pandemic

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Why I’m not in a hurry to reopen church doors

(Image by seth0s/Pixabay)

Not long ago a group of churches and church leaders across the province signed a letter asking Ontario premier Doug Ford to allow churches to reopen at the beginning of the month of June. I did not sign the letter.

Despite the way some church leaders have tried to frame this issue, the restrictions we’ve been facing are not a matter of religious freedom. People of faith are not being unfairly targeted because of their religious beliefs or practices any more than are those who would like to go to the gym or watch a pro basketball game.

Death toll

The cover of the Sunday, May 24 issue of the New York Times.

I started Sunday morning in tears as I read through the heartbreaking list that blanketed the front page of the New York Times. To mark the deaths of (at that point) nearly 100,000 American citizens, the paper listed the names of a thousand of them. 

Menno leaders publish Holy Week letter

'This is a difficult time for many.' (Image by elizabethalliburton/Pixabay)

The executive directors of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) have published a letter of encouragement to constituents this week during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter—which you can read below—acknowledges the unusual circumstances and challenges surrounding this year’s Holy Week, while offering a message of hope and unity.

An open letter of gratitude

Robert and Irene Suderman. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/MennoniteChurchCanada)

I am—apparently—vulnerable. This for two reasons: I’m chronologically categorized (senior), and I’m locationally challenged (live in a senior’s community).

But I don’t feel vulnerable. My wife and I are both in excellent health, with robust energy, and significantly active in meaningful things. The social definition and my personal experience of who I am don’t match. 

MC Canada congregations offering online worship services

‘This is an unexpected opportunity to work at rebuilding our sense of peoplehood nationwide,’ says Doug Klassen, executive minister for MC Canada. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Mennonite Church Canada, in collaboration with its regional churches and their local congregations, will share worship services each week for congregations across our nationwide community of faith. 

‘Greater love has no one . . .’

The Rose Cottage, located in the historic ‘plague village’ of Eyam, England, where 250 of the village’s 350 residents died of the Black Plague between 1665 and 1666. (Photo by Michael Beckwith / bit.ly/cclicence2-0)

“Greater love has no one than to lay their life down for their friends,” said Jesus.

That’s an amazing thing for anyone to do. But what about a whole village laying down its life for people it doesn’t even know?

Mennonite organizations cancelling events, making adjustments in response to COVID-19

(Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

Mennonite churches and organizations across Canada are cancelling or postponing services and other events in response to COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus.

Here is a list (last updated at 12:45 p.m. EST on March 19), broken down by region. 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

MC Canada offers pandemic preparedness web resources for congregations

'Because the most common spread of the virus is through hand transmission, it is important to get into the habit of washing your hands often with soap and warm water.' (Image by JKerner/Pixabay)

As of March 11, the World Health Organization is now describing the global outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 as a pandemic. This move is not to incite fear but to motivate governments to ramp up their preparation efforts before the virus spreads more quickly in their own countries.

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