March 13: COVID Updates

Dear Oakridge family, 

As news regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) is ever-updating and subsequent concerns are ever-growing, the elders want to communicate how we are processing the information and planning to respond.

First, please note that our church’s response to this situation is not rooted in fear but in a desire to prepare wisely and consider the health of the members of our congregation. As we always aspire to do, we trust in the Lord’s plan, presence, and providence and are praying for our community, our country, and the world as a whole during this time of uncertainty.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalm 46:1–2a).

PRACTICAL STEPS AT OAKRIDGE

That said, below are some practical steps we are taking in the coming days and weeks as a church family. (As news is changing almost hourly, we will strive to keep you up-to-date via email as well as on our website with further changes, announcements, and reactions.)

  1. We will NOT plan to gather this coming Sunday morning (March 15th) as a precautionary measure. As I write this, Ontario’s chief medial officer of health has just issued a recommendation of the immediate suspension of all public gatherings of over 250 people. As that suggested number continues to shrink, we want to err on the side of caution.
  2. Oakridge leadership will provided a weekly “simulated” time of corporate worship via email and here on our website. This will likely include links to suggested songs of praise to which we can listen, prayers to read, and a recorded sermon from Pastor Josiah. We understand this to be a poor substitute for the actual gathering of the body of Christ but, given our current circumstances and its temporary nature, we believe it may suffice.
  3. Giving is still available online here on our website.
  4. All mid-week ministries and programs associated with Oakridge have been suspended. This will include Bible studies, Neighbour Groups, Food for Life, ESL ministries, Lively Oaks, and Treehouse/Rooted.

If you have any questions—perhaps regarding a specific program or ministry not listed above—please feel free to contact the church office by phone (905-849-0567) or by email ([email protected]).

PRACTICAL ADVICE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH

Here are some very practical ways and best practices being communicated by Public Health agencies to protect yourself and those in your church family:

  1. If you have a chronic illness and/or weakened immune system—or if you’re living with someone who is—please stay at home.
  2. Stay at home when you are sick or have had close contact with someone who has a confirmed cased of COVID-19.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  4. Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Use recommended hand sanitizers.
  6. Cover your cough or sneeze with the inside of your clothes elbow, or with a tissue, then throw the tissue immediately in the garbage.
  7. Avoid close contact with those who appear to be sick with respiratory symptoms (coughs, sneezing, difficulty breathing, pneumonia etc.) or fevers.
  8. If displaying any of the above symptoms yourself, immediately self-quarantine.  Call your doctor’s office, local public health office or Telehealth Ontario which is a free public service that will connect you with a registered nurse.  Their phone number is 1-866-797-000 and it is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  9. Practice “social distancing” including avoiding large crowds, touching surfaces, being in enclosed spaces with other people and staying a MINIMUM of at least 1 metre (3 feet) from others in public.
  10. Avoid handshaking, hugging and other intimate types of greetings, including ushers and greeters at Sunday services. For example, we are seeing more people sending a friendly wave instead of a handshake or their regular greeting!

We thank you in advance for your graciousness and patience with us as we strive to respond in wisdom and trust. We also thank you for your prayers!

In Christ, 

The elders of Oakridge Bible Chapel