THE NEXT NORMAL
Updated January 4, 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 December 26th, 2020 the provincial government moved the Wellington-Duffering-Guelph public health unit into full lockdown Lockdown requires some obvious changes to our current plan:
Government-mandated limits to social gatherings:
- No indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
- Outdoor events or gatherings: 10 people
- Reunion Online: we are continuing to explore options for spaces that we might use to gather in and it looks like these plans may come to fruition in early 2021. Until that time, we’ll continue with our Reunion Online format. We recognize that lockdown makes Reunion Online ‘watch parties’ impossible. Until we can begin them again, or able to meet in-person, we encourage you to watch by yourself or with those in your immediate household. Plans are still in place to begin in-person services on Sunday afternoons at Crestwicke Baptist Church once the lockdown lifts.
- Missional community family time: in light of these new restrictions and recommendations, MC’s will need to suspend communal gatherings or move them entirely online. One consideration we would encourage you to make is to provide the option for those in your MC who live alone to pair with another family to lessen the chances of unhealthy isolation.
- DNA’s: these are very easy to facilitate online and we would encourage you to do so. Particularly as we head into colder months, this is a good option to pursue.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com to connect!