COVID-19 Updates

June 25

3:00 PM Update

 

Hi everyone,

 

We have two weeks of in-person services under our belt, and I have to say, it has been wonderful to see so many of you again. I would encourage you, if you are able, if you are healthy, register to join us for one of our in-person services (register at www.rbclondon.ca). We certainly support those who feel they should stay home due to health concerns or other reasons, but we encourage you not to stay home because of ease. Come and join us!

 

We have our registration up for our next four weekends (July 5, 12, 19, and 26). We ask you please to initially choose just two of the four weekends to attend, leaving room for others. However, if by the Wednesday of each week there are seats left for that Sunday, you can feel free to register to join us on the weekend, as we would rather have a full house then empty seats (other than the ones required by social distancing).

 

Registration is mandatory, and it only takes a minute. It takes even less time if you log in to register! If you have registered for anything online at Redemption before, then you will have an account (if you don’t have an account, it only takes a minute to set one up). Logging in before registering makes it quick and easy, as the names of those in your household will already be there, so you do not have to type them in. This also helps us a lot, as our database will create a duplicate person for anyone who is already in our system but did not log in to register. So please sign in first, as this will help save our staff the work of having to delete the “new you” out of our database so we don’t have duplicates.

 

If you do not have the means to register for a service yourself, please contact our office during business hours at 519-668-1977, and one of our staff will register you.

 

Thank you for registering and thank you for arriving on time. This has helped our teams tremendously as we ensure we are abiding by all government regulations and avoiding long line-ups.

 

We have been doing our best as an elder and staff team to stay on top of the restrictions, understanding them, applying them, and abiding by them. For example, in the guidelines for places of worship put out by our local health unit, they permit “Sunday School” but have some restrictions. These restrictions were unclear, and so after several phone calls and emails, we were able to receive clarity on what is and is not permitted, and how to run Kids Ministry safely.

 

So, we are pleased to announce that starting July 5, we will be offering a reduced Kids Ministry program, for newborns up to age 5. Our Kids Ministry will look different – classroom sizes will be reduced, hand sanitizer will be used more frequently, our workers will be wearing masks, and we will be screening participants and volunteers for any signs of sickness (including taking the children’s temperature using a contactless thermometer prior to them entering). There also will not be a group worship time, as in the past, as this is not allowed. However, we are still excited to be able to offer this for our families with young children, so that parents are better able to take in our worship service. We are hoping by the time school starts back up in the fall, we can offer our full Kids Ministry again.

 

It is encouraging to see that we are able to take these small, slow steps towards normalcy. It would not be possible without the help of many volunteers. If you are willing to help, there are a variety of ways you can serve – from greeting, to sanitizing, to Kids Ministry. Contact us at [email protected] to get involved and help.

 

We are looking forward to seeing you again at an upcoming service.

 

Blessings,

 

Norm, on behalf of the elders

 

P.S. Are you a licensed tradesperson and willing to volunteer in your areas of skill? We have small projects, from time to time that come up with our building, and we would love to have a list of those skilled in the trades who could help as needed. Contact [email protected].

June 11

5:00 PM Update

 

Hi everyone,

 

We are back!

 

As we indicated in our update earlier this week, Premier Ford’s announcement on Monday shocked all of us when they allowed churches to resume services with 30% of our building capacity. Praise God!

 

Our team has been working and investigating over the past weeks to prepare, and then tirelessly this week, with very little notice, to be ready for a possible start this weekend. I am very thankful to be able to tell you that last night our elders approved a go for live, in-person services beginning this Sunday (while abiding by government regulations) on a three-week trial basis. So, after we learn from these three weeks, we will reassess continuing with live services on Sundays, and let you know about the weekends following these first three.

 

I want to give a special thanks to Dan Taylor and Andrew Oldham, who, in just three days, took us from a church without the ability to livestream our service Sunday morning to the world via the internet, to a fully tested and functional livestream ready for use. This was a huge undertaking, requiring many overtime hours, and we are beyond thankful for their expertise and work. Thanks to their efforts, those who cannot attend our services in person, can watch the entire service in true live fashion (at 9:00 or 11:15) from home. Thank you, Dan and Andrew! This full service will also be recorded and available later in the day for any others who cannot tune in at service time. This way they can also watch the entire service at a time that fits their own schedule.

