Letter to the Congregation

A Letter to the Congregation

March 20, 2020

Dear Congregation of Living Hope CRC,

Your council met Thursday evening to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will affect our church community for the next while.
With this letter we would like to share with you some of the decisions that were made:
– The Living Hope building is closed until further notice.
– All church services and programs held at LHCRC have been postponed until further notice.
– Council will review these cancellations and restrictions in mid-April.
Worship:
– Since we will not be having worship in our Church building, plans have been made to offer an online sermon each week. These are sermons delivered by Pastor Mark during the Season of Lent, 2017 and are based on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10) and are a relevant word for the season and situation in which we now find ourselves. You will find the sermon (along with an archive of sermons from the past year) on our website <Livinghopecrc.com>. Simply go to the Home page and click on the sermon link you will find towards the bottom of the page.
– This practice will be reviewed in a couple of weeks. We hope soon to offer more study materials for families and individuals.
Pastoral Care:
– The elders and deacons will stay in contact with their districts by phone. Please take this opportunity to share with them your circumstances in this time of uncertainty.
– Your elder/deacon can offer practical support. For example, if you are self-isolating, they can recruit help for grocery delivery. In addition, other members of the church are willing and able to help. We will be glad to help you find that person.
– While the threat of this pandemic remains high, we are discouraging in-person visits. However, it is more important than ever that we are aware of each other’s situations.
– Prayer support is available. Your requests can be made known to our Prayer Team who crave the opportunity to petition on your behalf. The contact person is Susan Schouten. 
– Reach out to your neighbours by phone, especially those who are elderly or sick.
– Let’s be intentional in our communications so that we can continue to function as a Christ-centered, caring community even while we are not able to see each other face to face.

Ways to Donate:
In the absence of church services, we suggest alternate ways of giving to causes normally covered by Sunday offerings:
1. Print and fill out the PARS for and return it to the church mail slot.
2. Write a cheque listing the cause(s) you would like to support. Drop your envelope in the church mail slot or mail it to the church office. (The church mail slot can be found north of the east entrance doors.)
3. We have set up an Interac E-transfer option for you to donate to the Church budget. To use this option please follow these steps:
– Log into your online or mobile banking app and go to E-transfer.
– Select the account from which you want to send funds.
– Choose or add Living Hope CRC as a recipient and the include our email: livinghopeoffering@gmail.com
– Enter the amount and hit submit.
– The funds will be automatically deposited into the Living Hope Budget account. If you wish your donation to go to another cause, you may indicate this in the message.
– E-transfers will be tracked and included with your year-end donation slips.
– You may also place your donation into your regular weekly offering envelope and put them all in the offering plate when church services resume. Donations will be allocated as per the weekly envelope in which they are submitted.
• The list of offerings scheduled for the next weeks:
• March15: Ministry Shares – Calvin Seminary
• March 22: Sarnia Christian School
• March 29: Ministry Shares – Canadian ministries
• April 5: Diaconate
• April 12 (Easter Sunday): Ministry Shares – Resonate Global Missions
• April 19: Ministry shares
If you have any general concerns or questions, please contact your district elder or deacon. If you know of someone who has not received this letter, please feel free to share it!
We pray that our Heavenly Father will give us courage and assurance as we go through these difficult times. Although we will not be able to worship together in our building, we know that Christ, by his Spirit, continues to make us a living and active community of faith. Together, wherever we are, may we be a sign of the living hope that is ours through the grace give in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!
Blessings,
Your Living Hope Council
Chair Jack vanMarum