THE NEXT NORMAL
Updated March 29, 2021
We have developed a framework called “The Next Normal” which we will use to shape our church’s response to the evolving situation around COVID-19. The framework consists of three parts: the convictions that guide us, the process which we’ll apply these convictions to as government and health officials update regulations, and the plan as it currently stands.
You can find the current version of our “Next Normal” framework below.
The church is a family of missionary disciples (Mat. 28:18-20)
- Living out these identities is a challenge at this time, but we’ll strive to find creative new ways to live out these identities during the pandemic
God calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves (Luke 10:25-28) and to care for the vulnerable (James 1:27)
- This means we protect the health and safety of others by graciously submitting ourselves to the recommendations of health experts and the guidelines set out by our government. As such, COTC will not be participating in petitions for exceptions that allow the church to operate in a manner that does not conform with these guidelines
Jesus prayed for his church to be a unified people, bound together in love as a testament to a watching world (John 17:20-23)
- We know that there are wide-ranging opinions regarding what ‘reopening’ the church should look like. As we navigate a path forward, we will do all that we can to love each other well.
We all know that this situation is an ever-evolving one. As our government releases updates and changes to restrictions, we will process the information using the following process:
- Consulting with the experts in our midst
- Listening to the wisdom of Scripture and the voice of the Spirit
- Determining if the new information or change in restrictions merits an update to the current COTC Plan, or whether we ought to continue on our current course
On March 22, 2021 the provincial government moved the Wellington-Duffering-Guelph public health unit from Red-Control to Orange-Restrict under the COVID-19 Response Framework. This means some changes for how our church is able to gather:
Government-mandated limits to social gatherings:
- Limits for certain organized public events and social gatherings such as functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks, where physical distancing can be maintained:
- 10 people indoors
- 25 people outdoors
- Reunion Live: our bi-weekly church-wide gatherings are happening at Crestwicke Baptist Church at 3:30pm on Sunday afternoons. You must register for these services and can do so here. These gatherings emphasize musical worship and the ordinances of communion and baptism.
- Reunion Online: during our bi-weekly Reunions Online, we would encourage you to take in the service with others. This can happen by inviting others over for a gathering that is under the gathering limits and maintains social distancing (or includes masks where this is a challenge), or you can download the service from our Vimeo page and host a watch party over Zoom or another digital platform. These gatherings will emphasize teaching and discussion with those you’re watching with.
- Missional community family time: in light of these new restrictions and recommendations, many MC’s will be able to gather in homes (if everyone is comfortable) while all should be able to host gatherings outside.
- DNA’s: these are very easy to facilitate online and we would encourage you to do so, unless everyone is comfortable with gathering in person.
- Benevolence: we have dramatically increased our benevolence fund and commissioned two deacons to oversee the distribution of benevolence funds.
If you would like to have the opportunity to gather with others in-person, but aren’t a part of a missional community, reach out to us at email@example.com and we will try and find an opportunity for you to get connected with others.
It is very difficult to predict how and when the public health guidelines will change again, but this plan reflects the convictions and process outlined above. If you want to offer feedback on this plan we would welcome it; email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect!