COVID-19 Updates

April 2

5:30 PM Update


I hope this finds you all healthy and safe in your homes, spending time with your families. Things seem to have quieted down a bit this week, as far as new announcements and measures, and people seem to have settled into this new way of life we need to get used to, for the time being. Although there are still many unknowns – how long this will last, what the new normal will be, and for many of you – if you will have a job. But there is much we do know – God is always faithful, always good, and always sovereign.


We have been praying for you all, especially for those who are front-line workers.  We would ask all our congregation to pray for doctors, nurses, technicians, EMS, police, all who are required to continually put themselves in contact with others, to serve and care for them. We know of a few from this profession, in our congregation, who we believe have already contracted COVID-19.  Pray for all of these special people, not just from our congregation, who risk their own safety to serve us. Pray for their families, also at risk and many not able to even stay together due to the risks.


In addition to praying to God for others, we want to thank God for the many ways we see Him at work.  We hear stories from our congregation of various ways God is providing, protecting, caring, and encouraging – thank you God!


Our office continues to be closed, as per government orders, but we are all continuing to work from home, other than filming our sermons and devotionals in the Worship Centre (which we have permission to do and ensure there are no more than five in the building at a time). We are thankful to God that so far, He has allowed our elders to ensure all our staff continue to be paid.


We have received a lot of positive feedback from many of you regarding our weekly communication, devotionals on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, as well as our “Reflections” blog post, sermons, and worship videos. Thank you for encouraging us this way! FYI – we decided as a team not to do livestreaming. There is real no difference for those watching between watching a livestream vs. pre-recorded worship or a sermon, and it is far easier on our staff to pre-record our weekend ministry rather than try to do livestream. This also eliminates a host of technical challenges and risks. We are working on something special for our Good Friday and Easter Sunday services, which will be online. Although I think we’d all rather be together in our worship centre, we are trusting God to see how He will use these “services”.  We are seeing a drastic increase in people accessing our sermons, worship, devotionals, as are many churches, so it seems God is drawing people, well beyond our own congregation to this digital media.


We have also heard stories from many of you of how God has worked in encouraging one another, helping each other, and praying for each other. The door has been opened in many hearts to share the gospel, so we praise God for how He is working in and through all of you and this situation. Please continue to connect with your small group via an online meeting tool like Zoom or Google Hangouts. It’s so important to maintain these relationships and be praying for each other.


There is some concern over our finances, and the impact job loss will have on our giving. This can’t really be known at this point, but we are doing all we can to prepare. We are thankful to God and all of you, as we had a really great week of giving this past week. We had many new givers, as well as regular givers give more, which has really helped. However, our first week of the month is typically higher, and the two weeks before were significantly lower. We anticipate that the longer this goes on and people are on EI or have lost their job all together, the real impact on our giving is yet to be seen. Therefore, we are continuing to ask those who have not been regular givers in our ministry to start giving, if you are able.  If all of us just do something, we will see our needs met. Sadly, the majority of people in our church do not give, so please, if you have been blessed by Redemption, would you consider giving regularly as we move forward.


Our elders have approved an immediate 9% reduction in our budget (a $162,000 cut). We are able to do this without significantly impacting ministries, and keeping our team intact, but it would mean we would not be hiring another pastor/director this year, not doing some facility projects, reducing church planting donations, and cutting a few discretionary ministry plans. We will do an assessment towards the end of May, if further cuts are needed. We have taken an initial look at what those cuts may be and have frozen spending on an additional $146,000 (bringing us to a 17% reduction) which will move from a freeze to a cut, at that time, should more cuts be needed. This additional $146,000 will still not mean a reduction in staff, nor stop any ministries, but does have some reduction in things we thought we should do this year.


God has graciously allowed us to accumulate a reserve account, but are hoping we don’t have to dip into that, as we have no idea of what emergencies and future crisis may hit further down the road, so our prayer and desire is to deal with our deficit by some cuts and by increased donations.  Please consider being a part of the solution to this stress and pressure we are feeling, as all churches are.


