November 25, 2021
Hi, my name is Mark Reimer. I serve as the church moderator on the elders board.
As you know, Christmas is just around the corner. This is a wonderful time when we celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
For many years, Willingdon has had the joy of hosting various Christmas banquets and productions, all with the intent of leading people to Jesus. We are thankful that God gives us the opportunity to be his witness here on earth.
This year, we have been planning a number of Christmas outreach events with the same end in mind.
However, we received a call from the provincial health office on Tuesday informing us that all event gatherings like this would require proof of vaccination. These events are considered concerts, conferences and events, rather than worship services.
We are still permitted to have “in-person” weekend services without this vaccine passport mandate, and we will continue with eagerness to worship together on Sundays.
I’m sure you have noticed that we have not advocated for or against vaccines as a church. This is because we have deemed this issue outside our core mission to “Know Jesus Christ personally and carry on his ministry”.
This is not to say the good news of Jesus does not have implications for how we conduct ourselves in society; it does. But we believe the implications in THIS case are best worked out by individual believers. We do not think it benefits the witness of Jesus’ calling in our lives and our world to take a stance on vaccination which might lead to unnecessary division. The pursuit and preservation of unity has always been a high priority at Willingdon Church.
Our elders team has prayerfully and carefully considered this current question and have discerned that we will not implement vaccine passports. It is the position of your elders that restricting people from participating in events on our church premises due to vaccine status does not align with our stated value: “to be a home for all people.”
This DOES mean a change of plans for a number of events. Last week, we started selling tickets for the Christmas outreach production. We will need to cancel this event, for those of you who have already purchased tickets, please check our website on how to receive a refund.
Alternative online options are being made for Base Camp, the Women’s Candlelight Gathering and other in person events. Please check with our website for more information.
We expect you will grieve these losses with us. But here’s the thing – Jesus is still on the throne, and we still get to worship him with our whole lives. Even though we won’t get to celebrate in these big events this year, please come and worship with us during our weekend worship services and at our worship service on Christmas Eve. There is so much to be thankful for. God is in control. We love Him and we love you.