, boathouse upgrade, sanding & painting, cabin maintenance & repairs. If you could spare a couple of hours or days, please contact Josh or Sarah by phone or email manager@meadowlodgebiblecamp .org. Sunday evening meetings will also be re-starting on July 12th. Details will be forthcoming in our July 5th bulletin. We are also hoping to be able to run two Intermediate Day Camps (ages 11-14) – Girls (Aug. 17th-20th), and Boys (Aug. 24th-27th). Registration will open on the camp website July 1st.
Even though we are making plans to re-open, let’s continue to pray for each other, especially those who are shut-in, or who are experiencing significant health challenges.
…let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb.10:25b)
Yours in His service,
On behalf of the Elders
(From the email sent out this week)
A few pieces of information regarding the library:
The library is still open during this time for your perusal! Feel free to come in and browse the material for a few minutes and take a couple of items to borrow. If you do not have a key to the chapel, please call or email one of the elders or deacons and they would be happy to let you in.
Also in the library, there are a number of new library additions including many popular Christian movies on DVD. These newer items can be found on the table in the center of the library.
Finally, there are a number of books that have been removed from the Library recently, now looking for a new home. While these are mostly various types of fiction books, there is a small handful of nonfiction as well. They are on a table in the fellowship room, outside of the library and have either a "Discarded" or "Removed from Bethel Library" sticker on the front cover.
This is a great chance to take several books home (either borrowed or to add to your personal library) and get caught up on some reading.
Again: if someone wants to take a few minutes and browse the materials and does not have a key to the chapel, they can ask one of the elders or deacons to let them in.
The above link is our youtube channel where you can find our uploaded sermon videos that are available at anytime. Hit the red subscribe button on the right side to stay up to date with new videos.
Last Saturday we thought we had done a good job of pre-recording Sunday’s message. Unfortunately, it seems that the platform we were using was also being used by thousands of other churches at the same time (no surprise!), and the server was not able to handle the demand. We were thankful that we were at least able to get the audio portion up and running on time. Hopefully the sound quality was better than last week, especially for the hard-of-hearing. At this time we have decided to discontinue using the church.online streaming platform and are looking at using different options. We do have our youtube channel which we will use for the time being; we will be considering some other options for this coming Sunday. Please be praying for our ‘tech team’!
Some of us have been trying to think of ways that we can stay socially connected as an assembly while being physically disconnected, and would like to issue a challenge: everyone commit to phoning a different Bethel person every day – and email and FaceBook doesn’t count! You may even find that you are an answer to somebody’s prayer, especially those who are feeling really isolated.
The above link is our planned ‘on-line church’. This is entirely new territory for all of us, and working out the technical and procedural details has been somewhat time-consuming! That said, we hope to have our ‘normal’ intro, children’s story and sermon available tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM. All you have to do is click on the link a few minutes beforehand. Lord willing, you should see something happen at 11 sharp. The video should remain active for 72 hours after broadcast, in case you miss it, or have your own technical challenges. We are hoping to also in-bed the link on our website (as we do with our audio-sermons) so that it is available for as long as we want. The first thing, however, is to see if we can even pull it off!
So please be praying for this step of faith, and for those who have been labouring hard to get it up and running. In all things, and above all things, we want to see the Lord Jesus glorified – so please be praying to that end.
Dear Bethel Family,
After much discussion and prayer, we have decided that the most prudent course of action at this time is to cancel our Sunday meetings and mid-week Bible studies until further notice. We have not taken this decision lightly, but, considering government guidance and hearing from a number of you, we have decided that this would be the most responsible course at this time. That said, we are looking into the possibility of live-streaming or pod-casting the Sunday messages. We know of other churches doing this, so we are checking to see if it is something that we can do as well. We will keep you posted on this initiative, including how you can get connected.
One important aspect of our Sunday worship that cannot be facilitated remotely is the Lord’s Supper (Breaking of Bread). On the other hand, if we can’t gather together as an assembly, there is nothing to prevent families or small groups from meeting to remember the Lord. We would, therefore, encourage each of you to consider how you might be able to exercise your privilege as a holy priesthood (see 1 Peter 2:4-10), and to worship the Lord where you are.
We know that the present situation is creating any number of challenges for all of us, but it is also creating opportunities to show forth the love of Christ — both to each other and to a world without hope. Let us each look to the One who is sovereign over all and to see the opportunities that He presents to us. Remember that …God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
In His mighty hands,
Dear Bethel Family,
Although the risk of contracting Coronavirus (Covid-19) is still low in Canada and Alberta, all levels of government are urging individuals and organizations to take reasonable precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus. The purpose of this email is to let you know what we are planning for Bethel. First of all, at this stage we will continue with all of our normal meetings, including the annual meeting and luncheon this Sunday, while taking a number of additional precautions:
In addition, we will remind and encourage everyone in the following:
While it is proper and sensible to take reasonable health precautions, it is also reasonable not to panic. As the Lord’s people we need to remind ourselves that He is still sovereign, and we are in His hands. A timely reminder from God’s Word is Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” May He give us all wisdom and faith to live out the truth of His Word at this time (and always).
Lord willing, we will see you Sunday morning!