 

While I am very excited to be able to have live services for the next three Sundays, as I’m sure you are as well, we also need to help manage all our expectations for what Sunday will be like. This is not a return to normal, as it will look and feel quite different from what we loved and were used to pre-COVID-19.

 

To start, since we are only permitted to have 30% of our facility capacity filled, only about 200 people can attend any service. Just FYI, we considered having some people meet in the gym or our larger room downstairs watching on a screen, but for a variety of reasons this is not a viable option.

 

We will have a 9:00am and 11:15am service as we did before, but you must pre-register to attend a service so we can ensure we follow the capacity limit from the government. You can register for a service at www.rbclondon.ca. If you do not register for a service, but just show up, you will, in all likelihood, not be able to get in, so please register.

 

Since we can only get a limited number in each service, we have set up this method for you to register online for joining one service over the next three weekends (two services offered each weekend). Therefore, when you register, you will have the choice between six services. You may only choose one of the six services to attend. If you try to register for multiple services, you will be notified, and your duplicate seat will be freed up for someone who has not yet attended or registered.

 

If you do not have the means to register for a service yourself, please contact our office during business hours at 519-668-1977, and one of our staff will assist you.

 

I know many of you are wondering about Kids Ministry. Unfortunately, we will not be offering Kids Ministry these first three weekends that we are open. We will re-assess this after this trial period and see if we can open it up after that (we are waiting to hear if the government will prohibit Kids Ministry). We will have packages available for children entering the service, of various worksheets and things for them to do.

 

Please hear this clearly from our elders and staff: IF you want to attend Redemption on any of these Sundays for a live service, we are ready for you and will joyfully welcome you. IF you are NOT able or willing to come, for any reason such as health concerns, waiting for a vaccine, or any reason at all, we also joyfully support you in your decision, believing that our livestream service feature on our website will be a blessing to you, and when you are comfortable or able, we look forward to seeing you in person. God is not bound by walls or buildings!

 

For those who do join us live on a Sunday, I want to make you aware of a few other things that will not be what you were used to, namely:

 

  • You will need to line up (with social distancing) to enter the building and asked to use hand sanitizer before entering.
  • We will post several health-related questions and would ask you to read them and if any are true, please do not attend as it will potentially put others at risk. You will also see this list of questions when you register for a service.
  • For those who have not registered online, they will have to provide their name and contact information upon entering the building. This is so that if, by chance, there is someone present in a service who has COVID-19, we can contact all who were there and let them know.
  • With no Kids Ministry, families are invited to sit together in our service.
  • Ushers will be seating you as you enter the Worship Centre to ensure social distancing. You can choose which general area of the Worship Centre you want to sit in but may not be able to choose a specific seat. Please follow all the directions of the ushers and please do not try to seat yourself. We must ensure we do all we can to follow the directions we are under as a church.
  • Just FYI – our worship service will have a different “feel” than normal with so many empty chairs and everyone spread out evenly around the room, but we are together and thanking God for this start-up.
  • We will not be supplying face masks; however, you will see some of our volunteers wearing a face mask. We encourage you to bring your own mask for your own health and the health of others.
  • Our sermon notes sheets will not be available. If you would like to take notes during the sermon, you will need to bring your own paper. We will also be removing the tissue boxes, bibles, and welcome card from under the chairs for sanitizing reasons.
  • We will not be passing the register or taking up an offering during the service. There is an offering box in the hallway by the main stairs, and we would encourage you to drop your offering off in the box if you give by cash or cheque.
  • After the first service ends, we will allow for some time for people to fellowship (please honour the 6’ requirement), but then will ask all to leave the building as we will need to sanitize the building to prepare for our second service.

We have already reached out to several of you to see if you can serve this Sunday. Detailed instructions and policies will be sent to you shortly. If you have not indicated to us that you can volunteer in some way, please contact [email protected] as we will need help in subsequent Sundays on various teams.

 

If you have any symptoms of sickness at all, please stay home. Please, out of care for those around you, do not risk it. Err on the side of caution, put others above yourself, and watch the livestream from home at live.rbclondon.ca.

 

We would also remind you, that if you do attend a service and subsequently contract the COVID-19 virus, please contact our office immediately.

