updates

Our response to Covid-19
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A prayer with Geoff and Ken – May 14, 2020

Update – May 7, 2020

Together we are designing a different future; different from what we planned and some of it is sad. We need to lament on the things that could have been, but we also need to move towards a future that God knew before and He has a great plan.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

In this weeks update, Geoff talks about some of the ways our ministries are adapting with our new realities.

Update – April 30, 2020

We are not just surviving, we are thriving. In this weeks update,
Pastor Geoff provides an update on the 5 C’s:
  • Call to prayer
  • Community
  • Compassion
  • Contribution
  • Communication
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
– Ephesians 4:3

Update – April 23, 2020

We desire to boldly love our community, speaking hope through Jesus and
reaching out to those in need.

He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 25:45

Watch the video above for an update on the needs in the community and where we are connecting.

Bridge Builders

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. – John 13: 34-35

Jesus calls us to love one another. During this difficult time, we need to take care of one another more than ever before. This initiative will help connect those who need support and connection to those who can offer assistance.
We are looking for Bridge Builders to connect with our church family. This involves 1-2 hours a week of calling 4-8 households. The main questions to ask are, “How are you? Are there any needs you have or anything we should be praying about?” and, “Are you able to serve? Would you be able to connect with others that have needs?”

Update – April 16, 2020

Our mission and vison have not changed during these difficult times because Jesus has not changed.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

Our mission is:
We love God, love one another, and love our neighbours so that people become passionately committed to hearing and obeying God, and teaching others to do the same.

Bridge Builders

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. – John 13: 34-35

Jesus calls us to love one another. During this difficult time, we need to take care of one another more than ever before. This initiative will help connect those who need support and connection to those who can offer assistance.
We are looking for Bridge Builders to connect with our church family. This involves 1-2 hours a week of calling 4-8 households. The main questions to ask are, “How are you? Are there any needs you have or anything we should be praying about?” and, “Are you able to serve? Would you be able to connect with others that have needs?”

Day of Prayer and Fasting  Monday, April 20

On Monday we will have a church-wide day of prayer and fasting.
At 7 pm, join in a time of corporate prayer as we intercede for our church and our city. This meeting will take place on zoom.
Meeting ID: 944 2111 2522
Password: 858508

Long-distance charges may apply.

Meeting ID: 944 2111 2522

Update – April 9, 2020

As we come to the cross this weekend, we look forward to celebrating the hope we have for now and the hope we have for eternity!  

 To prepare for this weekend, Pastor Ken recommends taking a slow read through Mark 14-15Pause and pray when something jumps out at you, and ask God to show you things in the passage you’ve never noticed before.

Have your journal ready, as well as communion elements – some kind of bread or crackers and some sort of juice for communion.

Share these links to invite your friends and family. Bring your Bible and journal!

Virtual Lobby  

After the Sunday morning services, join us on zoom to chat with Pastor Mark and the church family! 

Save the Date:

Next Day of Prayer & Fasting and zoom prayer meeting is planned for Monday, April 20. 

 

Update – April 2, 2020

Here are E-Free we recognize that this is a difficult time for many of in our church family, and we want to thank you for your continued support, even as you reach out to others.  This is what a family does, and we are extremely thankful as you continue to be generous.

During this time, our mission and vision have not changed. In fact, they have become even more clear.  Our mission is to love God, love one another, and love our neighbours so that people become passionately committed to hearing and obeying God, and teaching others to do the same. This is still incredible relevant to what we are doing. And our vision to be bridge-builders will take on a whole new meaning in this new reality. 

Contribute

We are thankful for a Board who is thoughtful and prepared financially for a storm like this. Our church was in a healthy financial situation before this crisis emerged. Even with your generosity, we have seen a significant drop off in donations, and that is to be expected. We want you to know that we are responding to the new reality with grace and confidence and hearts that are filled with ministry innovation. Thank you for making this possible!

Community

Be one of our first Bridge-Builders! Our goal is for 150 Bridge-Builders to work together to contact everyone in our church over the next 10 days, to see if they have need or can offer support to others. Then we will move this outside of our church body – building bridges into our neighbourhood.

Compassion

We are working with our local partners to serve those in need:

  • MyCityCare and the local foodbanks deliver food to those who need it
  • Hot meal sponsorship at an emergency shelter for those in selfisolation
  • Financial donations, as well as nonperishable food items and new clothing, are also being accepted by our partners.
The following information is just the start of what is being put in place to connect and equip you during this time! Our website and social media are being updated daily with new opportunities for your and your family. We look forward to partnering with you through this unusual season of ministry! 
To be clear, in light of the recommendations to practice social distancing, all on-site gatherings are suspended and we are strongly recommending that groups do not meet in person during this time.
You can expect facilitators of the groups and programs you are involved with to be in contact about how this impacts your involvement and what it could look like going forward. If you are not already part of a group, you can connect to online groups using the links below.

