Our Community’s Role During This Pandemic

An Update from Pastor Wendy – March 26, 2020

On Tuesday, I was invited to spend an hour and a bit on the phone with other faith leaders, talking with the Premier, the Minister of Health, and the Chief Medical Officer in a town hall meeting.

It is important that you know that they consider churches, mosques, and temples to be essential services for Albertans.

They want, and expect, us to keep meeting with people for as long as we can, as long as we keep our numbers under 50 and have adequate space to maintain social distancing. (They were however very clear that these gatherings should not include children, since we cannot risk our children being unable to remember to practice social distancing.)

They need us to continue serving; our help is essential! With this in mind we need to pivot our focus from, “Ok, how do we meet when we can’t physically be together?”, to “Ok, how do we find ways to safely serve and love the vulnerable people in our community?” A practical example of a way we can help would be by continuing our community cook nights.

Some practical things you can do to help.

1. If you are sick, stay home. 

Even if you are sure it is only a head cold, isolate with your family. Don’t go on a grocery store run, or pharmacy run for Neo Citran, let us do it for you. This is practically the most important way we can love our neighbours right now.

2. Pray.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the World Evangelical Alliance are inviting Canadians and churches to a Global Day of Prayer and Fasting as part of the Church response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The designated day of prayer and fasting will be Sunday, March 29.

Bishop Efraim Tendero is secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance, a network of churches in 129 nations of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. He is based in the Philippines and had this to say on the subject:

“We have been following with concern the news of the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 over the past weeks, first in China and then internationally,” he said. “We know that many among our constituency have already been praying for those affected. We would like to now specifically call on churches and individual believers to take time to pray for God to intervene in this crisis… ” 

Bishop Efraim Tendero

Visit the EFC’s website to read the official call to prayer from President Bruce J. Clemenger.

Global Day of Prayer and Fasting in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

3. Give blood. 

If you are 45-years-of-age and under and you’re healthy, your blood donation is desperately needed. 

Canadian Blood Services has the highest hygiene standards and will ensure appropriate social distancing.

Visit blood.ca or call 1-888-2DONATE.

4. Reach out to your neighbours. 

Let your neighbours know you are available to help. Some people have very small social networks. Offering to pick up groceries or prescriptions can be invaluable help to those who end up sick and need to self isolate. 

5. Adopt a senior.

You can informally adopt a senior (or anyone you know who is health compromised and cannot leave their home). 

Seniors are very isolated and checking in on them regularly by phone, helps with their emotional and mental resilience. Don’t presume that because they have children they are taken care of. More social stimulation is better.

You could also volunteer for the Friendly Phone Call Program and spend some time on the phone with an isolated senior in a care facility. Contact Pastor Wendy for more details at wendy@nextchristiancommunity.ca or 403.554.3100.

6. Come and cook.

Services that help the vulnerable are under increasing levels of stress right now. There is a growing demand to meet the daily needs of those who are coming to them for support. For example, Hope Mission has recently gone from serving 1200 lunches a day to 2000!

There is an increasing need for frontline agencies to prepare take-away meals. Since we have access to a commercial kitchen in our facility, we will be starting to do community cooks in the near future. 

Keep in mind that we will have to limit the number of people in the kitchen and follow very specific health protocols, but this could be a meaningful way for you to help. We’ll have more information coming soon. 

7. Share a fun idea.

Post a fun idea on our NEXT Christian Community Facebook Group that might help entertain families who are stuck in their homes.

We have a long season at home ahead and we need to put our famous NEXT creativity to work and share our ideas. 

These are just some practical things you can do to help during this pandemic.

Remember that we as Christians have a vital role to play. During these scary and stressful times, we need to continue to strive to be who Jesus created us to be and strive to find ways to safely serve and love the people in our community.

– Pastor Wendy –

The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1