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Churches doing their best during coronavirus pandemic

Many offering online services and outreach
westlock gospel chapel
The Westlock Gospel Chapel will be posting sermons on its website, www.westlockgospelchapel.com.
WESTLOCK - Although local churches have been forced to curtail Sunday services due to the coronavirus outbreak, many remain partially open.

As well, most, if not all, can be reached via phone or e-mail, while some have Facebook pages, podcasts or websites.

At the Westlock Gospel Chapel, with a congregation that numbers in the hundreds, pastor Tim Gurnett said they’ll be recording a service and putting it on the church’s website.

“A few of us are going to come together and record it and put it there … we’re letting our congregation know about that so they can still kind of come to church and are still connecting with the same people,” said Gurnett.

“Nowadays people can go to church at any time of day, anywhere. There are lots of churches that have it online. And hopefully in a week or two we’re going to try and have small home groups that would watch together and so that way it offers a little more of the church community.”

As for broad community support, Gurnett said they’re encouraging the congregation to help those in need.

“Anybody who you come across, do what you can to help them. And if it’s beyond what you can do, get in touch with the church and we’ll see what we can do to help them.

“We’re pretty active in doing what we can for people, but obviously there are going to be things beyond the limits of churches now because there are potentially financial hardships that we can’t do a lot for. It’s the new reality.”

Westlock Baptist Church pastor Carson Cole said he’s had a steady stream of people drop by the church, just to talk — they’re following the social distancing rules and asking people to wash their hands. Officially they’ve cancelled all programs of gathering.

“Church never shuts down. I’m at the church everyday. I’ve had seven visitors since 8 o’clock this morning,” said Cole Friday. “A lot of people want prayer. A lot of people are worried about the virus, but the economy is probably a bigger concern right now. We will be here Sunday morning, but officially there isn’t a service. Unofficially, if people want to pray and meet, as long as they wash their hands and practice social distancing, they are welcome to come to our church.

“We want to be responsible to what the authorities have told us to do and we’re abiding by their guidelines — I think everyone should. The doctor in our congregation has told us to take it serious, so we want to do our part.”

For those in self isolation, or who simply don’t want to go out, they have a video podcast.

“We also want people to feel comfortable staying home. We’re in contact through Facebook, e-mail, texting … we’re probably in more contact with our congregation than ever before.”

Cole said this is a time when people need to ask themselves hard questions.

“We need to at a minimum ask ourselves questions like, ‘What do I believe?’ ‘Where am I standing with God?’ People are anxious and worried and frightened and that is exactly what the Bible is all about and that’s what church is all about.

“And I believe us as believers need to take a step back as individuals and as a church and look at where we’ve gone wrong and come back to the beliefs and values that are spelled out in the Bible and have been since the beginning of time.”

Get in touch

The Westlock News reached out to churches via the local ministerial association for their hours and contact info.

If your church isn’t listed, contact them directly for more info.

The Westlock Gospel Chapel office hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday. Online sermons/contact information/other information is available at www.westlockgospelchapel.com.

St. Philip’s Anglican Church will not hold normal Sunday worship service March 22 and 29. However, the church will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for prayers.

The Westlock Baptist Church is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m., including Sundays. All regular studies and youth group events have been cancelled, but fellowship prayer and counselling are available — contact pastor Carson Cole at 587-340-9555 for more info.

All Sunday services at the Clyde Christian Bible Church are cancelled for the foreseeable future and will be reassessed two weekends from now.

Any pastoral concerns, questions, or needs can be directed to pastor Chris Lantz (call/text 780-283-2833; godfights4me@yahoo.ca).

Online material (new sermons, music) can be found at their podcast: ccbc.buzzsprout.com.

The Westlock Alliance Church has cancelled regular services, but are streaming their services on their Facebook page, as well as adding resources for our families to use such as videos and other teachings.

The Westlock Church of the Nazareen has suspended all services and can be contacted by e-mail westlocknazarene@gmail.com or through their website westlocknazarene.wixsite.com/westlock where we will be posting on.

St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church and the mission parishes of St. Finnan, Dapp, St. Patrick, Clyde, as well as St. Benoit in Pickardville have cancelled all masses until further notice. Daily mass may be viewed on Salt and Light TV as well as YouTube.

The Westlock and Hazel Bluff United Churches are closed until future notice. Should you wish to contact the minister, please e-mail the church at wuchurch@telus.net. In an emergency, please call 780-307-1209. We are seeking to develop ways to offer pastoral support to our congregations. Please monitor our Facebook page, United Church - Westlock and Hazel Bluff.

George Blais, TownandCountryToday.com

COVID-19 UPDATE: Follow our COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national news on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as resources, FAQs and more.





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