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Ruthven Pastoral Charge

United Church of Canada

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Letter Saturday, March 14, 2020

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Greetings Sisters and Brothers:

At this moment we will be having our normal Sunday Worship Services: 9:30 a.m. at Olinda Ruthven United Church and 11:00 a.m at Trinity New California United Church. We are asking that there be no handshaking, no fist/elbow bumping, only smiles and keeping a safe distance from each other.

The offering will not be passed, but may be left in a provided basket/plate. If you are well-- and feel comfortable with attending worship-- you are most welcome. If you are not well and do not feel comfortable with going to church, please be with us in prayer.

Also, if you are unable to attend there are some fine services on the TV or You Tube that you can access. Example: Port Nelson United Church on You Tube: Their web site with bulletin:

Or Wesleys Chapel in the United Kingdom:

Please Note: Church Dinners for both congregations are postponed at this time.

Gods Peace and Blessing be with you,
Rev. Olav Kitchen
Ruthven Pastoral Charge

From the Moderator of the United Church of Canada

Grace and peace to you, in the love of the Creator, the peace of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. I am writing to you on the evening following the announcement by the World Health Organization that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has reached a pandemic state. Here in Canada, while the number of presumptive and confirmed cases remains low, Canadians are being asked to prepare for an increase in the number of people affected by the virus.

There are many more people who are far better equipped than I am to talk about how the virus can affect our health. I have been deeply thankful for the calm and clear explanations and directives by Canadas public health services, local, provincial, and federal. I hope that individuals will turn to these medical leaders, who are well prepared to lead us through this time.

The General Council Office is sharing resources with communities of faith and regions to help them in their planning about how to respond to this health situation. (You will be able to find links to them, as they are posted, on the Faith Communities and COVID-19 page.) As measures are put in place to help people remain as healthy as possible, it is my hope that our communities of faith will continue to help people to love God with all they are, to love their neighbour, and to love themselves by helping each other, and the wider community, to the best of our abilities.

I recognize that there is a great deal that is being learned about COVID-19. I have also noticed, both on social media and on traditional media, a great deal of misinformation and hyping of fears. While that is understandable in the face of the unknown, it is not particularly helpful. A level of caution is important. It can help us to be careful and caring about our actions. When fear overwhelms us, we can act in ways that do harm not only to ourselves but also to those around us.

Scripture talks a lot about fear, often in the form of Do not be afraid! I know that can be hard to do, but I think there is an important call to us as people of God and followers of Jesus. In those moments when fear gets huge, we have the opportunity to love even more and, in that love, to help one another. As we build in social distance, where people are not able to spend time in each others presence in the ways we were used to, it becomes even more important to reach out in creative ways, by telephone and video chat, for example. For those who are staying home from church because of health concerns, or as we face the possibility that communities of faith may need to suspend regular gathering for worship at some point, there is the possibility of joining a worshipping community through livestream on the computer, or downloading audio or text versions (if that is possible in your area) until we are able to return to our more traditional practices. And if you are offering services online, let people in the wider community know via social media. At times like this, people turn to the church for comfort, and we can still offer strong and reassuring pastoral care online and through telephone and text.

God is with us in this, and we are with each other, even when we are not able to be together.
We are not alone.

Christs peace is with you.
The Right Rev. Richard Bott

Moderator, The United Church of Canada


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