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COVID-19 Update

An update on the Coronavirus and health restrictions by Faith City Church

Important Covid-19 Update, December 17, 2021


Dear Friends, 

 

In light of the significant increases in COVID-19 cases announced today and both the Premier and Dr. Strang's request that Nova Scotians limit social contact and "slow down" over Christmas, we are making the very difficult decision to immediately shift our gatherings to online only, and to close the building for public gatherings through January 2 when we will re-evaluate.

 

This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution for keeping everyone safe, particularly those who are vulnerable or unvaccinated, and to address the logistical challenges of new testing requirements when close contacts occur. 

 

Today, Nova Scotians were asked by our provincial authorities to think of others' safety and well-being and to slow down at this time, to stick close to home, and we were encouraged to close social circles. 

 

When we think of how to respond as individuals and a church community, let's reflect a little on Christ's words: 

 

In Matthew 22:39, Jesus made clear that we are to love our neighbour as ourselves. When challenged on the definition of 'neighbour,' Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The love the Samaritan demonstrated for his neighbour was costly, inconvenient, and unplanned. 

 

The impacts on our practice of faith during the pandemic are real. We have had to make many changes to the way we function as a church and the ways in which we express our worship for God. But I strongly believe that all of those efforts and your supportive participation demonstrates love and care for our ‘neighbours'. Though these efforts have certainly been inconvenient, costly, and unplanned, they show our desire to be like the Good Samaritan and follow Christ's example of loving others as ourselves. 

 

Over Christmas, the staff and Church leadership need your help in a few ways:


1.    Please stay engaged by joining us online for our gatherings; you can find us on YouTube and Facebook at 11 am on Sunday AM. Take time to comment and engage with one another in the comments section. Let us know you're there! 

2.    Please call or connect with one another online, as checking in with each other is very important. 

3.    Please pray for one another, for our Church and for our provincial authorities as we all navigate these difficult times. 

4.    Please give generously. Perhaps a meal dropped off to someone, or another safe act of kindness can make all the difference for others. This is also the time of year that, as a church, we depend on your generosity and faithfulness in giving to help ensure the work of the Lord continues. A reminder to give before December 31 for the current tax year. 

 

Finally, though there are inconveniences with restrictions and closures, we must remember that we have so much to be thankful for. Instead of remaining focused on the challenges or disappointment, let's have the mind of Christ when it comes to the situations we are facing: Purposing in our hearts that "..., whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—" we will think about those things (Phil 4:8), and then the peace of God will be with us. 

 

Grace and Peace, 

 

Rev. Paul Khosla

_______________________________________________________






Updated November 2, 2021


Dear Faith City Church,  


We have much to be thankful for. While some of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic remain, God has been faithful. Currently, there seems to be significant debate beyond our local church regarding health restrictions, proof of vaccination policy, and COVID-19 in general.   


It has been reported widely in the local news that some churches and Christian leaders in the Maritimes have established positions in opposition to the guidance of various provincial health authorities. Some have gone so far as to offer their health care advice, for which they are not educated or certified to do. The staff and board of Faith City Church will not advise on such issues except to encourage personal health choices to be made in consultation with your health care provider. 


Given the ongoing media reports and broader discussion in the Christian community of our region, it has become necessary to reiterate and clarify our positions on several issues:  


1.   We will continue to follow the Health Guidelines communicated from Nova Scotia Health regarding COVID-19 (https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus).  


2.   We are aware that although the restrictions are not convenient and require effort to implement, they do not amount to the church being persecuted, and they do not threaten our ability to practice our faith as some Christian leaders have suggested.  


3.   We will continue to provide options for individuals to gather and worship in-person and online so that everyone has an opportunity to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, irrespective of personal health choices.   


4.   We recognize that we have a moral and theological responsibility to care for one another and, as the Body of Christ, we believe that care should be oriented toward others and not centred on our personal preferences (Philippians 2:3-5).   


5.   We firmly believe that our duty as Christians is to follow the law and support those in governmental authority through prayer and action. There may come a time when a moral or theological imperative exists which requires a different response. However, as a church staff and board, we firmly believe that time is not now.   


6.   We take this opportunity to distance Faith City Church from any church, pastor, denomination, individual, or ministry who are publicly opposing the current health guidance in word and/or action, and in so doing contravening the scriptures regarding governmental authority (Romans 13: 1- 6; Titus 3: 1, and 1 Tim. 2: 1- 2).   


