August 2021 COVID-19 Protocol Update
First, the conclusion: It is our policy to continue to hold worship services and other church activities without requiring masks, social distancing, or vaccinations. The following comments reflect several factors weighed in arriving at this policy.
● The inconsistency of “expert” and governmental sources is profound. It is the responsibility of the elders of each local church to decide how best to minister to the flock of God, and our authority is the Bible. Unless we are presented with a genuine, immediate and obvious public health risk, we will continue to meet in person according to the above policy.
● We stand in solidarity with brothers and sisters in Christ who have been and are being persecuted for the sole reason of gathering in person. In many places, health mandates have been abused, and are still being abused to limit or shut down churches. Some churches have been closed, some have had property seized, and pastors and other leaders have been given huge fines and/or jailed. In Canada, some churches have been driven to meeting underground in the name of public safety despite none of them being responsible for outbreaks of Covid 19 or any other disease. The constant exhortation of the pastors who have been fined or imprisoned is “open your churches.”
● Covid 19 is serious, but is not the lethal threat of widespread death we were led to expect when government leaders chose to shut down most public activity. In a tiny percentage of cases, Covid 19 has led to death. In most of those cases, other medical issues of “co-morbidity” have been present. We minister with the compassion of Christ to those who are ill to any extent, and we grieve with those who grieve.
● Much human suffering has been caused by shutdowns. The spiritual impact of restricting church activities outweighs the supposed value of isolating people, requiring masks or requiring vaccinations.
● There is no such thing as “no-risk” activity. We deem the risks posed by Covid 19 to be well worth the blessings of in-person ministry. If at any time it becomes apparent that our gatherings pose a significant health risk to our church family, because of Covid 19 or any other infectious disease, we will follow prudent guidelines to mitigate the risk.
● We believe it is up to individuals, businesses and churches to determine Covid 19 policies, not the responsibility of government to mandate “one size fits all” orders.
● We recommend you exercise discretion regarding personal contact such as handshakes and hugs, according to your conscience.
● We respect individual convictions concerning vaccinations. The Bible neither prescribes nor proscribes receiving vaccinations. Therefore it is not a sin to receive vaccinations, nor is it a sin to reject vaccinations. It is always a sin to judge fellow believers with different convictions on non-Biblical issues. It is not a sin to wear a mask, nor is it a sin not to wear a mask, but it is always a sin to speak against one another. Spreading the gospel, corporate worship, and building up one another in the faith are more important than anyone's personal convictions about wearing a mask or receiving a vaccination.
● We urge you to join in-person worship and other activities as soon as you are able. We cannot practice the “one another” commands of the Bible in isolation, so please don't stay away unless it is for medical reasons. We will do all we can to minister to those with medical conditions which require them to remain isolated.
In His Service,
Heritage Bible Church Elders and Deacons