COVID-19 Resources

Stay Up To Date On The Latest Information About COVID-19.

The following are resources for our churches that we are continually updating as more become available. If you know of a resource that you would like to share with us, please email communications@bcmb.org

Discipleship and Outreach Resources

Other resources from BCMB for churches that require additional ministry support through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Easter Message from Rob Thiessen

Rob has made this Easter message available for your church use at or after Easter.

Marriage Ceremonies in BC During COVID-19 – Updated Apr.17, 2020

Please see the attached Information Update regarding marriage ceremonies in BC and distribute to all of the religious representatives who are registered by your religious body to solemnize marriages in BC.

 

Religious Representative Registry
Vital Statistics Agency
305-478 Bernard Avenue
Kelowna, BC  V1Y 6N7
Phone: 250-712-7597, Email: VSrelreg@gov.bc.ca
Health Sector Information, Analysis and Reporting Division
Ministry of Health, Province of British Columbia

Online Meeting Solutions

Online Meeting Solutions

As we all navigate this new online world, many churches will be looking for solutions to enable them to continue ministry in an efficient manner. Here is a quick list to help narrow down some of the choices out there.

free accounts allow up to 40 minutes and up to 100 people in your meeting. Reliable if you be sure to follow security measures they suggest.

TECHSOUP CANADA has a discounted rate for Zoom for non-profits. Check it out if you are considering this option.

Requires G Suite. All paid plans include Google Meet. G Suite provides other online solutions that may meet other needs your church may have as well (such as email, cloud storage, and word processing).

This replaces Skype for Business. The free version includes chat, video calling,Team and individual cloud storage, as well as collaboration using Microsoft Office programs.

Run Alpha Sessions Online

If your church is looking for ways to be effective in ministry while finding online solutions that work with meeting restrictions currently in place, consider running an Online Alpha Course. Alpha Canada has provided some great digital solutions as well as a webinar to help you get started.

Vidflex Faith™ Offer 2020

In response to COVID-19, Vidflex Faith™ is offering churches
3 months free of video hosting and streaming services that integrates online giving.

Financial and Administrative Ministry Resources

Resources to help churches navigate the increased financial pressure and reduced giving brought on by COVID-19

Baptism concerns in light of Covid – June 1, 2020

The information below was provided by Johnston Meier Insurance Agencies Group 

There is currently no separate policy condition or restriction with respect to COVID-19 under our Church and Charity General Liability coverage form, other than that as is understood in statute and common law precedent i.e. a policyholder must not be breaking any laws and/or held criminally culpable for doing so, whether intentional or not.   This means that as long as the organization’s directors and officers, and local executive director, management, ministers and staff keep up to date (on a daily and weekly basis for now with COVID-19) with all provincial ministry of health and local public health unit rules, regulations and guidelines, there is no concern in terms of their liability coverage for insurable claims, including with respect to potential actual or alleged negligence for the transmission of communicable and infectious diseases on premises and in sponsored programs, on or off premises.   However the organization must be prepared to make changes to their operations on the go in accordance with public authority orders, including cancelling mid-program if necessary.

CBC News Benefit Hub

One more place you can find a hub of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus.

COVID 19 – How It May Affect Your COMMERCIAL INSURANCE POLICY

Dear BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren:

 

Johnston Meier is reaching out to our valued commercial clients to remind them of important information as it pertains to your insurance policy and how best to reach us during these unprecedented times.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many companies do business.  In an effort to protect our valued clients, loyal employees and trusted community, Johnston Meier closed our offices to walk-in traffic and migrated to servicing our customers via phone and/or email.   The contact information for any of our 46 locations throughout British Columbia, are located on our website at www.jmins.com.

Many businesses have been affected by government closures. All insurance policies contain an exclusion of coverage if your premises are vacant, unoccupied or closed down for more than 30 days. If this is the case with your business, please contact your Broker immediately to determine if the Insurance Company will offer an extension to the 30 days during this time.

Finances at this time can also be challenging; your Broker will be happy to explain our financing options.

Please contact us if you have any questions or where we can be of any assistance in these trying times.

Thank you for your business and continued support.

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnston Meier Insurance Agencies Group
22367 Dewdney Trunk Rd, Maple Ridge BC  V2X 3J4
Tel: 604-467-4184 or 1-888-256-4564
Fax: 604-467-9711
Email: mapleridge@jmins.com
Web: www.jmins.com

Employment Standards Regulation amendment – May 5, 2020

Yesterday, the provincial government made the attached Order in Council to amend the Employment Standards Regulation. It redefines “temporary layoff” in the Employment Standards Act for employees that have been laid off because of the COVID-19 emergency.  Instead of a “temporary layoff” being for up to 13 weeks in a period of 20 weeks, it is now for up to 16 weeks in a period of 20 weeks.  (Ignore the reference to “right of recall” – that has to do with unionized employees.)

