Community is a key part of following Jesus in the world, and is necessary at some level for our emotional and spiritual health and growth. We want to be able to experience community, no matter how limited it needs to be!
We want to do this, but we want to do it in a way that makes sense, is safe for everyone, and under local guidelines.
So, here is the skinny: We can have these types of gatherings in homes but it is dependent on what region (and even country) you are in. Because Village Church is made up of a community that primarily gathers online right now, we are in a sense, made up of people from over 100 countries, all of which have different rules and guidelines around small gatherings including inconsistencies within regions. So do your best to make sure you are up to date and following those.
- In British Columbia, it appears to be groups of 5-10 people. Alberta is up to 15 people. (This is not a reference to your “inside bubble” which is a separate thing.)
- This “outside your bubble” group requires observing all the respective rules (2m physical distancing, avoiding those with colds or flu-like symptoms, washing hands thoroughly, etc)
During the July 5th service, I mentioned that we are now allowed to gather with up to 50 people. For BC, the order for allowance of up to 50 people in a space was issued back on May 22. For Alberta, the guideline for 50-200+ was updated on June 12. What I didn’t explain clearly in the message, was that to host larger groups, there are a number of safety protocols that need to be followed. This is technically an order applying to businesses, restaurants, events, etc., and not about casually hosting people (especially strangers) in your home. So while we want to encourage you to get together with others if you feel comfortable doing so, it likely is not in the capacity I was talking about on Sunday (i.e. ‘50 people in your house’ is apparently not a thing, unless you have a massive house or yard – ha). I apologize if I didn’t communicate clearly, or led to any confusion or concerns. I guess I was a little excited about the idea. : )
For those that want to begin gathering more people on your property, it is technically possible, but a higher level of protocol will have to kick in (the same that applies to small churches, businesses, small events, etc. that are open now). This starts with having enough space to ensure physical distancing for the amount of people gathered at all times (which will automatically restrict most homes), enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, sanitizer stations, signage, supply of masks, etc.
Instead of trying to document everything here, if you are interested in gathering a larger group on Sundays, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to forward you the list of resources for your region that you will need to follow, depending on your province, or country.
THE WAY FORWARD
We are doing our best to keep on top of the ever-changing situation by monitoring and/or participating in the faith-based organization discussions with the various provinces in Canada, including meeting last week with one of our MLAs.
Unfortunately, we don’t expect Village Church physical gatherings to start again anytime soon, (this is likely still many months away), so we see this step of hosting Sundays in small groups as a way to foster community as the Church, and even as a way to reach new people for Jesus. As a recent book title encourages: The Gospel Comes with a House Key!
Hospitality is everything, y’all!
Three points to take away from this:
- Always follow the health orders for your region
- Host or participate at the level you feel comfortable and safe with
- Begin to connect more – start with a neighbour who would not have normally come to a service