Just a reminder, you can give using your credit card HERE (this does cost us about 2.5% in fees) or contact Karen ([email protected]) to get setup to give through online banking (reduced fees vs. the credit card giving). Thank you!


Another initiative we are looking at adding during this time when we can’t meet together as a church family, is to help provide some contact with our elders, so we are asking a different elder and his wife, to make themselves available one evening during the week, where people can join them via technology, to talk, ask questions, hear what God is doing, and receive prayer. This would be like a virtual small group, but just for that one evening for an hour or so.  If you would like to be a part of the first one of these – connect with an elder – virtual small groups next week, please email [email protected] and let us know.  We will email the day and time and how to connect as soon as we have those details finalized.


Also, a reminder for any who may have special needs in this crisis season. If you need help getting groceries or other necessities, we have a bunch of eager volunteers ready and very excited to help by serving you and caring for your practical needs. Please contact [email protected] or call our office at 519-668-1977 to request help.


If you have some extra time and are looking for a way to fill it, why not take some biblical or theological training? Heritage Bible College and Seminary has made a bunch of classes available online. You can watch them when you want. Some offered this spring are livestream with set times, but others are pre-recorded. If you want to take a class for credit to work toward a degree, you need to apply and then pay a higher fee for the class. However you can also take the class in what is called the “audit” format, so you get all the same teaching, just that you don’t have to turn in any assignments, write any tests or exams, and you don’t have to apply, just sign up for the class. There is a fee, I am not sure what it is, but it is far cheaper to audit. I (Norm) think I may take one or two this spring/summer. I am still working daytime hours, but since I can watch them when I want online, this gives me flexibility to learn. Please check out the courses at and contact the school ASAP if interested as we are past the signup date, but they said they would waive the late charge for our people, so let them know you are a part of Redemption.


Finally, we are excited to let you know that we have hired Kendra Breedveld in the part-time position of Kids Ministry Coordinator. Kendra and her husband Travis have three children: Silas (age 4), Callie (age 2), and Emily (almost 1). She has been a faithful volunteer in our Kids Ministry for many years, and her most recent role has been as a Service Coordinator. She already has a great grasp on our Kids Ministry and has some ideas on how to build upon the foundation we have to enhance this vital ministry. The exact role Kendra will have as well as how many hours a week she will work will be determined over the next few months. This hire is not as the Kids Ministry Director, but rather we are splitting that role and Kendra will take some of the key aspects of it.


Julie is very excited to welcome Kendra to the team as we know all Kids Ministry workers will be. We are so thankful to God for Julie and how she has carried the leadership of Kids, with such a good attitude, for many months. We are now thanking God for Kendra, as from what we have seen, they will complement each other very well, each able to use their gifting and passion together in a way that brings God glory and serves our kids and their families.


If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email me directly at [email protected] We love, miss, and are praying for you all, and can’t wait until we can be back together, in the same room worshipping as one family. Until then, let’s continue, in faith, to walk after Christ, seeking to trust in Him and honour Him in this very strange season.

March 28

5:30 PM Update


We wanted you to know about some things that ARE happening in and through our ministry during this unique season. Our offices remain closed, as per the Premier of Ontario’s direction, although we have been given permission from the Middlesex London Health Unit for a small team to come in and record our devotionals and Sunday sermon, provided we follow the distancing and sanitizing procedures.


All our ministries effectively remain closed, with the exception of the Market, as this is allowed to continue as it provides food for those in need.


We are very thankful to Laurie Sherwood and her Market team for continuing to provide food for our clients on Sundays and Mondays, as per our normal hours. If you are willing and able to provide some food for the Market and/or some funds to help purchase food (non-receipted donations) please contact Laurie at [email protected].


We also have about a dozen Redemption volunteers who are willing to pick up groceries or prescriptions, or any other needs for those who can’t get out for some reason. Please, if you have a need, contact us [email protected] and we will get someone in connection who can help meet that need. Thanks to all those who volunteered to help in this ministry.


