COVID-19 Update Four

Wednesday April 8, 2020
We are a spiritual community where you can explore your purpose and place.

The longer days and the seemingly warming temperatures bring us hope that spring is here in Alberta. As we move through this week of Easter, that same sense of hope shines through – the hope that this time of uncertainty and apprehension can lead us into a time of greater humanity and kindness. This kindness that is coming through in so many of the daily actions each of you are making to care for and show concern for others. We are each blessed to be part of this community of Mill Woods United Church.
This past Monday your COVID-19 Working group met, and next Tuesday your Church council will be meeting – both gatherings using Zoom. The following is an update on actions we are presently involved in or considering as next steps.
Coming together for Worship

  • Palm Sunday was a meaningful opportunity for our congregation to come together for worship and communion. With the leadership of Ian Kellogg and Bryan LeGrow, we were gifted with music, meditation and communion. At least 50 people joined in the live service on Facebook and many others have participated as the service is posted on our website. We want to express a special and heart-felt thank you to Brian Sampson for volunteering his technical expertise, enthusiasm and time to enable us all to come together on Sunday morning for worship. From all of us, thank you so much Brian.
  • Good Friday is a very important day in the life of Christians around the world. Ian Kellogg plans to lead a short meditation from his home on Friday. You can access this at 10:30 am on the Mill Woods United Church Facebook page.
  • Easter Sunday at 10:30 am a special service of worship and celebration will once again be live on the Mill Woods United Church Facebook page. Join us for this important Easter gathering. Thank you to Cathy Bayly who is ensuring we have flowers to enable us to continue our tradition of placing bright spring flowers on the barren cross – a symbol of new life and resurrection.
  • Virtual Coffee-time – if this “sometimes technically challenged” leader of yours can figure out the logistics, we hope to invite you to a virtual coffee-time using Zoom at about 11:15 am on Sunday. Watch the Thursday What’s the Buzz for confirmation and details!

Government Programs to help organizations like Mill Woods United Church

  • While we appreciate the ongoing financial support of each of you, like many organizations, Mill Woods United Church has had to slow down or stop parts of its operations which have brought in revenue.
  • We are presently in the process of looking at opportunities to apply for three Federal government programs for which we are eligible. Further information will be available after our Council meeting next week.Programs we will be pursuing include:
    • Ten percent wage subsidy program
    • Seventy-five percent wage subsidy program
    • $40,000 interest free loan until the end of 2022 program

 Keeping Connected with Each Other

  • Phone-out: Last week was the first week of our congregational phone-out including 14 volunteer phoners and Ian Kellogg. First, we want to say thank you for the warm and positive responses our phoners received from each of you. Second, thank you to the phoners. Conversations with several of those who did the phoning indicated their delight in having good conversations, in some cases meeting new people, and generally enjoying the opportunity to connect with good people. Let’s keep it up – we need each other more today than ever before.
  • Treasure Hunt: Don’t forget to find something unique in your neighborhood and send it to Carla Janzen as she creates opportunities to get out and learn more about where we live.

 Staff Update

  • A huge thanks to all our staff who continue to work and provide us great service and personal attention. Each is working in situations where we have ensured a safe and healthy workplace where physical distancing is in place.
    • Ian for your focus on meaningful and creative worship and your ongoing congregational contacts
    • Liliana for your daily efforts to keep necessary operations and communications happening
    • Laura for your work to ensure our facility is clean for those working in the building
    • Bryan for your gifts of music each Sunday morning
    • Georgia for your weekly videos and lessons going out to all our children

Thank you each so much.
Taking Care of our Building

  • Your working group spent time developing plans which can be used if or when we get to the point when we have no staff working in the church building.

Finally, a special note about the work that has been done to provide lunch at Bissell Centre on Easter Sunday. Thanks to the generosity of many of you and the leadership of Don and Lil Grabinsky, over 300 lunches will be delivered to the Bissell centre and also shared with Edmontonians in need of support at the Expo Centre this Easter.

Your Church Council is meeting on Tuesday April 14 at 7:30 pm and your COVID-19 Working group is meeting on Monday April 20 at 2:00 pm. Both are Zoom meetings.

Hoping each of you find this season of Easter one of generosity, friendship and new beginnings.

Rob McPhee