Dear brothers and sisters at Westside,
As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, we all face the pressure of fighting the battle. Even though we as pastoral staffs decided unanimously last Sunday afternoon to continue our Worship services, with the announcement of banning public gatherings of more than 50 people, we have no choice but to cancel our Sunday worship services, both CM and EM as of March 22. Perhaps some may still doubt if this is a necessary action for smaller group gathering. As responsible citizens, we do take the advice of the BC government seriously. Hopefully this can help slow down the spread of the disease and prevent community outbreak. We don’t want our country to run into situations like those in Europe. I know of several Chinese churches, some even smaller size than ours, have congregants or affiliates who are infected or in the process of being tested. Also be mindful of social distancing and personal hygiene. We need to take precautions and be prepared. But do not panic by hoarding excessive goods or food like people of this world.
At this crucial moment, it is a time of test for our faith and stewardship. Even though there is no Sunday corporate worship at this time, CM and EM worship service will be recorded and uploaded to Vimeo. We encourage all of us to be discipline and unite in worship at the same time even though we are apart. Please also set aside time to have moments of solitude and meditation as our pace may slow down. Also practice a lifestyle of worship as we know worship is not just on Sunday within a certain time frame. Though we are not gathering for worship or even as small groups, we can still live our body life. The church is not a building but God’s people. It is important that we don’t fight this battle alone. We may be isolated but not disconnected as a community. So let us be connected with one another through creative means. In the coming days, a Zoom account will be set up so that small groups can stay connected with one another online. At this point, church office will still be open until further notice. We have cancelled all regular events related to our community service and all non-essential gatherings in April are cancelled as well. If there is no absolute necessity, please try to keep social distancing and be advised not to gather at church in groups.
Let us all pray unceasingly for this crisis situation all over the world. Pray for God’s mercy and healing upon us. Pray for those who are suffering and going through trials of various sorts. Remember those who are in high risk professions. Perhaps there are some we know who need special grace. Pray for us pastoral and office staffs who need to adjust to all these upcoming changes for our worship and small groups. It is stressful and challenging when we encounter all these uncertainties. Yet it’s joyful and grateful for His grace is always enough. May all things work for the good of those who love Him. And may God’s name be glorified no matter under what situations.
(Psalms 29:10-11) The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the lord blesses his people with peace.
Rev. Dr. Gladys Lee Tsang
Westside Baptist Church