Dear Christ Church Gabriola Community,
I am writing to you today with the recent agreement and blessing of the Council about how to respond to the developing COVID 19 situation. In the last few days, the situation has reached a new level, and people have had time to receive information and begin writing about it. I have read a number of articles - more keep coming - and have spoken with people around the island, as well as the RCMP.
The Council has come to the consensus that for the health and safety of our precious, vulnerable, and aging congregation, and to reduce the threat of spreading the virus throughout the island, we need to suspend in person worship and all other church activities in the building at this time.
The Council is going to meet on Tuesday (with precautions taken) to discuss a robust plan for nurturing our community of faith during this season. The Council will then communicate this plan to the congregation.
What I understand today is that this virus makes a person contagious before they know they are sick, it is spread through coughing and close proximity to others, and it lives on surfaces for a period of time, where it can be picked up. This virus targets older people and those with a weakened immune system. The best things we can do to protect ourselves and each other is to wash our hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, use 70% alcohol or better hand sanitizer if soap isn't available, stay 2 m from other people, limit travel, and make space in the medical system for the people who really need it. Gabriola has a limited capacity to respond to multiple health emergencies, so I think it is particularly important for us to take any and all preventative measures. We don't know where the virus is, and we don't know how it is spreading. I don't say this to be alarmist; I say it because we need to be educated and make good choices.
So, on Sunday, look for an email with my sermon and Betty's prayers of the people - they will also be on the website. After our Tuesday Council meeting, you will receive communication from us on our plan for nurturing our community of faith and helping each other stay connected during this season. For now, God be with you and with the world as we navigate this unprecedented situation.
Rev. Karen Hollis
Christ Church Gabriola
2600 South Rd, Gabriola, BC