Dear Bridge Church, These have been extraordinary times, and I want to thank you personally for your continued support as we navigate together how to continue building irresistible bridges between unchurched people and Jesus Christ.
You have likely seen, over the past few weeks, several editorials, stories, and announcements about when houses of worship can gather again. If you followed the news on Monday, you saw that our province has announced it is moving to the next phase of reopening and has permitted churches to open their buildings to 30% capacity; positive news as it shows good progress in our province.
Like Lisa and me, I’m sure that you have a whole host of questions in your heart and mind; one of the big ones in light of the recent announcement from the provincial government is most likely: “When will The Bridge re-open its building?”
That’s a great question, and the purpose of this email.
One quick thought I’d like to share before. As we read in the New Testament, we see the church has never been about a building (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Revelation 19:6-8). It has, and always will be, about a community of people unified in their movement to share the hope of Christ to the world (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 16:15). You are the church, and I am so proud of how you are participating in building God’s kingdom.
As leadership, we want you to know that we’ve developed a carefully thought through re-gathering approach.
The criteria for opening our building for services has three conditions:
1. When we have permission from the government.
The Staff and Advisory Team continue to discuss our present reality, and we intend to honour our government officials on this, as well as the advice of public health officials.
However, we’re also currently in conversation with them about what opening buildings for services could look like. I have spoken with Jenna Sudds, our local City Councillor, and I’m also staying in touch with our District Superintendent, Eric Hallett.
Let’s continue to support and pray for our leaders as they are facing unprecedented difficult decisions.
2. When we can gather safely.
Your family’s safety and the safety of the people we’re trying to reach is our top priority.
Even when the government does allow us to open buildings, we will need to be able to do so in a way that keeps everyone safe. We are, after all, a larger church.
Sanitization, equipment, physical distancing, childcare, and at-risk guests are just a few of the considerations. We are currently working in the background on a measured approach to ensure that when we decide to gather physically, we can do so safely.
3. When we can offer a quality experience.
The safety and quality of experience for our guests are of the highest priority when we consider reopening our physical location. Our vision is to build irresistible bridges, not resistible experiences.
To that end, we believe that, currently, our Online Campus is a better and safer experience than we would be able to provide in-person on a Sunday morning at our physical location.
Under the current regulations, 30% of our auditorium would only allow us to host 105 total volunteers and attendees in our physical location, which is a fraction of our whole congregation. At this rate, it would require 6+ services to accommodate our congregation.
Also, the requirements for social distancing and safety for kids would limit our programs. Combined, in my view and the view of our staff and Advisory team, that would not be an excellent experience for anyone, most importantly, your unchurched guests.
Until we feel we can offer a great experience (for all ages) in our building, online will be a better experience for all of us, and all those we invite to join us.
Having said all of this, can I ask you to do something?
Let’s stay on mission together, even over a gorgeous summer.
Connect with us weekly and invite your friends. The mission of the church never goes on vacation or takes a break.
So, please share our services with your friends, invite them to join you online, and be FOR your neighbours and friends. It’s never been easier to ask.
People need to know that God is for them, and they will, as they see you and I are for them.
The Advisory Team
The Bridge Staff