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Dear CHBC Family,
It has been a long four and a half months since the global pandemic was called. Businesses, organizations, churches, and more have stopped meeting in person, some just restarting lately, others closing their doors for good. Thousands of people have become ill, most of whom have recovered, but much too many have died. Not only has the global response varied from country to country, but within countries, and even within our own church and families, there are multiple opinions and thoughts as to what should or should not happen. Despite the varied thoughts and opinions, the differences amongst us as a church have been largely engaged in through Christian charity, for which I am very thankful to each one of you.
I am also very thankful for the holidays we were able to have over the last couple of weeks. The boys and I were able to go backcountry camping for a couple of nights in Kananaskis Country, and then as a family we went to Kinbrook Island Provincial Park for a week of camping and boating. It was probably the most enjoyable holiday we have had together as it was relaxing, full of good conversation and activity together. I will be taking another couple of weeks off in mid-August to rebuild the balcony on the front of our place…it is 40 years old and in much need of upgrading! Four weeks off during the summer are unprecedented for us, just as this pandemic is unprecedented for all of us - one is caused by a microscopic virus which is frustrating all of us, the other is a result of your generosity and care, which warms my heart and uplifts my sprits.
Over the next few weeks the leadership team of the church will be firming up and finalizing a “reentry plan” to begin in person worship services, alongside the online services, starting in September. Although I say “finalizing,” as we have all come to realize in this season of life, flexibility and adjustments are always needed. Thank you for your feedback through the most recent survey, results will be compiled and distributed by the end of the week. Thank you as well for praying, it is seasons such as this that remind us life is really out of our control, but He has the whole world in his hands. I would urge you to keep praying, keep building your relationship with Jesus, for it is God’s wisdom and direction that each of us individually and collectively truly need. Pray for yourself, your family and friends, and for the church and its mission. Although the doors have been closed to in person worship, the mission and work of the church to make disciples wherever we find ourselves, is still very much our main focus and task as we worship God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and love our neighbour as ourselves.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

Finally, I want to encourage everyone to continue to get involved, in any way you can, in the life and ministry of the kingdom of God. I chatted on the phone with a friend of mine today who is struggling with the shift the organization he works for has had to make. They have been setting up meetings with clients and what not over the phone, via Zoom, and in isolated meetings at their offices (in many ways, not much different from what we have been doing). He said to me that he “rebels against all the on-line and lack of in person interaction," mostly because he dislikes using computers, but also because he likes being face to face with people. Unfortunately none of this is going to go away any time soon, so we need to adjust. As a church we have done remarkably well at making the transition to online worship services and engagement has been quite high. Many of you have engaged intentionally with calling one another, some even systematically going through the directory and calling a person or family a day. Keep doing this! Keep connecting with people, learning about one another, and those in your neighbourhood. Invite a friend to a Thursday Tent Meeting, participate and invite others to participate in Sunday morning worship, the social media challenges, weekly Zoom prayer meetings, and think creatively about how you might display the glory of God through this unprecedented and bizarre time and share your ideas with others! I have seen the meme on social media a few times now, and I agree wholeheartedly…the church has not closed during the pandemic, it has been deployed! Let us continue to grow in relationship with Jesus and engage in the mission he has called us to, no matter the circumstances, no matter the challenge.

Peace and blessings,