Everyone is invited to join our Zoom Bible discussion group on Sunday evenings 8.00 pM. To participate please write to Larry Gifford larryandinta@gmail.com

 

Resuming Indoor Worship for St. John’s Ev. and St. Andrew’s Lutheran Latvian Congregations.

We are delighted to be able to offer the opportunity after many long months to meet together to worship at 200 Balmoral Ave. However, given the realities of our current situation with Covid-19, there are new practices that we are required to adopt.

Please read the following carefully. This are based on directions from the Eastern Synod.[1]

Please note: we will aim to live-stream worship to ensure that our vulnerable members are able to participate in worship in the safety of their own homes.

Please contact the church office for details on how to do so.

Before you come:

  • Let our administrator know you will be attending before the end of the working week.
  • Do not come if you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions below.
  • Bring a mask to wear at all times during worship. We will have spare non-medical masks available if you forget.
  • Pray for God’s blessing on our worship and the safety of all.

Before, and after the service:

  • All worshippers are asked to pre-register to ensure we do not go over the limit set by the Province of Ontario of 30% of the seating capacity of the sanctuary. In addition, having your name and contact information gives us a list to pass on to Public Health for contact tracing should this be necessary.
  • All worshippers are asked to wear a non-medical face mask during your time with us.
  • All worshippers, except those needing to use the elevator, should use the entrance at the back of the sanctuary.
  • Please ensure you keep the 2m distance should there be people ahead of you waiting to come in through the main door.
  • All worshippers will be screened on arrival. However, we ask that you self-screen before you leave home. Please do not come if you answer “yes” to any of these questions:
    • are you experiencing any of the following: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, trouble swallowing, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, not feeling well, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea? have you been diagnosed, or suspected of having Covid-19?
    • have you been in contact with anyone who is sick or has confirmed Covid-19 in the past 14 days?
    • have you travelled internationally in the past 14 days?
    • have you been in contact with someone who has travelled internationally in the past 14 days?[2]
  • Hand sanitizer will be available inside the entrance.
  • Once you enter the sanctuary, please follow the instructions provided by the greeters. Please understand that is unlikely you will be able to sit in your usual spot, and that seating will be designated as per PH regulations in order to safeguard all those attending. Rows roped off must remain as such.
  • Hymn books will no longer be provided, but please bring your own from home to use, and take it back afterwards, if you wish. All parts of the service will be projected onto the wall at the front of the church near the reading stand, and bulletins will be available as well.
  • At the end of worship, please follow the stewards instructions on when to leave, and from through which exit.
  • Sadly, COVID-19 restrictions do not allow us to provide refreshments before or after the service. However, we hope to offer a “virtual” coffee hour for all. Please do join us!

During worship

  • Please ensure you are seated only with those who are part of your social “bubble”, otherwise respect the 2m physical distance between yourself and others
  • Children must remain with their family unit during worship.
  • Singing is not allowed. This applies both to the hymns and the liturgy.

Please remain in your seat unless you are coming up to receive communion.

 

 

 

 

Good Friday reflection by pastor Ģirts Grietins

 

Christian apologist and pastor Timothy Keller talks about “costly forgiveness”.

Why did Jesus have to die? Couldn’t God just forgive us? This is what many ask, but now we can see that no one “just” forgives,

if the evil is serious. Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it, so you can reach out in love to

seek your enemy’s renewal and change.

Forgiveness means absorbing the debt of the sin yourself. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into

resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears.

Should it surprise us, then, that when God determined to forgive us rather than punish us for all the ways we have wronged him

and one another, that he went to the Cross in the person of Jesus Christ and died there? As German theologian Dietrich

Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other ’s sins.

On the Cross we see God doing visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone, though on an

infinitely greater scale. Human  forgiveness works this way because we unavoidably reflect the image of our Creator. That is why

we should not be surprised that if we  sense that the only way to triumph over evil is to go through  the suffering of forgiveness,

that this would be far more true of God, whose just passion to defeat evil and loving desire to forgive others are both infinitely

greater than ours.

It is crucial at this point to remember that the Christian faith has always understood that Jesus Christ is God. God did not, then,

inflict pain on someone else, but rather on the Cross absorbed the pain, violence, and evil of the world into himself. Therefore

the God of the Bible is not like the primitive deities who demanded our blood for their wrath to be appeased. Rather, this is a God

who becomes human and offers his own lifeblood in order to honor moral justice and merciful love so that someday he can

destroy all evil without destroying us.

That is why He has died for us.