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Restrictions for Faith-based Organizations, Nov 19

Friends,

Some of us have been gathering over the past few weeks with Matt Miofsky and reflecting together on leadership, change and the wilderness. It is clear that many of us find these COVID times to be a wilderness time, but Matt reminds us that “Wherever you are, just know that you aren’t alone. We are going to do this together.” He also says that “we have moments when life beckons us to stop because something extraordinary has happened. And God can speak to us there”. There is no way around the wilderness, we just have to go through it.
 
I don’t know about you, but it feels to me like this pandemic has been going on for years rather than months. I’m tired of the zoom screen, I’m ready to be together in person with people, to be able to greet each other with a hug. Right now, everything feels harder, it takes longer, requires more creativity and energy. We have just received news that there will be more restrictions, which is no surprise, but is hard to receive. It feels a bit like Dr Henry has told us she is disappointed in us and sent us all to our room!
 
And now we turn our eyes toward the season of Advent and Christmas. It’s going to look very different, its challenging to plan and figure out how best to be the church in this time. It’s hard to stop and listen for the voice of the holy when you have services to plan, shopping to do, pastoral needs to meet. And yet, that is the call. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we are reminded that we are not alone. We are in this together, and we are in this with God. Matt Miosky also says “Maybe our time in the wilderness is meant to teach us to trust in God, and not just in ourselves, to lead us to the land of promise”. 

As Regional staff, we are blessed to walk this path together with you and are anxious to be a support and resource on this crazy journey, particularly for those in paid accountable ministry across our regional council. We are excited to invite those of you in paid accountable leadership to a mini-retreat on December 2nd at 4pm. It will consist of a time of worship and sacrament led by President Blair Odney, and Rev Peter Short, followed by a time to check in with one another. We hope that this will be a time to feed your soul as you move into this unprecedented season of Advent. Paid accountable ministry staff folks will receive a separate email with the details.   
 
Now for the more technical work: please find here (click to open) a PDF summary of the recent orders as they relate to faith communities. These orders are issued in our best interest, and we encourage Communities of Faith to abide by both the letter and the spirit of the recommendations. Dr Henry is hoping to keep businesses open and our children in school, so whenever possible we ask you to limit your numbers and work from home as much as you are able. You will see that we are encouraged to continue leading online worship. The numbers for filming worship have not been expressly limited, because that is not considered a gathering, but rather a work requirement, however, I encourage you to keep your participant numbers as low as possible.
 
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, or any of the regional staff if you have questions or concerns. And as you wander the wilderness, Be Kind, Be Calm and Be Safe.

Blessings,
Treena Duncan