As I suggested last week, I am trying out a new name for this column to begin transitioning away from the focus on our COVID-19 situation, although that will remain a focus for as long as it needs to. My intention is to retain this new writing habit as a continuing method of communicating with members and friends of the Canada West Mission Centre. If you have another idea for a title feel free to let me know by sending it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The latest First Presidency Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic was released to the church on Friday, April 17. It extended the suspension of church services and programs through to the end of May. It also “strongly recommended” that “camps, reunions, and vacation Bible schools” scheduled in June be canceled. I trust that Pastors will already have passed the information on to congregation members concerning local services and programs in May.
The mention of June affects two programs currently on our calendar, both at the Hills of Peace Campground. First, the Spiritual Retreat, scheduled for June 12 to 14, will not be held as originally scheduled. However, watch for information about a “virtual” version of the event being offered in its place. The event Director, Denise Esch, along with Lisa Neudorf, are in discussions with Tony and Charmaine Chvala-Smith, the scheduled guest ministers, about how to offer a series of online opportunities over the weekend. This would make the event accessible to more people than might have travelled to the camp.
The second event that is technically affected is the Hills of Peace Junior Camp. It is scheduled to for June 29 to July 3. In addition to being “on the cusp” of the June cancellation recommendation, the camp does not yet have a Director identified. We are not formally announcing the cancellation of this camp. Watch for more news in the next couple of weeks.
I continue to receive questions about the status of camps and events in July and August. Discussions continue about all of them. Specifically, this includes both Family Camps (Hills of Peace and Samish), the Junior Camp mentioned above, and the Hills of Peace Junior High/Senior High Camps. We are also awaiting decisions concerning SPEC, held each summer at Graceland University, and decisions from the Greater Pacific Northwest Mission Center about the series of youth camps scheduled for Samish Campground.
We have previously said we will announce decisions about summer programs by the middle of May at the latest. I expect that once we have decisions from other jurisdictions our own decisions will become obvious and we will announce them very soon after those initial announcements. We have clearly heard from many persons the concerns about crossing the U.S. border this summer (even if it is possible to do so). That will be a major factor in our decisions.
Please contact me with any comments or questions.
Take care. Stay Safe. Be Healthy. God bless.
Canada West Mission Centre President
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537