April 10th 2020

To all the people of St. John’s Presbyterian Church, those who regularly visit with us on a Sunday morning and people following us on the Internet, grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

I do believe that it is surely a very challenging and difficult time we are currently living in. There are a lot of new things that we are challenged with. As leadership in the church we are confronted with a lot of challenges as how to do the ministry in a new way and how to further our relationship with you all.

I am forced to think “out of the box” on a lot of things. God has called me to teach, not just from the pulpit on Sundays, but also through the regular study of the Word of God, Sunday School and one-on-one conversations with people. The Church is challenged with questions as “How do you teach during times like these? How do I do Bible Study with the people, what about a midweek service, etc.?

There are different ways to do it. I would therefore like to invite you to be in contact with the church office, providing us with your Email address to office@saint-johns.ca. We would like to send you invites to the programs we want to start via platforms like Skype, Zoom and our regular broadcast. I am excited to see so many of you watching the “live streaming” of our Sunday morning’s worship service. Thank you so much for your text messages and Emails that I do receive about your experience from the messages. Please invite your friends to go to our website at www.saintjohns.ca/ and watch the service with us. Help them to navigate the website, sharing with them how they should scroll down to live video feed, click on the tab which will redirect you to the live service.

As I have previously mentioned, we would like to call upon all to keep regularly in touch with others checking in through emails, phone calls and video calls. Some people, previously unknown to us, have called to church asking to please pray for them and to ask if we would consider keeping in touch with them during this these times by giving them a regular call. There are so many people out there that are not just feeling lonely, but who are indeed lonely. Maybe you do know about someone who may be challenged with loneliness, please give them a call. On Remembrance Day we say, “Lest We Forget”, and I do believe that the whole world today is called not to forget God and our neighbours. Deuteronomy 4:7 – 9 says: “7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? 9 Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them - ”Lest We Forget”.

Session/elders will keep regularly in touch with you, as well as other members who have offered themselves helping to call people. Some people have signed up to help deliver groceries to those who are in self quarantine or those seniors who don't feel comfortable engaging in public spaces at the moment. Please contact Rev. Willem, the clerk of Session or Elder if you need assistance. If you need prayer, please contact Rev. Willem or an elder.

At this stage all activities are suspended indefinite, but regular worship services will continue using the electronic media, streaming the Sunday Worship Service live on the Internet. If you know people that don’t have Internet, you could also tell them that we also broadcast live on FM 89.3. As said earlier, we are looking for new ways we can serve you. The church will stay open for any questions and serve as a way to keep in contact with you.

We also would like to thank you for your generosity and contributions. Thank you for mailing your offerings to the church or dropping it through the mail slot at the door next to the Memorial Garden.

Once again, thank you for your understanding and pray that we all will be back at Church soon. Please pray with your Session that the will of God will be done and that He will protect and heal our people from this disease. As church of Jesus Christ, the Body of Christ, we shall rise and continue to embody the love, compassion and grace of our Lord to those who are most vulnerable around us. May God's patience, strength and peace guide us all as we journey through these uncharted waters together.

May the peace of God be with you.

Pastor Willem