 

Finally, it is very important, if you want your seat, to arrive on time on Sunday, allowing for time to wait in line and register. We are expecting and have planned to have some guests, who know nothing about registering for a service. They will be allowed to come in, as we have calculated an expected number of them into our capacity. If any of our Redemption congregants come, having misunderstood or completely missed the information about registering, we will ask you to wait until the start of the service, if there is still room within our government mandated capacity, we will allow you to join the service. Therefore, if you have registered, but arrive late and we have given your seat away and reached capacity, you will not be allowed to enter. So, the best thing is to ensure you arrive early!

 

Even though this is going to look very different than what we are used to, I am very thankful for a step in this direction, and looking forward to seeing, hopefully most of you, over the next three weeks.

 

Blessings,

 

Norm, on behalf of the elders

June 9

12:15 PM Update

 

Hi everyone,

 

I am guessing most of you have heard by now about Premier Ford’s announcement to take another step into Phase 2 of re-opening, and, surprise! – that includes places of worship being allowed to have services with 30% of capacity. This was the first indication he was ready to allow churches to meet.

 

Our staff have been working hard on re-opening plans for several weeks now, but it has been extremely difficult as the government did not give us any more information or indications than you all received. We receive our news, as you do, by reading papers and websites. We have not been privy to any information outside of that.

 

We were working on three options, as we have indicated in previous updates, assuming that the phased re-opening would mean a long time until we could do services on-site with enough to make it feasible. However, yesterday’s announcement informed us of what direction we need to go in between these three options – on-site services as soon as possible.

 

However, we are still waiting on the government for specific restrictions or requirements that will be in place for churches, assuming more will be communicated later this week. In addition, our local health unit has been given increased power by the Premier to make the final decision for our area. They have indicated that they will come out with their thoughts in a couple of days. Therefore, like everything in the past three months, we have our plans, and it could all be turned upside-down instantly!

 

In the meantime, we are scrambling to implement our first option of on-site services on Sundays. There were still many issues with this option to be investigated, equipment to be secured, and details to be worked out.

 

We want you to know that the government stipulation for churches to open is not more than “30% of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.” We do not know if this means 30% of our worship centre seating capacity, or if this includes our other rooms. In one way, it doesn’t matter as 30% of our 640 chairs is 192 and we had already calculated that keeping with the 6’ distancing rules around households in our worship centre, means we could not seat more than about 200 people per service, and more likely about 150-175 depending on how many singles, couples, or families are present.

 

This limit of 192 will mean we need to figure out a way to have people come on certain weekends to one of our two services, but not come every weekend. We are also working on a live simulcast of our services for those who cannot attend in person on any given weekend, due to capacity restrictions.

 

The reality is we do not know if we will be ready to have on-site services this Sunday, as we must ensure we follow all the mandated requirements to keep everyone safe. If we cannot go live this Sunday with in-person services, we will continue our simulated live services at 10am on Sunday. If we can start in-person services this Sunday, we will let you know, as well as how we will decide who can be a part of the 192 for each service.

 

We will send another update on Thursday of this week with specific details once we have an idea of next steps. Until then, please pray for wisdom, strength, and energy for our staff, as there are long days ahead, but praise God for this step back to normalcy!

 

Blessings,

 

Norm

May 28

6:30 PM Update

 

Greetings Redemption family,

 

Well, it seems we have skipped spring this year and summer is upon us! I hope you all have had a good week, and a chance to get outside and enjoy the weather. The following sections include some updates I wanted to give on a few areas.

 

Weekend Services

 

We continue to receive very positive feedback on our new “Church Online” gathering. It’s wonderful to be able to connect with so many of you in real-time. We are also incredibly thankful for Stephen’s preaching the last two weeks. He has very graciously made the trip from Cambridge to London to record these sermons for us. We thank God for bringing Stephen along, allowing me to have a couple weeks here and there without the pressure of sermon preparation, enabling me to focus on some other priorities, while also being blessed by Stephen’s preaching.

 

We have a request of all of you this weekend and next. If you get a chance, please take a photo of you and/or your family watching our sermon from home, and send the photo (landscape orientation, please) to Lisa at [email protected]. We are looking to include some of these in our pre-service loop, as we think it would just be great to see one another.

