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Dear Emmanuel,

As you are very likely aware, the spread of Covid 19 has begun to have significant implications for those who live in BC.

We have been closely monitoring the situation, and have been in communication with our larger Fellowship of Churches, as well as some of the medical professionals within our own church family. Additionally, within the last 24 hours, the BC Provincial Health Officer directed all event organizers that they are required to cancel any gathering larger than 50 people.

In light of all of this, we have decided to cancel our public services this upcoming Sunday. While we realize that this might seem extreme to some, we are doing this for the following reasons:

1. This is the decision that has been recommended to us by those with the best knowledge based on their medical expertise.

2. We want to do what we can practically to care for those in our congregation who are most vulnerable to illness (seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions). And, while our response might adapt in coming days and weeks, at this point, this decision is the clearest and most immediately effective way to provide this care.

3. We believe it is our responsibility to obey those who have been put in authority over us. To this end, we will do what we can to cooperate with our governmental authorities as they do their part to govern in difficult times.

Ultimately, we would much rather look back and perhaps feel silly for over responding, rather than to look back with regret for not responding strongly enough.

Thankfully, with the technology available to us, we have some unique means to provide resources to the Emmanuel family so that we are able to continue to carry on our church life as best as possible, despite this difficult decision. We are planning to have some tools sent out to you tomorrow in order to facilitate this. Additionally, the staff and leadership of Emmanuel is working to ensure that we can stay connected as a community, and that those who are in need are cared for.

To this end, we will be communicating with you in the next day, so that you are able to access the resources that we are working on now (including a sermon that will be on the website that we are encouraging you to watch this Sunday as part of your worship time, as well as resources for kids so that parents can continue to teach their families about their great God!) If you aren’t already familiar with the website, we would strongly encourage you to connect with our online presence at www.emmanuelvernon.ca

The final thing we want to communicate to you at this point, is that the board of deacons and elders will be meeting this coming Tuesday. At that point, we will prayerfully consider next steps, both in terms of our other ministries, and future Sunday morning services. Please know we are praying for you all both for your safety and encouragement during this time, as well as for the strength and courage to take advantage of the unique opportunities to share the good news of Jesus that may come through this trial.

In the days to come, we will do our best to communicate with you frequently, especially in light of the way this situation is changing at such a rapid pace.

We are so thankful that our God remains on the throne today…His arm is not weak, and He does not slumber or sleep! Please know Emmanuel that despite chaos that can come into our world and into our lives, we have a heavenly Father who cares for us, and invites us even this day to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.

In Christ

Pastor Don,

On behalf of the staff and board of Emmanuel