We want to thank you, our Faith City Church family, for remaining focused on your connection with Christ and sharing his love with those around you. It is important that we continue to choose not to be distracted by the discourse that seeks to spiritualize nonspiritual issues.   


Grace and Peace 


Rev. Paul Khosla

Updated October 3, 2021 

 

Dear Friends, 

 

In my September Covid-19 update, which can be found below, we refocused on our calling to share the Gospel with those around us, choosing not to be distracted by ongoing discourse of some, that seeks to spiritualize personal health choices. Romans 13:1-6 reminds us of our Christian duty to follow the law and support the governmental authority. There has been an assertion made by some in the Body of Christ, that the policies implemented by the Nova Scotia government are persecution of the Church and impeding our ability to practice our Faith. Faith City Church does not subscribe to that belief.   

 

With Romans 13 in mind, I would encourage you to recognize that we are blessed to live in a time and place where we can gather online or in-person to share in our faith together, without fear of persecution. While there may be inconveniences associated with the heath restrictions, there is no moral or theological imperative that I perceive as a threat to the Gospel.   

 

At Faith City Church, we fully support every individual’s right to make their own personal health choices and encourage everyone to do so in consultation with their health care providers. We will continue to follow the Nova Scotia health guidelines as communicated through official channels (https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/) and provide options, in-person and online, for individuals to engage with our gatherings. Our focus remains revealing the love of Christ to our community in whatever ways are available to us.    

 

As we enter phase five of the Nova Scotia Reopening Plan these are the steps, we will be taking to support your health and safety as we gather: 

 

1. Where masking is still required in all public spaces; and where Church services are exempt from proof of vaccination like other essential services, we will continue to hold our gatherings with masks and continue the added step of social distancing for now so that regardless of your personal health choices you are able to participate safely in-person. We recognize there may be disagreement with such measures; however, following the example of other essential services, we want to do our best to ensure your safety. Our focus remains on worshiping Jesus in as safe a way as possible and protecting the vulnerable among us  

 

2. We will continue to hold two services on Sunday mornings with an increased seating capacity of 175 people per service. This will allow us to ensure attendees have a quality experience with space to social distance and ensure we have volunteer capacity to serve all who choose to gather in-person. We will revise as needed in the future. 

  

3. We are pleased to offer Children’s ministry in our 9:15 am service, and we encourage families to register for this service. Nursery for ages between 0-2 will be available in both services. 

 

4. While faith services are exempt from the provincial government’s proof of vaccination policy (i.e., Sunday AM, Sunday Night Worship, Classic Worship, Youth Service) some gatherings held in our building are not. For example: volunteer meetings, Bible electives, board meetings, and all other activities and programs that are not a worship service are presently required by the Nova Scotia government to have a proof of vaccination policy in place for attendees. It is important that you pre-register for these gatherings to make this process as simple as possible; we will ask you to confirm your vaccination status when you register.  

  

We appreciate your patience and prayers as adjustments may have to be made as additional information becomes available from Nova Scotia Health. We will keep you informed. If there is anything we can do to support, you spiritually at this time please let us know.

 

Grace, love, and peace, 

 

Rev. Paul Khosla 

Lead Pastor 

Faith City Church

Update September 15th, 2021


Dear Friends,


As you have now likely heard, the government has delayed the implementation of Phase Five of the Nova Scotia reopening plan (https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210914004). 


While I recognize that this news; and the forthcoming clarifications regarding health guidelines in phase five will pose some challenges to us organizationally, they will not interfere with us pursuing of "eternal impact" as we endeavour to answer the call of Spirit to shine the light of Christ in our communities.  

 

At this time, and through the course of the fall, no matter what this pandemic or our life journey brings, I encourage us all to prayerfully invite God's transforming power to be at work through the renewing of minds (Romans 12).  

 

Let's encourage those around us to do the same, keeping Philippians 4:8 at the forefront of our hearts: 

 

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." 


As always, we are here to support you on your journey with Christ. Please reach out by email (office@faithhalifax.org) or text if there is anything that we can do (+1 844 409 5393) 

 

Grace, love, and peace. 

 

Rev. Paul Khosla 

Lead Pastor 

Faith City Church 

Update September 13th, 2021


Dear Friends, 

 

In my note last week, which can be found here on our website under the Covid-19 banner update (https://faithhalifax.org/covid-19-update), we refocused on our calling to share the gospel with those around us and not to be distracted by ongoing rhetoric that seeks to spiritualize personal health choices and wrongly characterize the policies implemented by the Nova Scotia government as persecution of the church.  

