Written by Ilana Reimer

The last couple of months have been turbulent ones in Canada and around the world. As COVID-19 limits in-person contact, Christians across the country have been forced to re-examine what it means to bethe Church.

At first, my church struggled with whether or not to cancel Sunday gatherings; then, we rallied around online services and Zoom prayer meetings. Emails were hastily put together with detailed instructions for those unfamiliar with technology. A Google spreadsheet emerged where congregants could list either their needs or their availability to help.

I know my church is not the only one scrambling to find new ways to connect in an extraordinary time. We’re forced to re-think our priorities. If a church is only a place to show up to on Sunday, what is left when that gets cancelled?

Many of the articles in this issue were written before COVID-19 became a global crisis, yet they echo a reminder that has become increasingly more relevant. William Dmytrow challenges us each to do our part in helping churches flourish. David Field reminds us the Church should demonstrate active love, not hide behind theological differences. Alyssa Esparaz points to the way churches in the Global South serve holistically—caring for physical needs as well as spiritual ones.

This is a difficult time. We cannot expect to face each day with perfect hope or perfect responses. But that is okay. It’s okay not to have answers and to simply be with each other as we go through pain and uncertainty.

Brothers and sisters, if we are the Church, then we can’t be cancelled or closed down, even if our sanctuaries are empty. Right now, the world is engulfed in fear. Everyone is searching for answers and aware of their vulnerability. This is an unprecedented opportunity to offer lasting hope to our neighbours.

Let us, as the Church, listen to the Holy Spirit and join in His work.