It has been almost five months—five months!—since the November restrictions came into place that once again prohibited in-person services for churches. You’ll recall these limitations were originally put in place for a three week period. It’s been a long haul. I’m very grateful that this past week the health officials of British Columbia announced new orders that allow outdoor worship services as well as limited indoor worship services for churches.

When we host an outdoor service, we are permitted up to 50 people. As for indoor services, we are permitted to have services on four days between March 28th and May 13, 2021. The indoor services are limited to 10% capacity of a venue up to a maximum of 50 people. UBC Robson Square remains closed and the official capacity of the sanctuary at Church of the Naz is 200. This means we can have 20 people per service. Whether indoor or outdoor, the safety procedures outlined in our safety plan must be upheld.

What does this mean for us at St. Pete’s?

On Good Friday, we will use one of our four days to host indoor services throughout the afternoon. You can register here.

On Easter, we have decided to proceed with an outdoor service. These services will be in the parking lot of Church of Naz. We have rented a large tent with open sides (permitted by the health authorities) to keep us sheltered in case of rain. There will be seating. We encourage you to come, dress warm, and also bring something warm to drink. Our 10:00am and 1:00pm services are already full, so we have added a third service at 11:30am. Please register right away. We would love to see you and worship in-person together!

Throughout this season, we will continue to live-stream services on our YouTube channel at 10:00am on Sundays (including Easter). Our Good Friday service will be live-streamed at 1:00pm.

As for the rest of April and beginning of May, our team will discern what days to have indoor or outdoor services. We will communicate a schedule later next week.

An Invitation

I need to stress that these services are not an opportunity to socialize. While it is extremely difficult to show up and leave without sticking around to chat with people we love, I ask that you would honour the current restrictions. If you come to a service, please uphold all our safety guidelines (wear a mask, refrain from singing, keep 2m apart, don’t feed the wildlife). Furthermore, we ask that you arrive on time and leave promptly without lingering to see people. There will be a time when these limitations will no longer be in effect. For now, we must do our part to create a safe environment as we continue to support and pray for our health authorities to govern with wisdom and care.

Friends, let’s not neglect this wonderful opportunity to gather together for worship. This Holy Week will once again be different than past years. But the profound power of the death and resurrection of Jesus is unchanging and uninhibited. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, may our hearts burn within as we encounter the risen Lord (Lk 24:32). Like Thomas, may our cynicism evaporate as we confess to Christ, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). Like the apostle Paul, may we live and breathe these words, “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).

Read more articles by Alastair Sterne or about COVID-19.

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