REQUEST SUPPORT

If you require help or pastoral care, your church family is here for you. To request assistance, please submit this form or call the church office.
If you are able to offer any kind of assistance, you can also let us know at this link and we will link you with specific requests.

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES

See you online at 9, 11, and 6! Choose the platform you prefer:
YouTube: To link from the YouTube app on your TV, search for @efreelethbridge.
Facebook: A moderator is available during the livestream of each service. Join us for chat and community time as we worship together!

ONLINE GIVING

We are doing everything we can to meet needs and minister well during this time of uncertainty. We are excited about the opportunities this chapter of ministry presents and we are prayerfully expectant that God will provide for the church’s needs. If you’ve never given to the church before, this is a great time to start! If you are already a financial contributor to the church, we humbly ask that you continue your regular giving as you are able.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

We are committed to loving our neighbors and building bridges with our community. Our congregation is represented in every corner of the city and we know that there will be significant needs we can each be ready to respond to.
Intercultural Ministries: Intercultural Ministries leadership will be connecting with all new Canadians on our contact list, ensuring they have a primary contact with our church so that we can provide support as needed.
Responding to Emergency Needs: We will be working with churches, agencies, and government in the Lethbridge region to support relief efforts. In particular, we are supporting a partnership between MyCityCare, the Lethbridge Foodbank, and the Interfaith Foodbank to address emergency food needs in our city. In addition, we are committed to supporting City of Lethbridge initiatives.
     
Help Now: My City Care is working with the food bank to deliver food hampers. To join the My City Care volunteer team sign up here.
Caring for our Neighbors: It’s is a bit tricky to know how to connect with the people on your street while social distancing but please be attuned to the needs of those around you. Pray for your neighbors, send them a text or an e-mail, put up an encouraging sign in your front window, or follow your neighborhood association website. This is the time to be creative!

SMALL GROUPS & COMMUNITY GROUPS

We are looking to add a number of online community groups to ensure everyone is being cared for, prayed for, and remains connected. If you are interested in facilitating an online group, please email Jeremy Light.

PRIME TIMERS

Our Seniors Ministry is connecting with group members to ensure one another’s needs are being met. Email Dave Acree if you would like to join this group.

FAMILY MINISTRIES

Marriage Matters Facebook Group: In lieu of the conference that had been planned for this week, join us for connecting and discussion on the Marriage Matters Facebook group. Please request to join the group.
Family Matters Facebook Group: An open group for sharing resources, encouragement and parents support. Discuss and share life together as people raising children. This group will have resources for parents of children of all ages, including how to be awesome aunts and uncles or grandparents!

KIDS ZONE

Kids Club is cancelled for the remainder of the semester. 
Sign up for Right Now Media: This streaming video collection contains tons of great videos and resources for your kids, as well as amazing content for all ages, and it’s our gift to you! Matt and Rosie will be pointing parents and caregivers to helpful content for kids. 
ParentCue Resources: Free access to our preschool curriculum including Bible story videos and memory verses, as well as a podcast and blog to help give you ideas to keep the lessons going at home.

YOUTH MINISTRIES

Small group leaders will be in touch with their students. 
Bible Reading Plan: We’ll be starting a reading plan together and sharing prayer requests starting next week.
Check out our new Spotify playlist!
Our primary communication with parents will be through Facebook and email. Primary Communication with our youth will be through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

YOUNG ADULTS

Meeting online on Thursday evenings starting next week. Stay tuned for details or contact your small group leader! 
If you would like to get involved in our online community but are not already part of a YA small group, email Joel or Luke and we will connect you with a small group leader.

WOMEN’S MINISTRIES

Mom Collective, IF Tables, Women’s Bible Study: Your group leader will contact you with details for meeting online.  
New Online Bible Studies starting soon!
 
Online IF Tables will connect once per week face to face via apps and messaging, plus a way to chat with one another throughout the week. We will send you questions to talk about and share creative ideas to connect with and care for one another.
If you would like to host an online IF Table, email Glenda.
Already host an IF Table? Email Glenda to find out more and receive the weekly questions.

UPDATE: March 26, 2020

We have begun to settle into new rhythms and avenues of ministry over the past couple of weeks and we know that many in our church family are also experiencing new challenges. While these days are marked by so much uncertainty, we remain confident that God is in control and find comfort in His Word.

 

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
–Psalm 27:4-5

 

CALL TO PRAYER
Day of Prayer and Fasting – Monday, March 30
On Monday we will have a church-wide day of prayer and fasting.
At 7:00 pm, we will meet as a whole church online via zoom, a virtual meeting platform.
Learn how to join the Prayer Meeting here.

 

COMMUNITY
We are encouraged to hear the stories of how you are caring for one another and connecting!

