In a sincere attempt to respectfully work with our civil magistrates under their COVID-19 measures, while desiring to uphold our mandate from heaven to gather for worship and the ordinances, the elders/pastors of Trinity Bible Chapel have sent the following correspondence to all levels of government, signed by each elder/pastor on church letterhead.
April 23, 2020
RE: Worship Services and COVID-19
Prime Minister of Canada – Hon. Justin Trudeau and local MPs
Premier of Ontario – Hon. Doug Ford and local MPPs
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada – Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Medical Health Officer of Ontario – Dr. David Williams
Local Mayors of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph & Woolwich
Region of Waterloo Public Medical Health Officer – Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang
Region of Waterloo Health Managers
Dear Governing Authorities:
Please be assured that you have our sincere thanks, support and prayers during this unprecedented time of isolation due to COVID-19. You are indeed well aware of the huge social and financial implications that this crisis has on Canadian individuals and institutions.
As countries around the world are gradually lifting some of the more restrictive measures that have been put in place, we want to express to you how eager we are to work with you so that we, too, can gather in face to face worship services.
Experts agree, a quarantine can help to keep people from getting the virus. It can, however, also be detrimental to a person’s physical and mental health. Cabin fever and depression can become the unintended consequences of isolation. Solitary confinement, for example, is now deemed cruel and unusual by the federal government and medical professionals. We desperately need the company of others to sustain our well-being.
We concur with scientists who warn of a potential “echo-pandemic.” Social ills could be rising soon, such as; substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide and general despair.
We do not need to belabour these points. You are also keenly aware, that matters of personal faith are cherished and shared in community. Online communication helps but it is not a satisfactory substitute. This past Easter season was particularly difficult, as you can imagine. Furthermore, we have not been able to practice ordinances like baptism and partake in the Lord’s Supper/Communion.
Today, all informed people agree with our Lord’s words when He quoted a passage (Deuteronomy 8:3) which was about 1,500 years before He lived on earth: “Man shall not live by bread alone …” (Matthew 4:4).
We have observed how other essential services, such as grocery stores, have been operating during this time. They practice social-distancing, which we can also practice, and much more. We have a team of enthusiastic volunteers motivated by a high calling to serve and protect our congregation. Please see the attached addendum that outlines potential COVID-19 protocols for a worship service. We will gladly receive further guidelines and instructions from our local health authorities.
If grocery stores can remain open with certain protocols, worship services can do the same.
We continue to respect your important leadership role. Our operations remain compliant with your instructions, keeping ourselves, fellow citizens and neighbours safe. It is our desire that you can similarly respect our roles as leaders within our faith community, trusting us to practice physical distancing when being together for a worship service.
Please let us know at your earliest convenience if the measures in the addendum are sufficient to conduct our next worship service.
We continue to pray to the Creator, our Heavenly Father, being thankful for your commitment to protect us all and that He will give you wisdom and protect you in the days ahead.
TRINITY BIBLE CHAPEL
Jacob Reaume, Sr. Pastor
Will Schuurman, Associate Pastor
Randy Frey, Pastor of Christian Education
Chris Cattle, Elder Chairman
Jeff Bauman, Elder
Siva Gnanananthan, Elder, Secretary
Members of Parliament:
Bardish Chagger, Waterloo
Tim Louis, Kitchener-Conestoga
Raj Saini, Kitchener Centre
Marwan Tabbara, Kitchener South-Hespeler
Bryan May, Cambridge
Lloyd Longfield, Guelph
Dave Mackenzie, Oxford
John Nater, Perth-Wellington
Michael Chong, Wellington-Halton Hills
Members of Provincial Parliament:
Catherine Fife, Waterloo
Mike Harris, Kitchener-Conestoga
Amy Fee, Kitchener South-Hespeler
Belinda Karahalios, Cambridge
Mike Schreiner, Guelph
Ernie Hardeman, Oxford
Randy Pettapiece, Perth-Wellington
Ted Arnott, Wellington-Halton Hills
Dave Jaworsky, Waterloo
Berry Vrbanovic, Kitchener
Cam Guthrie, Guelph
Kathryn McGarry. Cambridge
Sandy Shantz, Woolwich Township
Julie Kalbfleisch, Manager, Information & Communications, Region of Waterloo Public Health
Aldo Franco, Manager, Health Protection & Investigation, Region of Waterloo Public Health