Chilliwack Free Reformed Church on Yale Road (seen on Dec. 1, 2020) was one of three churches in Chilliwack receiving a total of $18,400 in fines for repeatedly violating provincial public health orders. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

LETTER: Offensive to say that church is non-essential

Gathering or assembling together is essential for what it is to be ‘church’

According to the front cover article of Dec 31, 2020 (Paul Henderson), we were told what we experienced and learned throughout this unforgettable year. Unforgettable indeed, and I appreciate some of his sentiment.

READ MORE: TOP STORIES 2020: A look back at an unforgettable year in Chilliwack

However, it is with deep offence that the writer of the article would blanket all in Chilliwack by using the term “we,” as I most certainly to do not share in this article’s assessment regarding worship. Specifically offensive as a Christian citizen, is being told publicly that “we” learned in-person worship is non-essential. This false claim is gravely distressing. The importance of in-person worship, by gathering or assembling together is essential for what it is to be “church.” What, then, is a church? In Article 27 of the Belgic Confession it is confessed that the church is “a holy congregation and assembly of the true Christian believers, who expect their entire salvation in Jesus Christ, are washed by His blood, and are sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit.” In addition, Lords’s Day 21 of the Heidelberg catechism professes, “I believe that the Son of God, out of the whole human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself, by his Spirit and Word, in the unity of the true faith, a church chosen to everlasting life.”

These foundational beliefs of what the Christian Church is, is just a small piece of the basis of why in-person worship is essential. Christians are struggling immensely under these restrictions, and many can not in good conscience submit to these unprecedented religious restrictions. The article writes “All we can do is hope for something better”, but I would say instead, we do know of something better: everlasting life, a gift that brings out a life of thankfulness no matter what 2021 or beyond may bring.

Sarah VanOene

Chilliwack

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