Last Thursday, May 21, the First Presidency of Community of Christ issued their latest Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic. There is no “blanket” continuation of the direction to close congregations beyond the end of May, but there is clear caution to avoid re-opening without adequate preparation. There will be further direction given in the next few days. I have advised all Pastors in Canada West to avoid the temptation to open in the next few weeks. In conjunction with whatever the First Presidency provides, there will be instructions provided to assist congregations in planning for re-opening. No date for re-opening of any congregation in Canada West has been established.
The other key point in the current statement is the official direction to cancel summer camps. Canada West, along with several other mission centres in Canada and the U.S., has already formally cancelled our summer programs. Watch for announcements about possible alternatives to be offered, especially for our youth.
On Monday, May 25, President Steve Veazey released his most recent message to the church. It is entitled, Hope in Trying Times. In the video, President Veazey explains a budget reduction that is being implemented in early June requiring the reduction in church staff by 18 positions. These changes were being discussed before the onset of the pandemic and are not related to it. He also discusses the preparations that are necessary before congregations re-open and reinforces the need for caution and patience in this process.
Community of Christ has issued many statements and announcements about the work of the church during the pandemic. For a list of all such announcements, please see the “COVID-19 Announcements” page on the World Church website.
I have regularly mentioned in this column the online opportunities that are available as alternatives to our weekly services and programs. Once again let me direct you to the listing of Online Ministries on the World Church website. I know people who are participating in events on Sundays from several areas across North America and even internationally. Pick just one and give it a try this Sunday.
There are also various opportunities offered through the week. Many people are tuning in to the Toronto Centre Place Congregation’s “Beyond the Walls” services (see links on the page referenced above), which draw participation from essentially a world-wide audience. See also the “Online Events Directory” appears further down in this newsletter for opportunities in Canada West. Please be sure to check with your local congregation leadership for anything happening in your area. I know that weekly online opportunities are being provided in Vancouver, Calgary, and Regina as well as some initial efforts happening in Victoria. Please note that the online services from Edmonton have been discontinued until further notice.
Once again, my prayer is that God may continue to be present in your life. May you feel the support of your church community around you. May you be blessed with health - and/or with healing – and with a positive spirit. May God bless us all with God’s warm, loving presence.
Grace and Peace,
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