 

We are continuing to work through plans and procedures of what the next stage of re-opening may look like for us. Just to help manage all our expectations, as I know most of us are longing for the Sunday services we used to enjoy, it appears that it will be a very long time before we experience that again. Sadly, it appears, due primarily to the social distancing constraints which appear will be around for many more months, our services will be very limited, if doable at all.

 

Our best guess as of today, is that when our province allows churches to open up, it will be for smaller groups – perhaps starting with 50 for several months, then slowly increasing in size. They will also likely prohibit Kids ministry, add a lot of sanitizing requirements, etc. In addition, with the social distancing necessities, we have determined that the most we could seat in our worship centre, with this restriction, is around 175 people depending on the mix of singles, couples, and families. We have teams working on several different options for the months to come, including staying with on-line services, moving to a home church approach, or starting some on-site, but very restricted attendance in our Sunday services. We will keep you informed as plans progress, but please know that our ability to plan and start-up is very dependent on our government and what and when they decide are next steps in opening things up.

 

Annual General Meeting

 

If you are a Redemption Member (meaning you have applied and been accepted into membership), you would have received an email with official notice of our Annual General Meeting on June 14, and the information to join the online meeting. If you did not get this, please contact [email protected].

 

Our Prayers for You

 

We are seeking to pray for all of you and to be available to help with any needs you may have. Please let us know if there are some practical ways we can help you or your family in this special season. We recognize many are laid off, or have lost jobs, while others have health concerns or other struggles. We are praying for those who have special health needs, requiring treatments, testing, surgeries, etc. all of which have been delayed or cancelled. We are also praying for all those who are in regular contact with the public and thus at greater risk.

 

Financial Update

 

Our giving has dropped some the last few weeks, to between $24,000 – $27,000 to a weekly (reduced) budget of $31,000. There is normally a fluctuation in our giving week to week, with the first week of the month typically being higher. However three consecutive weeks of these lower numbers is a bit of a concern. We are very thankful to God for some great weeks we had in April.

 

If you call Redemption your home church and are not already giving regularly, we encourage you to start. It’s important as Christ-followers that we examine our priorities and put Him first in all areas. We believe this also includes regular giving to your local church, where you are involved and being discipled.

 

If you would like to sign up for giving through online banking, please email [email protected].

 

Market Donations

 

Remember that our Market is still open and serving guests on Sundays and Mondays. Donations can be dropped off Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Our back door is locked, so come in off the front/side delivery door (you can park in the driveway at the front). You can check our Facebook to see specifically what they need, or email [email protected] to ask.

 

Roof Update

 

Our roof is complete! We are thankful that we now have an effective canopy to keep all the weather outside of our building. The new roof has a 35 year life span with a 25 year warranty. Special thanks to Brad Adamache, our Facility Manager for some great research work on options and the best alternative, including quotes from many companies. We are also grateful for the help Jon Sodeman provided, who oversaw the actual project once it started. By God’s grace we are able to pay cash for this entire project, due to funds that were saved up for capital needs.

 

Thank you for your continued support of Redemption!

 

Blessings,

 

Norm

 

Need help with some practical needs? Contact [email protected] or call our office at 519-668-1977 as we have a team of ready and willing helpers.

 

Have a prayer request? You can submit it to our team of faithful prayer warriors at www.rbclondon.ca/prayer-request/.

May 14

2:30 PM Update

 

Good afternoon Redemption,

 

It’s been two weeks since our last general update, and I hope you are all doing well. I posted another video update last week to our website. If you haven’t had a chance to view it, I would encourage you to take a look.

 

Weekend Services

 

We had our first “Church Online” service this past weekend and were thrilled with how well it went. We had about 250 households join, which was wonderful to see. It was such a joy to join together, and I don’t know about you, but to me, it was starting to feel more like a normal service. We are so thankful for the technology that allows us to gather together this way. If you missed it, plan to join us this weekend at live.rbclondon.ca. The service starts at 10:00am, but you can join as early as 9:45am. This weekend, we will be picking up our series in Philippians. If you can’t make the 10:00am service time together, the worship and sermon will be posted to our website around 11:00am for you to watch on your own.

Although it looks like it may be several more weeks, even months, before we are permitted to have at least 200 – 300 together in the building, we are continuing to work through plans and procedures of what this might look like for us when we can hold services in our building.

