Day-to-day, the COVID-19 crisis brings more change, more challenges and more surprises. None of us are left unaffected. People in our CLA family are being tested for the virus, others face layoffs, and in the midst of it, we continue to check in on each other. This week, in the middle of a working holiday, I met with our MLT (Ministry Leadership Team) and the CLA Board (both via Zoom). You received an important letter from our Board. I would like to reiterate what they said. First, I want to thank the MLT and staff who are working very hard to pivot our Gatherings, our ministries and our outreach. We are trying to focus on the 5–10 most important things we need to keep running. There is special focus on Sundays, Campuses, Life Groups and Care. We are also trying to empower our families to continue discipleship and neighbourhood expressions of loving kindness. In addition, our staff are facing layoffs.
I want to thank the Board for their exhortation to pray and to give. Although Sunday offerings are not being taken, you can give online or come to the church office (we are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm) to drop off your tithes. We are depending on our congregation to remain both faithful and generous in crisis. Last week our online giving was roughly 50% of our normal contributions. In light of a downturn in the economy, community layoffs, and the narrowing of donations, we are moving staff toward EI. CLA has negotiated an agreement with Canada Services that allows us to top up staff salaries near normal levels. This also allows us to keep our laid-off staff on benefits. This is costly, but we believe it is the right thing to do. We need your help to assist our staff in these days of change. Approximately 25% of our staff will be on EI soon and we will move towards 50% reduction by the end of the month. These are temporary measures. We are monitoring stewardship daily. Thank you for your prayer support. We believe the Holy Spirit is guiding us. The MLT has faith in God, hope in the future and believe that “all things are working together for good” (Romans 8). If you did not receive the letter, you can read it here.
As we monitor current conditions, it seems the government’s request for social distancing and restrictions on public gatherings will last longer than Easter. Next Sunday I will make a family announcement about Palm Sunday & Easter. The MLT are now looking at the potential of a three-month restriction. If this lasts till the end of May, we want to find a beneficial “new normal”. Of course, we are praying that things turn back quicker than that but must be prepared for the uncertainties.
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