Dear Bethel Family,
The Elders met Thursday night and agreed on what we hope will be a workable plan to see us through the next few weeks. Thanks to all who were praying for us – we certainly appreciated it.
While we considered going totally online (as we did during the first lockdown last Spring), we did not want to exclude those who don’t have access to the necessary technology. After counting the maximum number who fall into that category, along with the minimum number of people that it takes to run a Sunday gathering at the Chapel, we estimate that we would be able to just meet the new maximum number of 15 people. With that in mind, here is the plan:
The Elders will be reviewing the plan each week to see if any changes are needed. Should you have any concerns or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us. As always, we value your prayers for wisdom and unity – and that we would all have hearts to seek the glory of the Lord, regardless of circumstances.
In His glad service,
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,
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.