COVID-19 Update for December 22, 2021
***Christmas Eve Worship is Online***
On behalf of the Leadership Council, I am writing to all of you with some difficult news. Due to the rising case numbers and the prevalence of the omicron variant, we have decided to suspend in-person worship services for the time-being. Christmas Eve worship and all following worship services will be offered online only.
Yesterday’s announcements of more restrictions from the Provincial Government did not include additional restrictions for worship services, however, the Pacific Mountain Regional Council of the United Church (the region in which we reside) sent an email this morning recommending that all churches move to online worship. The Leadership Council agrees with this choice, choosing the more cautious approach. During the entirety of the pandemic, we have always been cautious in our response, carefully considering the risks and how this could affect our congregation. Taking this approach has served us well and it will again. We want everyone to be safe and healthy this Christmas and into the New Year and worshipping online is the best way to do this right now.
Treena Duncan, the Executive Minister of the region, quoted Dr. David Keegan, a committed United Church member, Alberta doctor and professor at the University of Calgary, with his recommendation for the United Church: “I suggest that UCC has the opportunity to save many lives, prevent hospital admissions and long-term disability, and to focus on the social justice and life orientation of Jesus by switching to online services for Christmas/Christmas Eve. Let’s give the gift of life this Christmas.”
We couldn’t agree more. Let’s be safe this Christmas, as a faith community, and go back to worshipping online together on Zoom. We’ve done this before and, thankfully, this time we know how to do it!
There will be a slight difference, however. Marcus and I (Lydia) will lead worship from the sanctuary with the scripture reader, prayers of the people person, necessary tech volunteers, etc. present. The worship service will be livestreamed on Zoom, like we have been now for the last few months, to everyone else. The exception to this is Sunday, December 26th when all of us will be cozy in our PJs at home for worship on Zoom (i.e. no one will be in the church building).
This isn’t the news we hoped for or planned for. I was excited to finally have a Christmas Eve worship in-person again and hear our voices sing together “Silent Night” at the end of the evening. However, we know all too well that the Spirit moves regardless of where we are as we worship, and we know for certain that God is with us this coming Christmas Eve as the light of the world enters in the form of a beautiful baby.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me or anyone on Leadership Council know.
Merry Christmas to all of you and see you on Zoom!
Rev. Lydia Ruenzel on behalf of the LUC Leadership Council (Sue King, Ryan Hall, Joan Angrignon, Don Ross, Iris Scott, Bob Sisler, Joanne Lashley, and Yvonne McKenna)
P.S. If you’d like to read the Region’s announcement from this morning, take a look here. (It’s a worthwhile read)
And, for anyone of you who are set to participate in worship in the coming weeks as a scripture reader, candle lighter, welcome host, etc., you will be receiving another email shortly about next steps and adjusted plans.