 

CONTRIBUTE
Thank you for your continued support! To meet budget we plan to receive $56,000 per week. Two Sundays ago our offering was $23,000. This past week it was $48,087 (Approximately $23,000 of this was from automatic withdrawals). Given the uncertainty of the past few weeks we are celebrating this and are so thankful for those who continue to give regularly!
  • Please continue to utilize our online giving methods or set up automatic withdrawal. If you require assistance, please give us a call at 403.329.3125.
  • A staff or board member is available to pick up your tithe if you are unable to give online. Please contact us to make arrangements.

 

COMPASSION
We continue to give priority to serving our city during this time. We are working with the Lethbridge Food Bank and Interfaith Food Bank as well as our local partner organizations. Click the links to organizations on our Local Action page to learn how you lend your support during this time.

 

NOTE: The church cannot process donations to the food banks or our partners. Please make donations to these organizations directly.

 

FACILITY UPDATE
The office and church library are now closed. All our staff are working from home. You can still reach out for assistance and pastoral care by phone, 403.329.3125, or reach us by email. We love you and are here to serve you during this time!

UPDATE: March 16, 2020

UPDATE: March 16, 2020

Dear Church Family,
What a great weekend of ministry as we gathered online this past Sunday! It was a poignant reminder that the church is not confined to a building and that wherever we are, we can join in the Word and in worship of our great God together. We heard from many groups meeting in living rooms across our region. And because many of you shared the links, we had people tune in from around the world – some of whom may never have otherwise planned to attend church! 
 
God is definitely at work in and through us as we navigate this crisis alongside our friends, families, and neighbours. Thank you for the encouraging words and pictures you have been sharing. Thank you for praying for wisdom for our staff as we navigate this new day in ministry.
 
As this situation continues to unfold we are sensitive to the increasing risk and needs in our own city. We want to be attentive to and respond in helpful ways to the needs of our community.  
 
As a result, we are closing our facility to all ministry group meetings for the time being. The  Membership Class scheduled for this evening (March 16) is postponed and the Marriage Matters conference will not go ahead this weekend. We will be sending updated information related to specific ministries (children, youth, young adults, intercultural, women, etc.) in the coming days. 
 
Our staff and ministry leaders are working hard to put together plans, resources, and platforms that you can use to help disciple your family, those around you, and connect as a church community. We will keep you updated as to how you can access these resources as they become available.  
 
Currently, the office will remain open during the week while some staff work from home and we will continue to facilitate online worship services. We are taking precautions to protect our staff from the spread of the virus and avoid a situation where all staff are required to self-isolate at the same time. If there is a way we can assist, pray for, or serve you, you are welcome to stop by the office. Alternately, we can always be reached by email, phone, or online. 
 
Thank you again for your prayer and concern for one another and our staff. Please continue to pray. Even though our world has changed, we know that the power of God has not changed. The truth of Scripture has not changed. The hope of Jesus has not changed. Our mission as a church has not changed. Let us not give in to fear. Rather, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
 
In Christ, 
 
Pastor Geoff

 

UPDATE: March 13, 2020

Video Transcript:
 Hey Church Family!
  
As a lead team we gathered today, and as we were praying we felt the Lord affirm to us this verse: John 14 says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. My Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
  
We have been in conversation about how we best love our community and how we love one another.
  
Until late yesterday, we were planning to gather for worship this Sunday but as the coronavirus situation has continued to develop in the past 24 hours, we have decided to move to ONLY online services starting this Sunday.
  
While we are disappointed that we will not be gathering as a church family for worship, we want to love our community well and join in efforts to help slow the transmission of the virus.
  
We know that church isn’t a building. All of us, who love and follow Jesus together, are the church. And Jesus is going to continue to build His church as we do what Jesus has called us to do.
  
Starting this Sunday, we will be gathering online and in homes to worship together, pray together, learn together, and serve together. To BE the church.
  
Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a steady increase in those utilizing our livestream. In fact, one of our goals for the coming year was to improve our livestream engagement – we just didn’t think it would be this quickly!
  
There are many who are working hard to make this happen – so this week join us online whenever you would normal attend a service. We’ll be online at 9:00, 11:00, and 6:00 on Sunday.
  
The services will also be available via facebook live, where we will have a moderator for each service.
  
I encourage you to share these links on your own social media and gather friends and family in your living room.
  
We also want to minister to one another in our congregation well and minister to our neighbours well.
  
Many people are experiencing a lot of anxiety right now, people may have true needs for practical support in the next few weeks.
  
I encourage you to look for opportunities in your circle of influence to encourage, serve, and meet their needs. We are looking for ways we can do this corporately as well and will continue to resource you and keep you informed about the ways you can be involved.
  
We want to continue to care for you well also. The church office will remain open. Our staff are here for you. If you need assistance, we’re ready to respond to needs in our congregation.
    