We are setting up some virtual small groups for anyone to join, to talk weekly with some of our shepherds, if you feel a need for some wisdom, prayer, support, encouragement, etc.  The information on how to connect with these groups will be posted here or emailed in next Thursday’s communication.


Our ministry staff are each seeking to call their key leaders, youth leaders, YA leaders, men’s table leaders, women’s table leaders, and small group leaders, at least every other week to touch base, encourage, find out any needs, and pray for these shepherds. We are also encouraging these groups to try to connect periodically with their groups using technology like Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.


We would really encourage all of you to just take the initiative and email, text, or call at least five other people in our church, as God brings them to mind. Keep checking in with people! Having a personal connection and touch point, even if only by technology or phone, is still very encouraging and a good way for us as the body of Christ to care for and encourage one another.


Norm was invited, as all the faith-based ministries in London were, to a Zoom call with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor this past Thursday. We had a chance to share how we are seeking to care for people and hear how others are. We remain open to help in any way we can to our congregation, but also beyond our congregation to the needs of the people of the city of London.


Finally, I want to encourage you to be faithful to share the good news of Jesus Christ. People are confused, worried, and some are even panicking. This is a great opportunity in this season to share about the hope we have in Christ, and how He is the true answer to all their needs, to all their worries, and for all their problems.


Thanks, and praying for you,


Staff and Elders

March 27

9:30AM Update


Another week has passed in this crisis since our last email blast to the congregation. Things continue to evolve, and everyone is reacting on a weekly, daily, and at times, hourly pace. Even when this season ends and people can go back to work, back to school, and back to church, life will likely look different. Sadly, some won’t have work to go back to, and our confidence as a nation will remain shaken, having seen how quickly and easily everything can shut down and collapse. Significant national and international events like this always change more and different things than most can realize or predict. 


We continue to seek the Lord, acknowledging His sovereign leadership. He is our hope and our confidence, even as we all do our part in our city, province, and country. We are seeking to regularly communicate with you all as best we can, through a daily blog on our site called, “Reflections”. We also have our video devotionals from our leaders three times a week, our Sunday sermon, and these weekly email updates.


We also have asked our ministry team leaders to reach out by phone to all their key leaders at least every other week to touch base, encourage, pray for, and find out if there are any needs. We have many volunteers willing and able to help any of you who can’t get out for necessities like groceries or prescription drugs, so please contact [email protected] if you need help.  


We are also setting up some virtual small groups, where you can call in at a specific day and time each week to connect with a small group leader couple, for personal interaction, encouragement, prayer, and just a relational shepherding touch. All our leaders and elders are also available by email and if needed, we can setup a call, so please contact us. Our emails are on our website under the Leadership menu. 


As of Tuesday March 24th, as per the order of our Premier, Doug Ford, our office is closed since churches were not listed as essential organizations or businesses. We had already told our staff to work from home starting Monday to try to support social distancing, so only had a handful in the office on Monday anyway, but now we have had to shut down the office and require all staff to work from home.  This limits some things we could do at the office. This also meant our filming of video devotionals and the weekly sermon were going to have to be done from home, but today we got permission from the local health unit to allow a handful of staff to come to the office to record our devotionals and sermon, providing we adhere to the recommended guidelines of social distancing, sanitizing, etc. This was an answer to prayer. 


The office phone line is being routed to our receptionist’s home, from 8-4pm Monday to Friday, so you can still get messages to staff, and they will get back to you. We are thankful to our elders, who have agreed to pay all staff, regardless of working at the office or not, or even if work is not available. We have a reserve account but are really hoping not to have to dip into that. We want to honour our commitment to staff and their families, as long as we are able. 


Speaking of finances, we are currently over $80,000 behind our year-to-date budget. Some of this is normal for the winter season, but this shutdown is hitting our finances hard. We are going in the hole an additional $10-$15,000 per week. We realize many of you are going on unemployment or losing your jobs, but for those who are able, especially if you have never given to our church or seldom do, would you help us out by giving regularly and generously in this season? You can give HERE or contact Karen ([email protected]) to get setup to give through online banking. Thank you!


We encourage you, if you are in a small group, to arrange for your group to connect via an online meeting tool such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or another tool. Your small group leader will have info about these options from one of our leaders, so please take the initiative and stay connected.  


Finally, we would urge you to check out our latest elder update on our website HERE. There’s lots of exciting news in this update that we think will be encouraging, especially during a time with lots that’s not so encouraging.


If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email me directly at [email protected] We love, miss, and are praying for you all, and can’t wait until we can be back together, in the same room worshipping as one family. Until then, let’s continue, in faith, to walk after Christ, seeking to trust in Him and honour Him in this very strange season.

March 19

4:00PM Update


What a difference a week makes! Last Thursday we were planning for our Sunday services with some adjustments. Obviously, we didn’t have Sunday services. That decision was made Friday at dinner time. Since then, our world has literally been changing daily – all our worlds. These are, as many are saying, unprecedented times!


But our God is still on His throne and He is still sovereign and ruling. He is not surprised by any of this, as He sits outside of time and space, not reacting to things, as we do, but directing and controlling all things. Why He does certain things or allows certain things, is not for us to know. We are the created, He is the Creator; We are finite, He is infinite; We are dependent, He is all-everything!


Our hope is in Him. Our eyes are on Him. Our faith is in His Word and character, and our desire is to walk in obedience to Him. God assured the Israelites in Isaiah 42:16, “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” He will most certainly do the same for us, His children.


With that in mind, we wanted to update you on a few things:


  • All our Sunday ministries and mid-week ministries remain cancelled indefinitely. We will review this weekly, but until the Director of Health in Ontario allows large group gatherings, we can not restart these ministries.
  • Our Small Groups are no longer holding face-to-face meetings. We have encouraged them to meet via technology (Skype, Zoom, or such), but not in person.
  • As of this coming Monday, many of our staff are being asked to work from home whenever possible. The office will remain open during business hours, and some will be in, but only a few, as we seek to follow the medical expert’s counsel.
  • The Market, our compassion ministry, was shut down this past weekend, but will be open this Sunday and Monday, Lord willing and going forward, but this will be reviewed weekly. We have revised how it operates, to ensure safety, but many are in serious need of food and help so we want to try to serve them.
  • We are looking at scheduling a weekly hour-long time where those who want to can call in and connect with some of our elders and staff, to ask questions directly, express concerns, or ask for prayer.
  • We also have our Monday, Wednesday, and Friday video devotionals called “Hope from the Word”, which are posted to the main page of our website.
  • Sunday morning at 8:00am, we will post some worship songs and a sermon from our new series called, “When Life Doesn’t Make Sense”. Please join Norm this Sunday to watch this sermon from John 18.
  • We are also working on a new daily blog, just for this crisis time, which our staff and elders will post to daily and often several times a day, encouragement, help, insights, and personal thoughts – not duplicating medical and social information, but from our hearts, the Word, and practical for our congregation.
  • Our prayer team remains reading and wanting to pray for you so please email your prayer needs to [email protected] and our prayer team will get your prayer request and pray for you.
  • We would like to help those in our congregation with practical needs. For instance, if you can’t get out to a store for some food or the drug store for something, we would like to have some volunteers do that for you. We are working out the details and hope to have his service in place next week. If you would like to volunteer to help those who are locked in for whatever reason, please let us know, or if you have a need this new team could help meet, contact us at [email protected].


We will send an email every Thursday during this crisis. If you don’t want to receive these updates, click on the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email. You are receiving this because you have attended a service at Redemption in the past six months.


Blessings and thanks for praying for us. It has been so encouraging to hear how many are praying. We are all doing well, but it is stressful and heavy for all of us. We also are praying for you as elders and staff, you are on our hearts, we miss you, and we are asking God’s provision, care, protection, and above all, we are praying that we would all practice what James 1:2-4 instructs us to do, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

March 17

4:00PM Update


I want to let you all know that our leadership has reviewed our decision last Friday to shut down all Redemption ministries during this time and we believe that was the correct decision and we are continuing with that plan.  