 

Annual General Meeting

 

If you are a Redemption Member (meaning you have applied and been accepted into membership), you would have received an email back in April about our Annual General Meeting on June 14th at 6:00pm. An official meeting notice will be coming, but we wanted to let you know that we will be proceeding with this date, as planned. We may need to change to a virtual meeting via teleconference or a web meeting, but we will keep you informed as the date gets closer. As a corporation in the province of Ontario, this meeting is a requirement of the government.

 

Financial Update

 

We are very thankful to God for how He has continued to provide financially through all of you. Our current YTD giving is $638,520, to a (revised) budget of $637,720. This is based on a weekly need of $31,000. The last two weeks we have received $64,183 and $27,078 respectively – praise God!

 

Market Donations

 

Our Market is still open and serving guests on Sundays and Mondays. However, they are hurting for donations for the shelves, which is understandable with not having weekend services. We have decided to open the building Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm for Market donations to be dropped off. If you are able to pick up some extra items while you are out shopping and can drop them off at the front door (west side where the small patio is) of the church Monday to Friday, it would be a great help to our Market! You can check our Facebook to see specifically what they need, or email [email protected] to ask.

 

Roof Update

 

Our roof work is well under way and we are hoping it will be completed before our next update. Once the roof is completed, we will be looking for a handful of people to help with some work inside the building. If you are interested in lending a hand, please email [email protected], as we have to repair several sections due to water damage. When we have some help, we will start the repairs when the government allows this sort of work and will remember the requirements to keep all involved safe.

 

Thank you for your continued support of Redemption!

 

Blessings,

 

Norm

 

Need help with some practical needs? Contact [email protected] or call our office at 519-668-1977 as we have a team of ready and willing helpers.

 

Have a prayer request? You can submit it to our team of faithful prayer warriors at www.rbclondon.ca/prayer-request/.

May 8

April 30

4:00 PM Update

 

Good afternoon Redemption,

 

I hope you were able to check out our video update that was posted last week on our website. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it, please do so, as it contains a lot of important updates.

 

Communications Update

 

Our staff, elders, and a few volunteers have been working this week on calling all of you, and we will hopefully be finishing up our calls by the middle of next week. These calls are to check in and see how you are doing. If you have signed our register regularly since the fall, you should receive a call by the middle of next week. If you do not, and would like a call, or if there is someone you would like us to call and check in on, please email [email protected].  In total, there will be almost 700 calls made. Such a joy to connect with our church family.

I want to thank you for your encouragement. We have received many kind emails, and while the intention of these calls was to encourage and pray for you, so many of you were encouraging and praying for us! So thank you!

We are continuing to keep up our communications through our devotionals (Hope from the Word) on our website, however, starting next week, these will be posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays (FYI – all new devotionals are under 6 minutes). We are also continuing with our “Reflections” blog posts, which starting next week will be normally be posted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Our hope and prayer is that these means of communication will provide a way to encourage and keep in contact with all of you.

Also, just a reminder that even though we are not meeting together, our prayer team is still getting your prayer requests. If there is anything you would like prayer for, you can submit your prayer request at www.rbclondon.ca/prayer-request/.

 

Weekend Services

 

Our elders and staff have been discussing what a possible start-up will look like once restrictions are lifted. We are working on plans for a two-staged approach. The first stage will include some changes to our online Sunday services which we hope will build a greater sense of community among us all, as we join together for worship and time in the Word. This will hopefully be starting next weekend and we think may still be our only means of doing Sunday services for several months (depending on government decisions).

The second stage will occur when we are permitted to have at least 200 – 300 people in the building. Provided we can meet all our governments requirements, we will resume live services, however, we will need to divide our congregation into groups, and each group will likely be able to attend 1 in 3, or 1 in 4 services in person, and the other weeks, they will need to watch from home through live-streaming.  This is where the actual service, as it is happening, will be broadcast on the internet so you can follow from home. We will also record these, so if you miss it live, you can watch it later. There are still many details to be worked on with both phases and a lot depends on how the government opens things back up, but this is our current thinking and planning.

 

Financial Update

 

We are very thankful to God for how He has continued to provide financially through all of you. Our total giving last week was just over $49,000. This included three larger, likely one-time gifts, totaling $20,000. Praise God for His continued provision, through all of you!

