To our Avenue Church family,
After a very thorough, thoughtful and prayerful meeting last night, your Avenue Church servant leadership team (executive and staff) discerned that the difficult but wise and loving thing to do at this time would be to suspend all in-person gatherings. This includes both Sunday morning worship services and House Church gatherings.
This message is very different from the one sent only a few days ago saying that as a small church we will continue to meet to provide community and connection. The change comes not out of fear but out of love for our neighbours and a desire to be a witness to Christ’s love for the world through being proactive in recommending social distance. The decision is also timely as Premier Jason Kenny has just declared a state of health emergency in Alberta.
The general consensus for us in Alberta seems to be that right now is the critical time to slow the spread of the infection (or “flatten the curve” as has become the popular term) so that our health care infrastructure will not become overwhelmed, as has been the case in Italy. The desire is for the Avenue church family to play its role in protecting and loving the vulnerable of our society by doing what we can to “flatten the curve”.
As faithful followers of Jesus Christ we are called to “not give up meeting together” and to continue to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25). Through the gift of technology, we pray we will be able to continue to encourage each other, provide spiritual nourishment, and keep sense of community. The specifics of how we do this will require creativity and experimentation. We pray for patience and grace on your part as we experiment with different technologies.
As it stands now the plan is to live stream Sunday morning worship services through Facebook. We will also be providing access to Zoom for house church and prayer gatherings. We will monitor how well this works and make changes as the need arises.
Pastors Loretta and Aaron are committed to continuing to provide pastoral and spiritual care throughout the week. They are looking at ways to provide general support but don’t hesitate to contact them at any time for individual support and encouragement.
May the grace and hope of Christ be with us all as we navigate these turbulent times.
On behalf of your leadership team,
Pastors Aaron and Loretta
For the latest information from the Alberta Government Health Authority: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
For an excellent demonstration on the effectiveness of social distancing in “flattening the curve” (written from an American perspective but still very useful): https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/
For a touch of humour and a lot of truth see: