Email letters to

Email letters to

Op-ed ignores hard work done to keep churches inclusive

Letter writer appreciates columnist’s concerns, but says they have already been addressed

Dear Editor,

I’d like to weigh in on the column published Sept. 3, 2020 entitled “Gathering to worship, but at what cost?” I appreciated the thoughts and concerns expressed about safety measures and the risk of excluding others from in-person worship gatherings. However, it appeared that many of the musings in the article exhibited a lack of awareness of actual church practices in our area.

I co-pastor Telkwa Community church. Like many churches in our area, our church community has worked hard to balance the health risks associated with gathering alongside the risk of exclusion.

We’ve taken steps to ensure that all have access to our services, while still ensuring that we are in compliance with BC CDC recommendations. For example, our in-person service can also be accessed via Zoom, for those uncomfortable with or unable to gather in-person.

Those who attend via zoom may be seen and heard by the congregation (our zoom feed is displayed via projector and amplified through our soundboard). We’ve had Zoomlanders (as we call that contingent) offer prayer requests, read scripture, and share thoughts from their homes.

Those without internet access can also listen and interact in our service through their landline. Like most other churches, visitors are certainly welcome in person or via Zoom. Thankfully, we have not needed to turn people away. If more than fifty people desired to attend in-person, we would simply offer an additional service.

We also have offered nursery for young families during our services.

This opinion piece would have been greatly improved had places of worship actually been contacted to see if/how they have thought through some of the concerns raised. The lack of apparent engagement with local churches seemed to dismiss the very hard work that our faith communities have done to address our shared concerns in a difficult time.

The column suggested small group Bible studies as an alternative to meeting for larger gatherings. While this would indeed be a very good option if the Bible study only comprises people within one’s “bubble,” risk of infection actually increases when individuals from multiple “bubbles” gather in homes due to insufficient space for physical distancing.

We appreciate the concerns raised and agree that faith communities must be very thoughtful on all fronts as they seek to meet in responsible and meaningful ways in this unique time. As we are all in this together, let’s honour one another by paying attention to the hours of planning and hard work that so many are engaged in to address faithfully the unique challenges of this time.

Michelle Ellis

Pastor Telkwa Community Church

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former Smithereen frustrated with COVID-deniers following horrific bout with the disease

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

Pellet plants deal with a lot of combustible materials. (File photo)
“Fire-related event” at Houston pellet plant injures three, shuts down operations

Rumours of an associated explosion cannot be confirmed at this time

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce coveted Alpine Man Statue for winners of the 2020 Community and Business Awards Nov 25. (contributed photo)
Smithers Feed Store named Business of the Year

Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards handed out in virtual ceremony via Zoom

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read