 

Roof Update

 

In the video update posted last week, I also gave an update on our roof project. I would encourage you to watch that update at https://www.rbclondon.ca/covid-19-virus/ as we are needing to replace much of our roof, due to leaks. Thankfully, we have been saving for this and so have the means to pay for it; again another kindness of the Lord.

Thank you for your continued support of Redemption!

Blessings,

Norm

Need help with some practical needs? Contact [email protected] or call our office at 519-668-1977.

April 24

April 16

5:30 PM Update

 

Good afternoon Redemption,

 

I wanted to start this update with a huge thank you to our church family for this past weekend. There are many reasons I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the many volunteers and musicians who were a part of putting our Easter service videos together. Wasn’t it great to see and hear them? So encouraging. I also am thankful to all who participated in our readings for both services. I love hearing God’s Word read in a wide variety of languages – thanks!

 

I am thankful for Dan Taylor and Ian McAlpine who did the filming for our Easter sermons. And no, those were not green screens behind me, but actual woods 🙂 I’m thankful for Steve Toombs, Andrew Oldham, and Danielle Van Gelderen for all the work they put into our Easter services. I’m thankful for all of you – thank you for the many notes of encouragement and appreciation we all received. It is such a joy to hear how God was at work this Easter, likely the strangest one we have all had!

 

But mostly, I’m thankful to God for sending His son to die our death, to pay our price, to redeem us from our sin and condemnation! Please continue to pray for many who heard the gospel, as we have heard of some wonderful stories. Pray that God would open eyes and grant faith to believe! And as the Easter season is behind us, I pray the gospel will never grow old in our own hearts! I would encourage all of us to be preaching the gospel to ourselves daily.

 

Weekend Services

 

This Sunday, we are going back to the Holy Spirit series that we started before the shutdown. We thought it was time to get back to our normal teaching plan. Our sermon this weekend will be in Romans 8:12-17, The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the third in our six-week Holy Spirit series. I am excited to get back into this series as we learn together about the third Person of the Trinity.

 

Just FYI – we have begun talking about what a start-up might look like, when restrictions are lifted, and we can start to meet again. Based on the chatter coming from our Provincial and Federal governments, we are fully expecting a gradual loosening of restrictions, not an immediate return to normal. Therefore, we are beginning to brainstorm and make plans as to what this might look like as we do not believe we would be allowed to have a full building and thus our entire congregation here in two services on a Sunday. As we get further into this planning, we will share some of what we think this may look like, but for now we appreciate your prayers for wisdom.

 

Staff Update

 

Our staff are working from home, but they are working full hours, other than our custodial staff who obviously need to be in the building to get their job done, although David comes in multiple days to ensure things in the building are kept up. I wanted to assure you our staff are working hard during this strange season. Those who have less on their plates due to ministries being shut down are picking up extra tasks, special shepherding work during this lockdown, starting to work on fall plans, or catching up on a long “to do” list of tasks and projects that need attention. Many of our staff are working more hours than before the lockdown due to the extra demands of this unique crisis. I want to assure you, all are thankful for continued pay, but also are working hard, putting in full hours. These are busy days with lots of extra stress for all of us, but we are encouraged by your prayers and care for us as a staff and by God’s gracious provision and enablement.

 

Financial Update

 

Thank you for your continued support of Redemption. We realize many of you have increased financial pressure and stress, and we want you to know we are praying for those of you who are laid off, have reduced income or no income, or are wondering if you will have a job to go back to. We want you to know, if you are in a place of financial pressure due to this crisis, we understand your need to focus your finances on your personal expenses and needs. We have been and continue to pray for God’s provision and His peace in your life and family in this time of turmoil and uncertainty!

 

For those who are able, we thank you for your continued financial support of Redemption. Just to be accountable and transparent, this past week we received $27,058 in donations, to our new weekly (after budget cuts) need of $30,954. We are thankful to God for you all and your continued giving toward the work of God among us. To start giving to Redemption, please contact [email protected].

 

Resources

 

Just a reminder that we have many online resources available to you and your family during this time.

 

Kids Bible Study Material

 

If you are a parent with children in our Kids Ministry, I would encourage you, if you haven’t already, to access the materials Julie has been sending out. We believe this will be very beneficial to your children, while they are missing our Kids Ministry.

