Building a Community to Reach a Community

Previous Updates

June 25, 2020 (Revised July 28, 2020)

As a church, we have willingly followed the direction of the Government of Alberta and the recommendations of the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health. Back in May, we entered Phase 1 of our Ministry Relaunch which opened the door for Mid-Week gatherings to resume. In the weeks since we began this phase, we have seen great success with these gatherings and appreciate everyone's willingness to follow the various guidelines and restrictions.

Earlier this month, the province loosened the restrictions placed on places of worship and opened the door for worship services to resume (adhering to a variety of safe practices). After prayerful deliberation and engagement between different layers of ZBCC leadership, we have laid a path forward into Phase 2 of our ministry relaunch: resuming Sunday Services. Below is an outline of our timeline. Please note that all this path is fluid and is subject to alteration.

Step 1: Preparation (Immediate)
Starting immediately, we are taking steps to prepare ourselves for in-person gatherings. Preparations include: preparing the facility, training volunteers and congregants, and hearing from the congregation.
Over the coming weeks, we will release a variety of information to help our congregation prepare. One source of information to help with our preparation are videos available here.
If you are interested in volunteering, we have the following training times scheduled:
Tuesday, July 28 - 7 pm or 8 pm
Tuesday, August 4 - 6 pm or 7 pm
Thursday, August 6 - 4 pm or 5 pm
Friday, August 7 - 1 pm, 2 pm, or 3 pm 
Click here to sign up for a training session.

Step 2: Trial (August)
Beginning on Sunday, August 9, we will attempt single services with restrictions on how many people can attend. Congregants will be strongly recommended to wear masks and be required to refrain from singing, maintain physical distance, and submit to screening. The trial run will be for three weeks on August 9, 16, and 23. If you would like to attend in person on these Sundays, please RSVP here.

Step 3: Relaunch (September / October)
During this step, we will commit to gathering regularly. There are still numerous questions that will need to be answered, including Will 9:30 ministries resume? Will the Toddler Room be open? Will the vulnerable be encouraged to attend? The previous steps and continually evolving GOA guidelines will inform these decisions.

Over the next few months, we will communicate the details of Phase 2 through the weekly emails, church website, and over the Sunday Service Livestream. Please check these sources for the most up-to-date information or contact the church office.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me ([email protected]).

Blessings,
Thomas Verboom
Associate Pastor
Zion Baptist Community Church


May 14, 2020

This past week, the Government of Alberta released guidelines for Stage 1 of the province's reopening. As part of this plan, there are provisions for churches and other places of worship to reopen. The province continues to encourage that churches meet remotely, but they have opened the door for such gatherings.

However, there are significant restrictions that would impact us and the way we usually do church together. Beyond the physical distancing and health practices adopted by the rest of society, there are restrictions on the number of people who can gather (50); interactions between members of different households; congregational singing; and support ministry like the Toddler Room.

The Ministry Council and the Church Staff are working together to discern how we will move forward as a congregation. As our church leaders prayerfully discern how we will move forward, we will continue to operate as we have with a LiveStream service and a prohibition on in-person mid-week gatherings.

We invite you to join us in prayer as we seek to faithfully walk with God through a scenario that is foreign to us.

If you have any questions about the reopening plan, please reach out to me ([email protected]).

Blessings,
Thomas Verboom
Associate Pastor
Zion Baptist Community Church


March 24, 2020

Please note: In-person Worship Services have been suspended until further notice and will be online only.

These are times unlike any that we have faced in a generation at least. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which seemed like a distant concern just a few weeks ago, has now impacted virtually every part of our lives. I wonder how our hearts are doing in all of this? Is yours filled mostly with anxiety? Confusion? Frustration? Anger? Despair? It’s in times like this that we most need to draw near to our brothers and sisters in faith, and yet it’s our very love and concern for one another that motivates us to observe calls for social distancing and self-isolation.

But we are not abandoned. Our God is a refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble (Ps 46), who promises to never leave nor forsake His own (Deut 31:6). And we, as His Spirit-filled people (Jn 14:16), remain committed to one another and eager to deepen our love (Rom 12:9-18). As fear and trepidation grip the world around us, and as circumstances shift each day, we cling to the unchanging One together.

The Ministry Council has unanimously agreed to adapt the way that we gather until future notice; instead of coming together in-person for worship services, we will worship online only via our church livestream (zbcc.ca/sermons/), Sundays at 10:45am. You can view recorded worship services through our website any time, but we encourage you to continue to set aside the Lord’s day to fix your eyes on Him as we read, sing, pray and hear God’s Word together at a distance. If you do not have any way to view the services online, please call the church office (780-433-8756), and we would be happy to do everything possible to make other arrangements for you. Please note that, in the event that we are unable to staff the church office, calls and messages may not be returned promptly.

At this time, smaller gatherings (e.g. Community Groups, youth group, etc.) are permitted at the discretion of ministry leaders, with the expectation that every possible step is taken to mitigate risk to oneself and others. We do request that you check this page on the church website and government guidelines (alberta.ca/ COVID19) regularly, and that you self-assess and refrain from attending any kind of gathering if any of the following is true for you:

  • You have recently travelled outside of Canada.
  • You or someone you live with or care for is a part of the high-risk population.
  • You or someone you live with have any signs of illness.
Your leaders, including pastoral and administrative staff, the Ministry Council, and Ministry Coordinators are staying in regular contact with one another to pray and to ensure that we are doing everything we can to plan for whatever the next weeks and months might bring, and to provide support for this church body and beyond. Expect to be contacted about our plan to create a network for care, made up of small clusters of individuals and families living near one another, who can check in, help one another as each is able, and to ensure that none are forgotten.