So Redemption services and Sunday ministries are cancelled until further notice and all mid-week ministries are also cancelled including Men’s, Women’s Youth, Young Adults, Orphan Care, and Local Missions. We will review this list of closures each Thursday and make a call for the coming weekend and next week. 


We are also recommending that our mixed small groups not meet together. This is a new recommendation. We are not mandating this, so if a group chooses to meet they can, but according to the requests of medical experts in Ontario and Canada, it would be best for all to practice social distancing and this can’t likely be done when a small group meets.  


The exception is our Market Ministry. Many in our community, who regularly have unique and severe needs, are finding they have even greater needs in this crisis. So for now, we are opening the Market for March 22nd and 23rd, and we will assess this on a weekly basis as well. The hope is that we can keep this open each weekend with regular hours on Sunday and Monday.  


We have made changes to how The Market will operate in light of the concerns. There will be a no-contact policy, and clients, who usually pick their products off the shelves, will not be able to touch products, but a volunteer will pick and bag their food. We will not serve any food or drinks at the Market, sanitizer will be on every table, and the doors, handles, and surfaces will be regularly sanitized. Finally, a request will be made to all present to keep a safe and recommended distance from all other people. The opening of the Market is dependent on Market volunteers being willing and able to serve, so a shortage may require us to shut it down, but Lord willing this can continue. 


Before the mandated restriction against gatherings of 50 or more, we had already shutdown our services and ministries out of concern for the well-being of all. I also wanted you to know of our commitment to this request for what they are calling, social distancing. We are committed to this and would ask each of you to commit to this as well, as much as is possible.  


I have been researching all sources pretty much non-stop since this all broke, seeking to stay current and informed, and in my research I came across this article that I want to share with you. To be honest, I am not a fan of this newspaper source, so hesitate to reference this, but this article and especially the animated graphics they use, I believe is immensely helpful to understand why we all need to be committed, now, to this social distancing. 



So I would encourage you to click on THIS LINK ( and read this article – read it and watch the simulations, as I believe it will help you with better understanding the need for social distancing.  


Our office will remain open during normal business hours, and our staff are all working. We have given staff, if they are concerned about coming into the office and being around others, the option to work from home when able. We have lots of sanitizer on hand and are following the other recommendations given by the health experts.  


Praying for you all, and we all thank you for your prayers for us. Lord willing, I hope to share a sermon from God’s Word Sunday morning as we look at John 18 together.  


Trusting in our Great God in this time of need,



March 14

7:30PM Update


I wanted to communicate a few thoughts and encouragement to you in light of this unprecedented time we find ourselves in. Things are uncertain, as everything with the response to the COVID-19 virus changes continually. However, we think we will need to stay shut down until Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, gives the okay for larger gatherings.We hope, if you are a part of a mixed small group, that your group is still able to meet and provide mutual encouragement and support. Unfortunately, we have had to shut down the Men’s, Women’s, Youth, and Young Adult ministries, as well as our Market, Gospel Outreach (GO) teams, and of course our Sunday services and all ministries that occur with our services.


It may be shocking and upsetting to experience all that is happening. Never have so many events, functions, leagues, and even businesses been shut down like this. The cost to our economy will clearly be in the billions, and most every person in Canada is affected in some way, some far more than others.


In light of this, as your pastor, I did want to share a few thoughts from God’s Word to hopefully, bring some comfort and encouragement to you.


Though there may be much grief for some with all the things that have been cancelled, we know that God is present, working in and through these things, and His steadfast love never ceases or even waivers (Psalm 31:7, Lamentations 3:32).


  • God will, in the midst of this very trial, provide a peace that passes understanding. He calls us not to be anxious, but in everything, let our requests (our needs) be made known to Him in prayer and He will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:4-7).
  • Let’s look for opportunities to bless and be the comfort of God to others, to be a witness. We have a power and ability beyond ourselves, so let’s point people to Jesus (Matthew 5:16). When we are weak, right in the middle of our weakness, we are strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).
  • Let’s uphold one another in prayer, especially praying for those who are most at risk, most isolated, or most overwhelmed (Psalm 9:9-10, Luke 4:18-19). Be praying for not just our political leaders, as they carry a lot of weight in making decisions, but also those who serve in our medical, research, disaster preparation, and relief agencies (Romans 13:1-4, 1 Timothy 2:1-4).


