(October 16, 2020) Hey Summerside Family,
I recognize that this is a complex time for all of us. It seems that every week there are new health mandates, often appearing to conflict with previous ones. Sometimes it appears the provincial regulations contradict regional regulations. Despite all the confusion, here’s what we’re committed to at Summerside: We are committed to obeying the COVID-19 regulations as they relate to churches and providing a safe, welcoming environment. What we’re asking you is: please aside your preferences and demonstrate love for one another.
Now, let’s talk about masks. I know many of you think it’s ill-advised, pointless, and that it may even be an overreach by our government. We respect a diversity of opinions, and I’m not here to argue with you. But here’s what we do know: There are people who are choosing not to come to our church because many are choosing to not wear masks. I can’t put it any other way.
This is a terrific opportunity to love your brothers and sisters. In 1 Corinthians 8:13, Paul says “if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” He makes a similar point in Romans 14. It was his right to eat meat, but he chose to give it up for his brothers and sisters. I think there are some clear parallels to what Paul was addressing and our current situation in COVID.
The command to Christ’s followers is to love one another and do everything that we can to not put a “stumbling block” in front of those who need to be here at church. Wherever you are on this issue, whatever you believe about masks or government overreach, I am asking you to put that aside for the good of your brothers and sisters. Follow the example of Paul and, most importantly, follow the example of Jesus, who gave up everything to demonstrate his love for us.
I recognize that in the Christian faith, there is room for serious discussions about civil disobedience and non-violent protest. I recognize that we live in a tension between obeying the government and obeying Christ as Lord. In this letter, I am speaking directly about our time together as a church family, not so much about what you chose to do on your own day to day.
So, again, here’s how you can love your brothers and sisters well:
- In accordance with local health guidelines, please wear a mask when entering and exiting the building. If you feel it is necessary, you may remove your mask once seated in the auditorium; however, if you need to use the washroom, you will need to wear your mask to and from;
- Sanitize your hands at the stations we’ve provided;
- Leave the auditorium immediately after the service so we can get it sanitized;
- If you can take 5 minutes to help sanitize, please meet at the servery window in the foyer.
We love you and we want to see you grow. We want people to feel comfortable coming to Summerside so that, together, we can grow as Everyday Disciples.
Thanks so much,
(September 6, 2020) Hey Summerside,
Our doors are open and the in-person services are LIVE - live sermons and live music. I cannot overstate the importance of God’s people gathering together. Church Online is good, but it’s not enough. If you have underlying health conditions or a situation that prevents you from attending in person, make use of Church Online.For now, the service is still pre-recorded. If you can attend, please prayerfully consider doing so.
- Services are at 9:30am and repeated at 11:00am.
- No Child Care is possible during this season, but children are welcome and we do have a child's component. Each service will only be 45 minutes. All of the spaces that have typically been used by children's ministry will be inaccessible. Photocopied colouring pages, worksheets, and kid-friendly sermon notes will be available, but parents will be responsible for bringing crayons, pencils, etc. from home. Feel free to also bring along some quiet activities from home (books, fidget toys, digital devices with earphones, etc.).
- We are encouraging people to come a few minutes prior to the service, but to leave the building immediately after the service so we can sanitize our building for the next service. If you can help with this (it will take no longer than 10 minutes and all supplies will be provided), please contact the church office at email@example.com .
What will it look like?
- Dedicated ENTRANCE and EXIT doors. You will ENTER the church through the main doors (under the carport) only and proceed directly into the auditorium.
- Upon entering the building, we encourage you to use the hand sanitizer available and refrain from shaking hands or hugging those outside of your family unit.
- Masks are mandatory.
- We’ve taken out the rows of chairs and have replaced them with tables (large and small), and smaller groups of chairs – all properly distanced. We’re asking families to sit together around a table, and singles or couples to sit in the smaller groups of chairs.
- While singing is technically permitted, during the music, you may also worship through prayer, reflection, silence, or even journaling.
- We ask that you immediately leave the building after the service as there will be no refreshments/fellowship time provided.
- You will EXIT through either the patio door in the rear of the foyer or the dedicated exit door at the main doors.
Our Commitment Remains:
- To ensuring that we are continuing our mission to be Everyday Disciples who make Disciples Every day.
- To providing high quality on-line and in-person services.
- To adjusting the plan we have in place, if required.
The Finer Print:
- Parents, your kids MUST stay with you AT ALL TIMES.
- Please don’t sit at a large table if you are a single or a couple. Let’s keep these available for larger groups and, instead, find a spot in the smaller chair groupings.
- Please be patient with our staff. They love you; they are working harder than ever, and doing everything they can, to make our re-launch a success. Give them the same grace Jesus has given you.
I know this will look different than what we’ve been used to. That’s OK. For 2000 years, the Church of Jesus has been adapting, responding, and both growing and thriving in the midst of difficult situations. The core our of ministry remains un-changed: We exist to bring glory to Jesus’ name. At Summerside, we do that by being Everyday Disciples who make Disciples Every Day.
