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All of us are aware of the ongoing concerns about the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). As the pandemic continues, Wentworth’s leadership team is keeping a close eye on updates and discerning how we should respond to be able to love God and love our neighbours well. This post is meant to describe how we are approaching our decision-making so that you can be informed about steps we are taking to mitigate the spread of this virus and be assured that decisions are being made diligently and proactively.

Decisions regarding ministry changes and cancellations are being made according to a colour-coded protocol that we have adopted to help guide our decision-making for in-person cancellations during this pandemic. Though initially designed separately, we have adapted our protocol to correspond to the provincial protocol—thus, if Hamilton is in the "Red Zone", our protocol will be at Red; if in "Yellow Zone", our protocol will be at Yellow; etc. For each square indicating our response to the zone we're in, the first response mentioned will be the prioritized response. For example, in the "Yellow Zone", in-person ministry will be prioritized over online ministry, while in the Orange Zone online will be prioritized.

Importantly, one epidemiological factor we weigh before each Sunday is the risk of transmission according to Hamilton's active case numbers. Utilizing the daily charts by Ryan Imgrund, which are posted to Twitter, if the risk of transmission consistently rises above 15% for 25 people (our COVID building capacity is 30) in the Hamilton PHU in the days leading into a given weekend, we will choose to postpone our gathering for that Sunday.

A brief reminder of things already said, both by our church and throughout the news and social media:

  1. Use Handwashing as an opportunity to pray — Reciting the Lord’s Prayer in particular, which will help center you on God, God’s Kingdom, and our Heavenly Father’s provision and deliverance.
  2. Stay in contact with each other — Social distancing will also increase social isolation, so try to stay in contact with others via phone, e-mail, or social. Check-in, share, and pray with one another.
  3. In the 4th Century, a plague began to spread, striking such fear into people that they would flee cities to get away from the sick and infected. However, the early Church Father Eusebius shares the following about how Christians responded: “All day long some of them [the Christians] tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all.” As our church learned when studying the Book of Revelation, Jesus is Lord over History—even now!—and this Lord calls His people, as He always has, to be people of sacrifice who count living a blessing and dying a gain. May we embody the Church’s witness during past epidemics in our present one, and live sacrificially, as the Lord leads, to love our neighbour as ourselves.