Warmest Christian greetings! Please know that June and I regularly pray for you – for your health, protection, comfort and encouragement. During the trying times and days of uncertainty all of us learn to practice what we preach, i.e. rely totally on the Lord! That is where our strength comes from. The Psalmist David and king of Israel expressed his trust in God when he faced numerous challenges in life. “In God I trust and am not afraid.” (Psalm 56:11a). Isaiah echoed the same words: “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2). We are all resting in God’s word with the assurance that we are safe in Him. Here are some items to keep in mind:
ONLINE CHURCH: Please note that a Good Friday communion service will be on YouTube April 10, 2020. You are encouraged to prepare bread and grape juice so you may partake of communion right in your home. This service is a devotional time with Phil Frizzell singing and a message from God’s word entitled “7 Last Sayings of Jesus on the Cross”. These are very familiar Scriptures but an excellent reminder of some of the characteristics of Jesus. Toward the end of the service we can spend a little time around “the table of the Lord” – albeit, separated physically but certainly one in spirit. Also on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 there will be our weekly online church presentation. Please pray that this will bring great words of hope to those who tune in. A number of responses have been received from many in different geographical places, indicating that people are uplifted by worshipping with us through the very useful tool of the internet. Thank the Lord that anyone can access the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We pray for a great harvest of people coming to faith in Christ. We are so grateful to those who make this possible re production and worship teams. We need to work within the parameters of government regulations as we do our part in slowing/stopping the spread of this destructive disease. This, of course, has its challenges but we are working our way through it.
PRAYER NEEDS: Please continue to pray for 2 little girls – Henley and Hailey. Both are being treated for significant medical issues. The families are deeply appreciative of our prayers. There are other unspoken requests as well: two ladies recovering from surgery, another being treated with chemotherapy, another with respiratory concerns, those who are shut in, those afflicted with the virus, families who are grieving the loss of loved ones, those who do not know Christ as Saviour, many who are affected with loss of jobs because of the current reality, medical personnel and first responders, business people, teachers and students, truck drivers and grocery store employees, postal and courier service personnel, Evangel’s production and worship teams, etc., etc., etc. There are certainly many, many needs for which to pray!
CHURCH ASSESSMENT TOOL (CHAT): Thank you so much for your participation. There were 70 who responded and we are grateful to you for helping us with this. It was planned that this week our district office and I would do some analysis on this but that will have to wait until later. This CHAT survey is a really good tool that helps us understand who we are as a congregation. It is always good to examine ourselves and identify strengths and weaknesses and work hard to become all that the Lord desires of us. Even though these are challenging days, we are very optimistic about the days ahead and we are anticipating what God will do in our midst! Let’s keep believing and building our faith!
ADMINISTRATION: We are so thankful for your faithfulness in giving. Many of you are coming by the church to leave your tithes in the drop box or using the interac machine. Others are using online banking with direct deposit into Evangel’s bank account. Just a quick reminder of the email address [email protected] for online banking. Thank you for your diligence. Just a note of interest…the average weekly giving compared to before the lockdown and 3 weeks into it is “cautiously” encouraging. In this comparison we are down about 6% in revenue which is understandable considering there are those who do not have access to a computer and may not be aware of giving options. Another significant note of interest is this: revenue is down by 17.5% budget-wise for the first quarter of 2020. A brighter note is the fact that expenses are also down – by 29% budget-wise for the first quarter. We are thankful to the Lord and to you for your faithful commitment. All Missions commitments to the PAOC and the Eastern Ontario & Nunavut District are up to date and all our operational, monthly expenses are paid as well! During this time of world crisis we especially think of our Global Workers (GWs). Some of their supporting churches and individuals have had to make drastic financial cuts. We are thankful that Evangel can continue to bless others and honour commitments to the GWs we have agreed to support! Of course, we continue to closely monitor all aspects of ministry and finances.
EASTER WEEK: This is known in the Christian world as “Holy Week”. This year it is vastly different than anything in our lifetime. We so looked forward to being together and celebrating the good news and presence of our risen Lord, especially Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This year when we say, “He is risen” there will not be a congregational response, “He is risen indeed!” BUT that does not change the fact that He is risen indeed!!! We’ll all miss celebrating Easter together in 2020 but we will certainly celebrate it in our hearts and families. We are praying that this isolation will be shortened sooner than later.
PASTORAL CARE: We are working hard to ensure that ministry continues, limited though it is, to those who need care. These days ministry is mostly through telephone, email or text. Perhaps there will be someone who comes quickly to your mind and, as random as it may seem, it would be great if you can contact them via telephone or social media. A short chat with them and a little prayer will be a huge comfort and encouragement. These “random” times are not so random but, rather, the Lord “nudging” us to reach out. There are some of our folk who are actively doing this – thank you for your ministry of encouragement. Keep up the good work!
BIBLE READING: Just another reminder – please take time each day to read the Scriptures. Hopefully you have read Psalm 27 and Psalm 91 and are well on your way through the gospel of Matthew. You may want to jump ahead in the next couple of days to Matthew 26 – 28 and read these chapters in keeping with this wonderful Easter season. Then you can go back to where you left off and complete the assigned Bible reading for the month of April.
June and I are very happy to continue serving this fine congregation as best we can. Please pray for us as we pray for you and thank you for doing that. The Lord knows our daily steps and He is always with us – we are so deeply grateful for His presence. In the midst of uncertainties we are confident that God will see us through! Thank you so much for reading this very long email!