FIRST NEWS | UPDATES + RESPONSE PLAN
Dear FBC Family,
How are you today? There are many things we want to share with you today. And so, here’s a breakdown of what we are sharing about in this email.
- Pastoral Care/Keeping in touch
- Connection Group
- First Worship
Before we go into the details, our Moderator, Claudia Wakeman, recorded a message for us!
As we all know, the BC health authorities have tightened up things even more this week and as a church, we want to make sure that we are being responsible by doing all we can to protect the vulnerable and help our healthcare system to cope. We will continue to suspend our physical Sunday worship gathering until further notice. We are not being fearful. We are being responsible and this is what love requires of us in this season.
As we discern what is best for the common good of our city and our church, we encourage Connection Groups or any other social/ministry groups to meet online and not in person. We believe social distancing is the right course of action. But at the same time, it is a difficult one for us as a church. We will miss meeting together in person more than ever in this difficult season, but we know that Jesus will be as present as ever in our lives. On that note, our pastoral team has planned out a care system where we can still stay connected as much as possible! More details below.
Updates & Communications
Starting next week, we will send out a mid-week First News update on Wednesday evenings and a worship service order on Sunday 9am called First Worship! Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram too!
PASTORAL CARE/KEEPING IN TOUCH
During this unprecedented time, it is even more important for us to care for one another. To that end, we’ve assigned Pastoral Team members to serve as Area Pastors.
Anthony Brown – North Shore
Justin Kim – West End, Downtown
Rebecca Thornber – West Point Grey, Kitsilano
Filipe Balieiro – West Point Grey, Kitsilano
Stuart Campbell – Cambie, South Granville, Oakridge, Kerrisdale
Danny Foster Fabiano – Coquitlam, Burnaby, Surrey
John Tsang – East Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond
Bob Swann – Shelter, Homeless friends, volunteers, and workers
See here to get to know our pastors a little more.
Area Pastors will work with the leaders of the Connection Groups/Small Groups based in their area. If you have any care needs, please contact your Connection Group leader, or Area Pastor. We are ready and happy to help and support you. You can also reach us by calling the church office or email us at .
We encourage Connection Groups to meet online and not in person for the time being. Here are a few ways to do this:
Phone call schedule:
If meeting online won’t work for your group, another option might be setting up a phone call schedule.
- Each week (or more frequently) assign each person in your Connection Group one other person to call.
- During the call check in on how each other is doing, talk about the sermon discussion questions, and pray together.
- You could change the pairs each week so each person gets the chance to talk with every other person in the group.
Contact your Area Pastor if you’d like help getting set up for online meetings. If you have found other creative ways of keeping in touch with your Connection Group members, let us know!
Each Sunday in First Worship we will send out a few discussion questions based on that week’s sermon. We encourage you to use these as you meet online.
What if you’re not in a Connection Group?
If you’re not currently in a Connection Group, contact your Area Pastor to get connected. Or why not find one or two other people in the church that you could meet online or call each week.
Our Sunday Worship will move to an interactive online format "First Worship" starting this week! We will send out the service order through this channel at 9am on Sunday. First Worship will include New Generations Ministry resources, notices, information updates, Bible study questions on the passage and sermon alongside links to videos of:
- Welcome and announcements
- Pastoral prayer
- Worship songs and hymns
- Scripture and Message
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be providing more resources and perhaps livestream elements to help us connect with one another. Area Pastors will keep in touch with elders and shut-ins, especially those with barriers accessing online resources.
We will continue serving the downtown homeless and urban poor community. They are amongst the most vulnerable people in our society at this time, lacking access to vital information, as well as many of the essential resources the rest of us are relying on. Having gathered information from sources such as UGM’s response and other churches and agencies working in the DTES, we have made the following decisions:
- Overnight shelter is suspended until further notice.
- Instead of having our guests dining together in the gym, we will give out packaged meals and coffee on Tuesday evenings.
- This information sheet, edited from materials kindly provided to us by Strathcona Vineyard Church, will be distributed as widely as possible.
- Volunteers will number 10 or less and come by invitation only.
It is possible that at some point the city may request us to stop serving food, but we will not do so until then. Everyone in the congregation will be encouraged to look for ways to serve their neighbours, especially those more vulnerable, if not in person, then by phone call, and certainly in prayer.
Giving is an integral part of our discipleship. Your gift will help the church maintain mission and ministry commitments in a time when these commitments are more important than ever. We encourage you to give as an act of worship through these reliable, easy and safe secure systems:
- Give Online through CanadaHelps
- Set up Pre-authorized Debit or Credit Payment by contacting our accountant, Teck-Ngee.
- Mail your cheques to First Baptist Church, 969 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y1.
- Other ways to give
God of love and mercy, who is ever present in the world, we come to you on this day with all of our concerns, all of our fears, all of our confusion, and our anxious thoughts of the unknown. We are seeing events unfold that are unlike any other that we have experienced in our lifetime. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we find comfort and assurance in knowing that you are the God who created the heavens and the earth and that we are in your good hands. Now, it is our turn to hear your Words that were repeated throughout scripture, “Do Not be afraid for I am with you.”
O God of mercy, we commend to You our needs, the needs of our loved ones, the needs of our neighbours. We pray for protection, safety, kindness and compassion to prevail. We pray for extra sensitivity and attentiveness to those around us who are vulnerable, in particular the elderly, the sick, and those with less means to care for themselves.
We pray for our national, provincial, and municipal leaders, and our medical officers who must make decisions quickly for the good of us all and to slow down the spread of the virus. We pray for doctors, nurses, care aids, LPN’s, and other health workers who are working under very stressful conditions; give them strength, protect them, and bless them as they serve those who are sick. We lift up to you the many people whose livelihoods are dramatically affected because of the halt of the economy. As we care for our own well-being, may we also extend this same vigilance to those around us. In these trying times, may we learn to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Amen.
Please visit the dedicated site about COVID-19 at BCCDC to learn more about the virus, assessment tools, and best practices during this season.