Have you gotten used to uncertainty yet? I smile as I type this because, well, life is always uncertain, and us humans prefer to manage with as much certainty as we can find. This pandemic has thrust more uncertainty upon life than we could have imagined. For example, when will we resume in-person gatherings? Well, that could be in March, or April, or 2022. Or things could have changed between my time of writing and your reading this and a re-opening date already announced. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Here’s one thing we do know: When we re-open for in person services, we will re-open with two Sunday Morning Gatherings!
We shared this news in recent Sunday live-streams and will continue to communicate as things become even clearer. For now, let me put in print some of the things we’ve shared so far, and hopefully this will help eliminate just a little of the uncertainty we feel.
Why two services?
- Need. Through the Fall we consistently had a waiting list for our one in-person service. Most Sundays the waiting list was over twenty and we would also hear of others who wouldn’t bother to put their names on the waiting list because there were already so many waiting. It became clear to our staff and leadership council that we needed to plan a second service. In fact, we were preparing for a January 2021 launch of a second service when these recent safety precautions came into effect.
- Opportunity. An old movie made famous the phrase, “if you build it, they will come.” Perhaps embedded in the necessity to respond to this need lives an opportunity to see created space make room for others to join and be reached? It’s worth every effort to reach more people. (ps: CPC has already experienced new growth during a pandemic – who would have thought that possible!?) I look forward to casting vision for reaching others with those who may find a sense of fit with the new service.
What times and what will they look and feel like?
- Well, first things first, they will both employ the safety precautions we utilized in the fall (pre-registered, physically distanced, masks, etc. until we’re advised by health order otherwise).
- A period of time will exist between services where cleaning can occur with no attendees in the building.
1. 8.30am Service
- Will include softer volume.
- Will also include some more of our favourite choruses and hymns. I am looking forward to this!
2. 10.30am Service
- Includes in-person Children’s Ministry in the Fellowship Hall (we’re not presently able to offer childcare in 2 services)
- Will be live-streamed
Wait, does this mean one older service and one younger one?
- No, and yes?
- We do expect that over a few weeks some will visit both services and determine which one is the better fit for them.
- It is also entirely possible that we could offer children’s ministry in both services as volunteers arise.
- After dialogue with our Leadership Council, Staff members and listening to the thoughts volunteered by people in our congregation, we anticipate there will be some who will appreciate a service with softer volume and some more of the songs we enjoyed in earlier years.
- It is not simply those who have more life experience :) who prefer softer and traditional. We know of people with sensory considerations (PTSD, autism spectrum, hearing damage, etc.) of all ages in our surrounding community. Statistics also say that some younger people find themselves quite drawn to the ancient and traditional aspects of our faith. Conversely, through the years, life and ministry have also introduced Laura and I to some of the most senior people we’ve met who love a service with full volume and who just can’t wait for the next new song to learn.
- Both services will feature a worship environment that grows in passionate and Spirit-led expression!
- Here’s the thing (and this comes with deep conviction and passion in my heart!): If in the end, the first service becomes a gathering preferred by retirees, seniors and elders, we will have a tremendous outreach opportunity. As you know, the Comox Valley is very attractive community for many to retire in. Our church building is surrounded by a dense senior population within 10 minutes around it. Most recent census information reveals the most populated age bracket in Comox is between 55 – 75. I am deeply concerned by the enormous population within minutes of our church that may die in the coming years without discovering that Jesus loves and saves them. Interestingly, this age bracket (and older) are some of the last in Canada who respond more positively to invitations to church services (I have more to unpack with you another time on the monumental shifts occurring in Canada right now). We are positioned with significant potential.
- Here’s the other thing: CPC also needs to reach young families well. In fact, we must. The monumental shifts in Canada that I referred to also mean we must pass the baton of faith well and also reach up-and-coming generations in ways we haven’t before. We are getting positioned well for this and we hope to see good results among young families in the next five years.
When the pandemic is ‘done’ will we go back to one service?
- Truthfully, we don’t know. We may still be tangling with elements of restriction for years. We will have to continue to be flexible and will also be prepared to respond to need and opportunity.
- Ironically, the pandemic gives us a unique opportunity to explore the potential in the two services. Because so many things continue to be uncertain, we are afforded an unusual ability to be nimble and make some adjustments ‘on the fly.’ The pandemic is teaching us, after all, that we humans are indeed resilient and can adjust to changes better than we thought. All by God’s grace.
I hope you’re finding a bit more clarity. I’m sure you have questions. We do too! Thankfully, in the face of more uncertainty than ever before, “we have this hope as an anchor for our souls, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6.19).
Let’s venture forward in faith and vision!
We are glad to hear from you on this! Email us, anytime:
[email protected] [email protected]
Mike & Laura