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LETTER: Christians gathering to worship is not selfishness

‘Health is not only “not having COVID” but there is so much more’

It hurt me to read in Mr. Henderson’s column in The Chilliwack Progress of Dec. 3 that he thinks selfishness is leading Christian churches to gather for worship on Sundays during this pandemic.

This is not selfishness. I am not a member of either of these churches but I feel that churches should reopen very soon.

READ MORE: OPINION: On individual rights versus community health

We are fully aware that the COVID-19 cases in B.C. are rising. We are fully aware that this virus is very dangerous for the elderly and vulnerable people in our society. We care about them, we care about our community. At the same time we are commanded by God to come together to worship. And we have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on our side to do so.

Balance is not easy, for sure, but a lot of Christians feel that in these matters they have to obey God more than the government – the provincial public health officer. Of course churches have the responsibility to make sure congregants are not spreading the virus, are keeping a safe distance, etc. They have to have a proper “health and safety plan” just like a business.

For many people going to church is not essential. But for some people it is. Health is not only “not having COVID” but there is so much more. Mental health, social health and spiritual health for instance. Why are we reading about rising mental health problems, increasing substance abuse and suicide numbers? Yes, there are also positive stories, but in general people are suffering and some are dying because of all the COVID rules. We have to do something about that. And most of these problems can not be solved online, on social media, over the phone. People need to meet in person, see and hear each other, be in the same room.

Why are churches told to close and restaurants and bars, etc. are still allowed to be open? If the churches are not allowed to reopen now, when will they? This virus is going to stay with us, I’m afraid. Even if many people get vaccinated. How safe is the vaccine?

We can get the sickness more than once, so are they going to get vaccinated every year? When will it ever be safe enough to reopen the churches? When will it ever be safe enough to go visit in a care home again? When will we ever be able to go into a hospital again to visit our loved ones, to be at their bedside before and after serious operations?

We need to learn to live with this virus and that has consequences for our lives. People are different, live different, and find their purpose in different things. The balance of “individual rights versus community health” will be different. People will make different decisions, but we have to respect that. To accuse Reformed Christians of selfishness is false. This is not grandstanding or anti-social, Debby Simcoe. Read or reread the statements from pastors Butler and Koopman and the online article by ARPA director Mike Schouten. Please be honest.

Rudi Kerkhoff

Rosedale

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