Please use the online connection card, shoot us an email, give us a call. You are welcome to stop by the office. We will be here!
Keep watching our website and social media posts for updates on the situation.
  
Above all, I am calling you to pray.  We are confident in God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening. We believe God is going to use this time of uncertainty to transform lives.
  
What an incredible opportunity we have to build bridges with our neighbours and our city during this time.I’m praying for you and I’ll see you Sunday at 9:00, 11:00 and 6:00 online.

In Christ, 

Pastor Geoff

UPDATE: March 12, 2020

Dear Church Family,

 

I want to update you on what’s happening at E-Free in light of cases of COVID-19 appearing in Alberta. Like you, I’ve been following this evolving story closely. We are reaching out to local officials and have spoken with a number of other pastors in the area to gain perspective on how to best move forward as this becomes an issue facing our city.

 

The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities, yet we remain certain of God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening. Please join us in praying for those who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus.

 

 It is important to note that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Alberta is still considered low. 

 

We are currently planning to to gather for services on Sunday and mid-week programming. Select events may be cancelled on a case by case basis. The International and Prime Timers Potlucks scheduled for this weekend have been cancelled. We are diligently following reports from local and provincial health authorities and are monitoring the responses of our local school divisions. In the event that health officials do recommend closure or if we determine it is in the best interest of our E-Free family or the broader community to close, we will inform everyone to the best of our ability through our website, emails, and social media (Facebook and Instagram). 

 

If you or a family member are sick or need to stay home during this time, you are welcome to watch Sunday services online.

 

 Specifically, here’s what we are currently doing to minimize the risks in our context: 

 

  • Increasing our sterilization process throughout the entire church.
  • Encouraging everyone, including staff and volunteers, to stay home if they are sick.
  • Providing hand sanitizing stations throughout the building.
  • Offering baskets will be relocated to the back of the Worship Centre / Gym so you don’t need to pass them down the row. Remember, you can also give online at efreelethbridge.ca/give
  • Putting measures in place to ensure that ministry can continue online, in small groups, and through supplemental resources.
  • Staying informed about recommendations including:
    Information for Albertans
    Alberta Health Services
    Lethbridge School Division
    Holy Spirit School Division

Please be mindful of the guidance from Alberta Health Services, including: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you are healthy but your personal health causes you extra concern about being exposed to the virus, we encourage you to make the best decision for your situation. If there are ways we can better support you, please let us know.
  • While asymptomatic travelers from affected areas are not mandated to observe a 14-day quarantine, we urge you to consider refraining from attending church events, classes and services until the 14-day time-frame has been observed. While you are out, you can access the service online each week at efreelethbridge.ca/media.

 

 The last thing I ask of you is to pray and look for ways to make an impact in your community as this situation develops. Along with the anxiety and limitations caused by this threat will come numerous opportunities to serve, cooperate, and build bridges with our city. As we face this situation, may we be a church that’s living out of faith, rather than out of fear.

 

 If you have ideas about how we can serve during this time or would like to share your thoughts, concerns, or questions as we navigate our response to COVID-19, we’d love to hear from you. Your input and feedback are important to us. Please email info@efreelethbridge.ca with any questions or comments.

 

 While we cannot control the virus, the spread or the impact it has in our church, we’re doing everything we can to make this campus as safe and clean as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to help us do just that. We must also remember that God has not called us to live in fear but in faith. As the apostle, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7:

 

 “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”

 

 My prayer is that God will fill all of us with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.

 

 In Christ, 

Pastor Geoff

UPDATE: March 12 at 6:18 pm

We have decided at this point to continue holding services this weekend for the following reasons:

• While there are cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, there have been no reported cases in our region and the risk is considered low.

• We expect that at some point in the coming weeks we will likely need to offer ONLY online services. This Sunday could be one of the last opportunities to gather while the risk is still low.

• We are taking our cues from local and provincial officials and the local school divisions. While they have recommended that gatherings over 250 be cancelled, places of worship and schools are currently considered exempt.

• We anticipate low attendance between the winter storm this weekend and the COVID-19 situation. We expect that those who consider themselves to be at risk will choose to join us online and those who have recently traveled or been exposed will follow self-isolation guidelines.

• It is imperative in times of crisis that we counter fear and anxiety through worship and celebration of hope together. We remain certain of God’s steadfast presence and are moving forward with careful attention to all that is happening.

• We are well positioned to pivot quickly if we do need to cancel services and midweek programming. We have strategy, resources, and leadership that is ready to adjust how we minister, serve, and speak hope to our community during this season of uncertainty.

 

Watch our services online:

Sunday Services

Livestream available at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Contact US

Phone

+(403) 329 3125

Mail

info@efreelethbridge.ca

Address

4717 24 Avenue South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 7C1