We encourage you to remain connected to your church family during these unusual times, in at least a few different ways:
  • Care. We will all need spiritual, emotional and practical care, and this is an important time to love our neighbours, both inside and outside of the church. Something as simple as a phone call is a great way to love others who might otherwise be completely alone. Do you have a neighbour who is vulnerable for whom you can get groceries or do errands? We can show Christ’s love by how we serve one another and our city in this season.
  • Give. We recognize that giving to the church is not an easy choice in times of uncertainty and acknowledge that the rapidly changing economic environment will impact the ability to give for many people going forward. However, we have had questions about how to continue to give offerings, and are encouraged by this desire for the Zion community to continue to support the church in difficult days. The church website (zbcc.ca/giving/) has recently been updated to clarify options for giving online and by mail. If you have any questions, please contact our Treasurer, Jeremy Fuellbrandt ([email protected]) or the church office ([email protected], 780-433-8756).
  • Pray. Please pray for our unity as we deal with isolation, for wisdom for your leaders, strength and protection for health care workers, and for the vulnerable among us. Most of all, pray that God would be honoured and treasured in this time of crisis. Prayer requests can be shared directly to any member of the pastoral staff (zbcc.ca/who-we-are/our-staff/) or by emailing: [email protected].

Our present circumstances may be unprecedented in recent memory, but it’s not the first time that the Church has been challenged, nor is it the first time that the Church has been scattered. Indeed, it’s been in times of trial, confusion and uncertainty that the Gospel has often borne the most visible and sweetest fruit. As you pray for health, safety and provision, pray also that Christ’s rule and reign would expand in these days; that the love of God, our hope in Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit is made evident by our joyful witness.

Grace be with you all.
Nick Thiessen
Senior Pastor
Zion Baptist Community Church


March 14, 2020

The Ministry Council has unanimously agreed to suspend gathering for Sunday morning worship this Sunday (March 15) and next (March 22). Worship services will be online only. We will monitor the situation closely via reputable sources and will re-evaluate the situation based on the most reliable current info the week of March 23.

In place of an in-person gathering, we plan to share music, prayer and a message from God's Word with you via our church livestream. We encourage you to prepare and gather your household to join us live at 10:45 am and join us by singing, and praying and opening your Bible to hear from our Rock and our Redeemer in times that can feel quite uncertain.

Corporate worship is a big deal. We praise God, and he forms us through it. We love the rhythm of gathering to proclaim God's worth by re-telling the gospel story as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder every 7 days. We anticipate smiles and hugs from brothers and sisters, are eager to greet guests, and our hearts are encouraged as we sing, pray, and speak the Word to one another. It is with a great deal of sadness that we have chosen to suspend meeting all together for a time.

But love is our motivation. The COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly, with older people and those with underlying health conditions most vulnerable. If the spread of the disease can be slowed down, then it "flattens the curve" and prevents sick people from overwhelming the health care system. That means those who need help can get it; the key is to get out in front and do this before it's obviously bad. Not meeting corporately is a way to love the vulnerable and those serving them.

As Christian apologist, Rebecca McLaughlin pointed out just yesterday: "It is deeply sad that the loving thing to do right now is to step back. It's in our Christian DNA to move toward others. We're called to be one body, reaching out our arms to embrace a hurting world. But now, for one moment in an eternity of others, we must step back."

We can still worship and love each other, even though we aren't meeting in big groups:
  • Worship. We encourage you to prepare and gather your househould to join us live at 10:45 am on Sunday morning (click here to access the livestream or navigate through the church website). Because smaller gatherings are permitted, we'd encourage you to invite a family in your neighbourhood over to watch or even get together with your community group and worship together.
  • Care. This is an important time to love our neighbours. We will all need spiritual, emotional, practical care. A phone call is a great way to love others. If you need a suggestion on whom to call, call a pastor and ask. Do you have a neighour who's vulnerable for whom you can get groceries or do errands? We can show Christ's love by serving our city.
  • Give. Continue to faithfully give financial offerings online or by mail so that the ministry of the church thrives all the more in the midst of difficult days.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray. Please pray for our leaders for wisdom, for health care workers, for the vulnerable. Most of all, pray that God would be honoured and treasured in this time of crisis. Personal prayer requests can be shared by emailing [email protected].
At this time, other smaller gatherings (e.g. youth home groups, Community Groups, our "Day of Prayer" gatherings this Thursday) are permitted to proceed at the discretion of respective Ministry Coordinators, in consultation with staff and the Ministry Council, but we would ask that risk mitigation (e.g. hand washing, social distancing, no handshakes, etc.) be strictly observed as a consideration of others. We will send out an update if we decide that this needs to be adjusted as well.

We do request that you self-assess and refrain from attending any kind of gathering if any of the following is true for you:
  • You have recently travelled outside of Canada.
  • You or someone you live with or care for is a part of the high-risk population (as defined by AHS).
  • You or someone you live with have any signs of illness.
"We are a people of faith and not of fear" has been our refrain this week, and we will continue to declare it, giving glory to the one in whom our sure hope is placed:
 
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!


- Psalm 46:1-3; 10 (ESV)
 

© 2018 Zion Baptist Community Church.