March 19, 2020 Warm greetings however this letter finds you, On Sunday March 15th, it was announced that EMBC will no longer hold corporate services on Sunday mornings and will be cancelling events where the potential for large gatherings will occur. This will remain until further notice. This is to follow the recommendations by our medical and government officials, as well as our National Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches as we respond to COVID-19. We will still continue to be the church and in the coming weeks, together we need to discern the best ways to adapt to the changing landscape. Our Leadership Council will be meeting later this week to pray and discuss how we can still be the church when gathering together is not advisable. We will be looking at different ways we can offer support to the community and to the church as a whole in the upcoming season. Please pray for wisdom and creativity in the days to come. We thank you for your patience and grace as we all figure out the best way forward. If you or anyone you know is in need at this time, please feel free to contact the office. Feel free to call if you need prayer or just some encouragement or would just like to talk. Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” Pastor Ken & Pastor Conrad
March 14, 2020 To everyone at EMBC, As we wrote yesterday, church is still on tomorrow at 10:30 am. However, all children's programming and Sunday school classes are cancelled. The Parent/Child Dedication will also not be held. We recognize that many of you may not be able to attend or might not feel comfortable to attend. We are planning to upload the sermon tomorrow to the website, so please check there. We also will be using our website and facebook page frequently over the next few weeks to pass on both information and encouragement, so please check those sites often. As your leaders, we are mindful of recommendations from our government and our conference to limit our meetings, so it is likely that we will not gather next week. But as mentioned, please stay tuned for further updates. Let us not forget the truth that our God is near, He is good, and He is in control. And may you be encouraged by the words of Philippians 4:5-7 The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. With love and care, Ken and Conrad
March 13, 2020 EMBC Response to COVID-19 As you are aware, the global spread of COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. We want to let you know that as this week has unfolded EMBC has assembled a planning team to assess risks, to be aware of the latest health directives from our public health leaders, our conference, and other churches and have crafted a multi-layered plan as these days are unfolding. Manitoba has of today, 3 presumptive cases and at this time the risk is still quite low. First, it’s important to be reminded about what we already know: God is firmly in control of this situation and our whole lives. We respond with faith, not fear and rather than worrying and being anxious, let us remember that Jesus calls us to respond with prayer and faith in him (Matt. 6:33–34; Phil. 4:6). We need not worry ultimately because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Cor. 15:55–57). Christians have generally been at their best when others are responding with panic and this is what our friends, neighbours, colleagues and family need now. At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as 'low'. We also recognize that our church population at EMBC contains those individuals who are deemed to be “higher risk”, especially those over the age of 65, those who are very young, and those with ongoing medical conditions. It is out of love for these individuals and our community that the following actions are being undertaken.
At this time all regularly scheduled events in our church life – including on Sundays and throughout the week – will carry on as scheduled.
We strongly encourage you to follow the most proactive ways to prevent the potential spread of this virus are to wash your hands regularly, to cover your cough, and to stay home if you are feeling unwell. There will be multiple posters placed around the church encouraging and displaying proper hand-washing techniques. Hand-sanitizing stations and Kleenex will be more readily available throughout the church. We are asking that anyone who is showing signs of respiratory illness, including fever, to remain home. Staff will be paying special attention to cleaning high-traffic surfaces vigilantly.
Though we are a loving community, we ask that at this time we refrain from shaking hands and other forms of physical greetings. As well, the offertory plates will be stationed by the ushers at the back of the sanctuary for deposits rather than be passed around.
Taking these precautions, we believe that at this time all regularly scheduled events in our church life – including on Sundays and throughout the week – can carry on as scheduled. But that may change, so please pay attention to the website or facebook page to stay informed. Lastly, let us all be diligent and mindful of praying for those who are affected physically, emotionally, and financially. Pray for our medical staff and health officials as they carry much of this load. Pray for wisdom among governments and health officials and pray that God might graciously bring an end to the virus at this time. Let us also pray that we would become better equipped to communicate God’s love and peace, especially to a world around us filled with fear and anxiety. In Christ, Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church