(June 10 2020) Hey Summerside,
As you have likely heard, churches in Ontario are now permitted to meet in-person at up to 30% of their total capacity. This is significant news and we’re excited about seeing some restrictions lifted. Maybe you’re wondering, “What does this mean for Summerside?” Well, I’m glad that you asked!
Here’s what I can tell you. First, we will not rush into anything in an unwise way. We want to gain clarity from the government about what expectations remain in place. We don’t want to develop a plan, then launch in-person services, only to have to cancel or radically adjust what we’re doing. We still need more information.
Second, we know that navigating COVID is a personal decision. We will not seek to force or pressure people into attending. To ensure this is the case, we’ll continue to offer Church Online for the foreseeable future. So, don’t worry, we won’t leave you behind. More than likely, at some point in the late summer or early fall, we will have a combination of in-person services and digital/video services. We want to ensure that you can follow your conscience and feel safe in whatever form of worship in which you choose to be a part.
Third, as I lead and manage our staff, I am working to ensure that whatever plan we put in place sets them up for long term success and doesn’t needlessly burden them beyond what is reasonable. There’s no point in rushing things only to burn our staff out. They have been working tirelessly over the past three months and seeking to minister in a completely new context. It’s felt like starting a new job every month! Whatever our plan entails, it will have to be realistic. Finally, here’s my promise to you: I will do everything I can to ensure that we communicate clearly, often, and through a variety of platforms. We welcome input and feedback but, at this point, we’re still gathering information, seeking clarity in our plans, and working to develop an approach that makes sense.
Let me just mention a few items that might help bring even more clarity:
1. Our offices will remain closed until September. Our staff have home offices set up, have developed routines and rhythms, and are being effective. There is no benefit at this point in reopening the church offices and mandating that everyone come to the physical building to do their work.
2. Regarding our church budget, by now we usually have a new one approved to begin our fiscal year on July 1. Since we have not been able to have a meeting to approve a new budget, the elders are considering a continuation of the current budget in the interim, until we can have a meeting in the Fall to approve a new budget.
3. We don’t know when we’ll be able to gather in person for Sunday services, but this much we know, we will not be starting them in the month of June, at the very least. We need more time to plan, organize, and gather the information we require to make this a success.
On a final note, since we are continually working to improve our video recording quality. Let me invite those of you who are able, to consider giving a special gift, above your regular gifts, to the Increasing our Impact Campaign of 2020. Earlier this year, we unveiled a campaign to purchase, install, and roll out the technology we need for high-quality streaming. The need has never been greater. Over the past few months, we’ve secured some of the items we require but, in the coming months, we’ll need to purchase between $5-10,000 worth of tech equipment so that we can begin to record in the auditorium at an even higher quality. Consider giving to this initiative. If you are interested, you can simply designate a gift to the Building Fund, which will be used for this campaign.
Our ministry continues. It’s just a bit different!
As of March 22, Summerside Community Church Sunday services and weekly ministries on site are suspended in lieu of an interim strategy outlined here:
- Sunday Services:
- 9am – Church Online (open chat before and after)
- 10am – Church Online (open chat before and after)
- Posted here: Summerside Church Online
- Corporate Prayer Initiatives:
- Tuesdays - 8pm
- Thursdays - 4pm
- Saturdays 10am
- List of prayer items posted on Facebook and updated on the website HERE
- Wednesday Night Youth Group – Games, Teaching, Small Groups
Jr. High (Grades 6-8) – 6:30pm on Zoom app
Sr. High (Grades 9-12) – 7:30pm on Zoom app
- Emmaus Youth Discord Channel - Text and Voice chat for students and parents
- Contact Pastor Luke or Tyler Legouffe to get connected.
- Kids’ Ministry:
- Join our Facebook page HERE
- To get connected with our kids’ ministry and find some great ideas for discipling your kids, email Michele Bouma at: Summerside Kids
- Trauma occurs when our assumptions about reality are challenged in a significant way. The Trauma Healing Institute has a helpful resource for parents and children HERE
- Community Groups:
- Community groups are made for times like these! Your group can still connect via social media, video calls, phone calls, etc. Care and love one another.
- Additional Avenues for Care and Support:
- How to Handle an Unexpected Period of Isolation HERE
- Healing from Trauma from COVID-19 HERE
- Spiritual Resources in Dealing with Trauma HERE
- The link to the videos is HERE. There’s an introduction and 4 discussion sessions, along with PDFs. Each video is only 5-10 minutes in length.
-A video conversation with Trish Pauls, a registered psychotherapist, on your mental health during COVID HERE
If you need anything or require assistance
- Please email us as firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or call: 519-680-3541 (please leave a message)
- What we encourage during this time:
1. Meaningful personal devotions - prayer, scripture, meditation, thankfulness.
2. Intentional Family Worship - We’re offering online training to get your started in family worship HERE
3. Community Group Engagement: Call, connect, and support the other people in your community group.
4. Keep up to date on Facebook and our e-newsletter.
5. Continue to be generous. Click HERE more information on how to give.
Together, we can continue to grow, learn, and follow Christ together. We exist “to make EveryDay Disciples who Glorify God Every Day”.
Let’s keep doing just that!