 

Hope from the Word Devotionals & Reflections Blog

 

If you’re not already tuning in to our devotionals and our blog, please check them out on our website, as one of our leadership share some encouragement and thoughts in this season of change. Our video devotionals are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and all new videos are less than 6 minutes with encouragements from God’s Word. There are several daily blog posts as well.

 

Some Online Resources to Encourage and Grow Your Heart

 

There are many wonderful audio and video teaching segments on a trustworthy Biblical Counselling website from ACBC ministry – biblicalcounseling.com/pandemic-resources/. We would encourage you to listen to many of these teachings on anxiety, fear, despair, depression, etc. Take advantage of these free resources to help “counsel” yourself from God’s Word.

 

Answers in Genesis is a wonderful, Biblical, and trustworthy ministry has many free resources online, to read, watch, or listen to. Check out answersingenesis.org, or for more technical and detailed resources some of you may want to engage with their professional, peer-reviewed journal – Answers Research Journal (ARJ) at answersingenesis.org/answers/research-journal/. Some of your kids may love their website aimed to help kids not only learn about creation, but about God and salvation – answersingenesis.org/kids/.

 

Virtual Small Group

 

For those of you not connected to one of our men’s, women’s, youth, young adults, or mixed small groups, we are offering a one-off special small group each week. We had our first virtual group this past Tuesday evening and had a wonderful time in fellowship and mutual encouragement! Each of these are led by an elder and his wife, and are a time where you can be encouraged from God’s Word, share what you are going through in this unique season, ask any questions, and be prayed for as together there is mutual encouragement and care. Our next session is Tuesday April 21st at 7:00pm. Please email Karen at [email protected] to sign up for this hour long virtual small group, and receive the link to join.

 

Phone Calls

 

Our leadership (elders and staff) are going to, Lord willing, seek to call all our church congregation (those who are in our church database and have attended for at least five Sundays since our fall ministry began) over the next two to three weeks. We want to call to say hi, to encourage you that you are loved, find out if you have any needs that we as a church can help with, and just to have a personal touch point. We miss all of you and want to reach out and express our love and care. This will be about 600 homes to call, but we are excited, as the Lord would allow, to have a personal conversation with each of our congregants as we miss you all!

 

We are praying for you and here to help if you have needs (please contact us using the email address below) and thanking you for your prayers and love for us! God is at work, let’s choose, by faith, to thank Him – “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

 

Blessings,

 

Norm

 

Need help with some practical needs? Contact [email protected] or call our office at 519-668-1977

April 9

3:30 PM Update

 

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” – 1 Peter 3:18

 

Easter is upon us, and it’s certainly a different one this year. For many in our city, it will be no different than any other weekend, or any other Easter weekend. For many church-goers and believers, there may be temptation for this weekend to be like any of the previous few weekends – relaxing at home, maybe spending a few minutes Sunday morning reading the Bible, but enjoying the time to relax and work on house projects or watching TV, etc.

 

I would urge you not to let this weekend go by without allowing the truth of Good Friday and Easter Sunday to permeate your heart and soul. Whether you have been a Christ-follower for 60 years, or are a new believer, or are still trying to figure this out, the message of Easter applies to all, and never gets old. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, but God.

 

Hope has a name – Jesus!

 

I would encourage all of you to join us for our online Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. Both will be available online at 8:00am on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Please be sure to watch through the entire videos – as we have combined the worship and preaching, but we also have some very special elements planned for both, trying to do something a little extra and special for these unique services.  We are praying they will be very impactful in drawing our eyes upward, while all in our homes for Easter.

 

We would encourage you to invite friends or family who may not be a part of a church to watch as well on Friday and Sunday. These are normally great services to bring guests to, especially if they do not know Christ. Both services have a gospel focus, and we hear from many, many sources right now that this season, with the daily death counts, the loss of all that many put their trust in, and the uncertainty and fear of tomorrow is creating a huge open door for the gospel – praise God!