Remember beloved, Jesus taught in Matthew 6:34, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” Why do we, of all people, need not worry or fear, even when we don’t know what will happen? We don’t need to worry because, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). The Lord is with you. Nothing is greater than this – the Lord is with you! Praise God, we need not fear for God’s Spirit, God Himself is literally with us in every situation!


We have investigated doing a live stream and thus providing a service with just me and the worship team next Sunday morning and broadcasting it via the web. We are not sure this is necessary, or if we will be able to get it working by then. We will make that decision mid-week and let you know if we will have a live stream of a “service” next Sunday morning.


For this Sunday morning, and perhaps the following, if we stay shut down and do not have our own live stream service, we would recommend you tune in to one of these churches that already have a live stream service in place:


  • Hope Oakville (a GCC church) – (8:30am – Robbie Symons)
  • Hope Markham (a GCC church) – (9 & 11am – Jason Lock)
  • Grace Community Church (John MacArthur) – (10:30am Pacific, 1:30pm Eastern)
  • McLean Bible Church (David Platt) – (9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, or 5 pm)


We would encourage you and your loved ones to not neglect God’s Word, worship, and giving your time and focus Sunday morning to Him. Please take advantage of this God-ordained opportunity to have a private family worship time or tune in to a Biblical church’s live stream.


We are praying for you, and we would ask that you be praying for all our church family and beyond, as well as our church leaders.

March 13

7:30PM Update


We have made the decision to cancel all Redemption ministries (including Sunday services), effective immediately, and through to Thursday, March 19. We will make a decision on March 19 regarding weekend services on March 22.


This decision was made due to a recommendation from Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, to “avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada” and the “immediate suspension” of all gatherings over 250 people because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Please watch our website for updates, and be praying for all those impacted.


10:00AM Update


Due to our love and care for all, we are taking precautions and making some changes immediately to help offset potential risk of contamination as well as to help reduce anxiety and alleviate fears in relation to this virus.


The Middlesex-London Health Unit has the level of risk for residents of London and Middlesex County as “LOW”. We encourage you to follow any and all recommendations from


All our ministries are still proceeding as planned. We will update you if this changes, as this is an on-going situation.


In preparation for this Sunday we have implemented numerous changes. Thankfully we have had hand sanitizing units on our walls in various locations for a long time. Plus we have had standard cleaning and sanitizing practices in place for a long time as well. But we are adding to these the following for the foreseeable future:


  1. A no shaking hand policy in the building – no hugs, no fist bumps, just a ‘Hi’ and wave.
  2. We will not be passing the registers in our services. Instead, we will place a register sheet on each chair, or you can also use our mobile app. This information is very helpful in shepherding our congregation, so please be sure to do one or the other.
  3. We will not be passing the offering bags during the service. At the end of each service, volunteers will be at the doors, with the offering bags, please remember and be generous.
  4. If we do communion, we will only use the prepackaged communion element cups, so no passing of trays.
  5. We are adding extra sanitization and cleaning of kids toys and areas (although thankfully the number of children who have contracted this virus is very, very low – 1-2%), as well as extra sanitizing and cleaning of door handles, handrails, etc.
  6. Please use the automatic door opening buttons for our back door as that is our highest traffic area.
  7. IF you are not feeling well or have been sick in the past week (or anyone in your home), please do not attend any Redemption ministry until at least two weeks have passed.
  8. We are exploring the ability to live-stream our services quickly, so would could offer this as an option for those who cannot attend. We will do this if possible.


If you are unsure or anxious about attending any ministry events, we encourage you to stay home. If you are not feeling well (or someone in your home is not), or you have travelled to any of the infected countries recently, we ask you to not attend any of our ministries for at least two weeks.


Above all, we are praying for all impacted and would ask you to do the same.


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