Worship is Suspended at St. Matthew’s

God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1)

Dear Friends,

As promised, we are trying to keep you apprised of the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting our life at St. Matthew’s. This past Sunday we did hold worship but practiced social distancing. However, in light of the new information released on Sunday afternoon with the closure of schools and daycares, as well as recommendations from the United Church national offices, the Board of St. Matthew’s has agreed to suspend in-person worship until further notice.

 

We do this out of an abundance of caution and do not take this decision lightly. However, in keeping with our denomination’s Emergency plan, we are now at the stage of a pandemic that the United Church of Canada is asking all communities of faith across Canada to suspend all in-person activities.

 

Even so, our pastoral care duties and responsibilities to one another remain. I would encourage everyone to follow the advice of Alberta Health Services. In working together by ironically remaining apart, we can ensure that our medical system is not overwhelmed and that people remain as safe as possible. Even though we are practicing social distancing, it is also our call and imperative to stay connected with one another.

 

My task over the next while is to do my best to help us do that. While I and a few others in the congregations will be contacting people directly, I would encourage you to call and check in on each other as much as possible. Even though we cannot visit each other in person, there are other ways that we can be the church.

Several churches across Canada have the facilities to create worship experiences online, including Hillhurst United Church here in Calgary. They have also suspended in-person worship, but they are still offering a weekly service that you can attend online through your computer.
In the Chinook winds region, the following churches are offering online services of prayer.
I have also developed a short in-home worship order with prayers and suggested readings that I will be formatting and sending out to you in the next two days that you may use as you see fit.
Every week, we affirm our faith by saying “We are not alone.” Even though we are not worshipping together, we are still connected. God is our refuge and our strength, and in this time, that is still true.
Yours in Christ,
John