Dear Southwood Church Family,
Well, after an exciting Relaunch Sunday and all the incredible work our congregation, staff, and Council put in to get ready, we're pivoting once again in response to last night's new health orders from the provincial government. Thank to you all of you have been praying for me and for our leadership team over the last 24 hours as we've discussed, discerned, and put together a fresh set of temporary policies that will help us move forward as a community of faith this Fall. I called an emergency Church Council meeting this afternoon at 3:30 PM and we gathered to make decisions about new temporary policies moving forward.
Today, I have been pondering the image above—an Eastern Christian icon of Christ called "Jesus Christ Pantocrator" which is a sacred ancient depiction of our Lord. It's been on my mind, in part, because I painted a version of it during "painting time with dad" last week with my kids (they were busy working on various Disney characters!). "Pantocrator" means something close to "Almighty" and the icon shows Jesus holding the New Testament (the Gospel, the Word of Life) in one hand, while the other hand is positioned in a traditional blessing gesture. I needed this icon today, as a reminder of Jesus' over-arching power, care, compassion, and love for the world. Even as we spin around and wonder about what the heck is going on—Christ remains constant, offering us Good News and showering us with blessing. May we hold fast to this truth about who he is.
We are not suspending in-person worship at this time. The Council and staff team are confident enough in the structure and plans we have in place to keep moving forward with Hybrid Worship on Sunday mornings (in-person + live stream). The things that will be different from our original plans are the seating arrangements and capacity limit:
In addition, the Council has approved the following temporary policies:
I know that this is a lot of information, but please know that I'm so thankful for the flexibility and willingness of everyone here at Southwood in rolling with the punches as we've navigated the storm of these last 19 months. Please feel free to reach out to me for pastoral care, prayer, or just a chat, if you need it. I'd love to hear from you.
Blessings in Christ,
"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude 24–25)