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

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Northwest firefighters headed to Oregon to battle wildfires

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Another Telkwa councillor calls it quits

Councillor Rick Fuerst is the second Telkwa council member to hang up his hat since the 2018 election

Air Canada officially back to Smithers Oct. 1

The airline will operate four flights per week on smaller planes

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read