 

We are planning to have our first Zoom “virtual small group” next week for any of you who want to join a call with one of our elders and his wife. We are thinking about doing one of these every week (at varying times), with a different elder/wife couple each week. We are trying one, and perhaps a couple more to see if there is a need or not for this. Many of you are already connected with your small group via our Mixed Small Group ministry, Men’s, Women’s, YA’s or a youth small group. However, if you have a need to talk with one of our leaders, to mutually encourage one another, etc., please consider joining this first Zoom virtual small group. It will be on Tuesday April 14that 7:00pm. To join this call, please contact Karen at [email protected] in advance so we can have an idea on the numbers.

 

I want to share some praise and prayer regarding our finances.

 

We have been asking you to remember our church in your giving as our offering the first two weeks of the shutdown was around $20,000 each week, yet our budget need was $34,000. If this continued, we calculated that we would be at a deficit of about $260,000 by the end of June.

 

With the loss of Sunday collections, we are very dependent on our online method of giving. Thankfully, we have seen many of our congregants sign up for online giving over the past weeks – thank you! Some of you have mailed or dropped donations off at the church – thank you to you as well!

 

We are aware that even when this lockdown ends, many will still be out of work due to businesses closing, job and pay losses, etc. This shutdown is likely going to have a significant economic impact on our country and the world. Therefore, we recognized we needed to take a number of steps in light of this.

 

We asked that those of you who currently give, to consider if you are able to give more, or if you have not been giving, to consider starting to donate to the church. As a result, the past two weeks our offerings have jumped to about $46,000 each week! This is a tremendous blessing as this is over double of what the previous two weeks were. We don’t assume this will be the new normal, but thank you for your generous response!

 

Our staff have also worked hard to look at areas where we could reduce our 2020 budget, without impacting core ministries. They recommended to our elders that we can cut an immediate $186,000 out of our 2020 budget. This represents just over a 10% reduction. We have frozen another $135,000 in our budget, and sometime in June we will decide if this needs to be cut as well. If so, that brings our total reduction to 17.9% of our budget, with both rounds of cuts. As of this week, we are $50,000 behind the new budget number, which is concerning, but not nearly as much as it was two weeks ago, praise God.

 

With this immediate budget cut, our weekly need has dropped from $34,532 to $30,954. Please pray with us and continue to give generously to our ministry so we could, Lord willing, see at least $31,000 come in each week in donations.

 

We are thankful as well that we don’t foresee a need to lay off staff or reduce staff salaries. This is reviewed weekly, but we believe we can fulfill all our commitments to our staff going forward. In addition, we have a reserve fund we have saved up over the years, and it is our desire not to have to touch this as we have no idea of what emergencies may come later this year or in next few years, so it is there if things get worse, but we are doing all we can to not have to use any of that at this time.

 

 

Please continue to be praying for all the front-line workers dealing with this virus, as well as those who are sick, those with anxiety over this, and those at home, but with a loss of income. This has impacted many in our congregation in varying ways. We are seeking to care for and shepherd all in our congregation using a variety of videos, blogs, emails, weekend services, virtual small groups, etc. Our Market also continues to stay open on Sundays and Mondays to help those in need, and we have a team of volunteers willing to help any of you pick up needed essentials if you can’t get out to get them yourself. Above all, let’s be regularly praying for one another and for all those in need in this season.

 

We love you all and are eagerly anticipating celebrating Easter with you this weekend, from our homes, knowing that we are one in Christ. I would like to end this email with the greatest words ever heard on planet earth, words which have encouraged me this week as I preached our Good Friday and Easter Sunday sermons. “He is not here, but has risen!”

 

Blessings,

Norm

 

Need help with some practical needs? Contact [email protected] or call our office at 519-668-1977

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 https://discoverheritage.ca/academics/summer/ 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 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/?fbclid=IwAR2DCMJ6sBOuert74MI_m70kflaQtbLG9ilNvnEEZOucWlmXyhv9jlj1cLA&utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook) 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,

 

Norm 

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) – https://www.youtube.com/c/HopeBibleChurchOakville/live (8:30am – Robbie Symons)
  • Hope Markham (a GCC church) – http://live.hopemarkham.ca (9 & 11am – Jason Lock)
  • Grace Community Church (John MacArthur) – https://www.gracechurch.org/Live (10:30am Pacific, 1:30pm Eastern)
  • McLean Bible Church (David Platt) – https://mcleanbible.org/live/ (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 https://www.healthunit.com/news/novel-coronavirus.

 

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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