 

This statement serves as a reminder that we fully support every individual’s right to make their own personal health choices and encourage everyone to do so in consultation with their health care providers. We will continue to follow the Nova Scotia health guidelines as communicated through official channels and provide options, in-person and online, for individuals to engage with our gatherings (https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/) Our focus remains revealing the love of Christ to our community.   

 

In my note last week, I mentioned that we would provide an update on how we will proceed in phase five when it is implemented on September 15th. While we are still awaiting more detailed guidance from the provincial government, we are making the following tentative plans: 

 

  1. Beginning Sunday, September 26th, the 9:15 am service will be a health restrictions-optional gathering, and 11:00 am will be a health restriction-mandatory gathering. This means that at 9:15 am, the attendees will have the option of wearing a mask and standing 6 feet apart or sitting together without a mask, while attendees at 11:00 am will require masking, social distancing, and other provincially encouraged guidelines. 
  2. Children’s ministry will continue to be offered in one service for now, with a self-serve nursery available in both. We will rotate the children’s program between each service every other week to give everyone the chance to participate and plan to offer it in both services later in the fall. 
  3. We are in the process of determining how to approach other gatherings that take place in the church, such as youth service and Sunday night worship gatherings. We will provide further updates as necessary.  


We appreciate your patience and prayers as adjustments may have to be made when more information is made available from Nova Scotia Health. If there is anything we can do to support you spiritually at this time, please let us know.  

 

 Below, I have included a video to help you understand this update.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSmfsxWQz-o

 

Grace, love, and peace. 

 

Rev. Paul Khosla 

Lead Pastor 

Faith City Church 

Updated September 10th, 2021


Dear Faith City Church,


We are thankful that our provincial government has announced we will be moving to Phase Five of the Nova Scotia Reopening Plan beginning September 15th.  

  

On October 4th, the province will be implementing a proof of vaccination policy for deemed discretionary and non-essential activities (more information is available here: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210908004 Faith communities have been informed by Dr. Strang that faith gatherings are deemed essential services. 

  

This means that after October 4th, we will be able to gather without meeting the proof of vaccination requirement; however, other health restrictions will apply given the likelihood of vaccinated and unvaccinated people gathering together. 

  

In preparation for this change, I am consulting with those from the medical community of Faith City Church and continue discussions with the rest of our leadership team (Board & Pastoral Staff) as we await clear instructions on how essential services will be asked to respond to Phase Five. 

  

At Faith City Church, we have chosen to fully support those who are on the front lines of this pandemic by following the medical guidance and health restrictions put in place by Nova Scotia Health and advised and implemented by the health community.   

  

We will continue following this path and encourage all attendees and members of FCC to make their personal health choices in consultation with their health care provider. 

  

In addition, I am concerned by the rhetoric used by some in the Body of Christ, whom I believe to be misguided. They are appropriating the language of the persecuted church, claiming that the right of the church to worship freely and safely is at risk because of the provincial health restrictions. In fact, some have suggested that churches are being forced into following policies that are ungodly or in opposition to the Bible. 

  

This is not our position at Faith City Church. While we are steadfast in our support for individuals to make personal health choices, as a church, we will not support, engage with or be complicit through the silence with the dissemination of medical commentary and positions regarding COVID-19 that do not come through the official channels of the medical community and Nova Scotia Health. 

  

For clarity, we will not tolerate disinformation to be circulated through our communication channels, nor will we make official statements against the personal medical choices related to COVID-19. 

  

From a spiritual point of view, at FCC, we are concerned with the commission given to us by Christ to share His message of eternal salvation and hope with the world (Matthew 28). That commission is not impeded by the well-intentioned policies of the Nova Scotia medical community irrespective of whether, as individuals, we prefer, support, or view those policies as necessary or not. 

  

Spiritualizing COVID-19 healthcare choices, the cause of the pandemic, or the government's response to the pandemic, is a distraction from our calling to share the gospel.  

  

As a church, we continue to be committed to providing options for engaging people with the gospel and providing opportunities, in-person and online, that allows everyone to safely engage with our gatherings. We will provide an update next week regarding our in-person services.  

 

Much grace, love, and peace. 

 

Rev. Paul Khosla 

Lead Pastor 

Faith City Church 

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