 

If churches have a need to extend layoffs past 13 weeks, this Order in Council may provide some flexibility in that regard.  (This doesn’t deal with the underlying issue of a risk of employees claiming constructive dismissal because of a lay off.)

How your church can survive financially

Recently, our churches have had to make some very difficult decisions in light of COVID-19, with regards to continuation of ministry, and also with regards to finances and employment. John Albiston, a Church Effectiveness Coach, has shared some valuable insight into this struggle that we thought we would pass along to our churches. Below, is a brief summary of the content he provides in his 20 minute video that follows.

Covid 19: How your church can survive financially

To survive this crisis your church must do two things:

  1. Reduce expenses
  2. Increase income

Reducing Expenses

  1. Mothball your facilities
  2. Reduce program costs
  3. Develop a staffing contingency plan
    1. Determine income thresholds
    2. Create a staff triage order
    3. Abandon tenure and hierarchy
    4. Prioritize tech and ability to connect
    5. Prepare yourself and your team for bi-vocational and volunteer options.
    6. Inform your people of government support options
    7. Do not abandon those you have to lay off!

 Increasing Income

  1. Make it easy to give
    1. Physical giving
      • Sanitized drop off
      • Safe pick up
    2. Online giving
      • tithe.ly
      • Is the 2.9% fee too much?
  2. Give them a reason why
    1. Formulate an action plan
      • For your congregation
      • For you community
  3. Cast the vision for involvement
    • By volunteering
    • By giving

If this seems like it would be helpful for you and your church watch the video below.

Shared with permission by:

John Albiston
Church Effectiveness Coach
Alberta & NWT District of
The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada

Insurance and Risk Management Questions from Clients

Robertson Hall Insurance – Covid 19 Church and Charity Update Bulletin.  April 17, 2020.

MDS Canada Launches Fund to Help Canadian Congregations Respond to COVID-19

April 28, 2020

MDS Canada Launches Fund to Help Canadian Congregations Respond to COVID-19

 

Spirit of MDS Fund to offer grants for responding to community needs

 

WINNIPEG, Man. – Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada’s operations may be suspended until fall due to the pandemic, but the organization still wants to be active in responding to COVID-19.

“MDS normally responds to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes,” says Ross Penner, Director of Operations for MDS Canada.

“But the pandemic is a disaster for many people in Canada. Since we aren’t able to respond in the usual way, we want to do it through local congregations that are on the front lines of responding to needs.”

To do that, the organization has created The Spirit of MDS Fund to help Canadian churches respond to people in their communities facing hardship due to the virus.

“We recognize many churches today might be cash-strapped because of the pandemic,” says Penner. “Yet they want to respond to needs in their communities. Through the Fund, we want to come alongside to help them be the hands and feet of Jesus for those impacted by COVID-19.”

 Through the $100,000 Fund, which received unanimous support from the MDS Canada board at its April 15 meeting, Canadian congregations can apply for grants of up to $1,000 to help with various COVID-19-related needs.

According to Penner, this could include replenishing a church’s food pantry, helping a family with emergency bills or rent, assisting seniors to connect with family members, or other practical forms of service.

Preference will be given to congregations that are part of an Anabaptist-Mennonite denomination that supports MDS Canada, Penner says, but applications from other churches will be considered.

“I deeply appreciate how MDS is offering to support local congregations with this proposal,” says Doug Klassen, Executive Minister of Mennonite Church Canada. “This models beautifully how the arms of the church can pull back in to help sustain the torso. This is truly in the Spirit of MDS.”

For Cam Priebe, Provincial Director for the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba, the Fund is a “creative and generous way to partner together.”

The Fund is “creative and visionary,” adds Elton DaSilva, National Director of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. “I favour this initiative.”

Through the Fund, Penner says “we want to help local congregations respond in the spirit of MDS—of faith in action, caring relationships, service to those in need, and compassion. It’s a way for us to continue to do our mission through local congregations, the ones who are active on the ground during this time of need.”

Congregations that want to apply for funding can find an application form on the MDS Canada website at www.https://mds.mennonite.net/ or by e-mailing somds@mds.mennonite.net.

 

For more information or an interview, contact Ross Penner at 204-261-1274 or 204-218-4436.

Online Giving Resources and Information

We are sure that many of you are having to make some difficult decisions with regards to finances moving forward. One big reason is that churches rely on giving in order to operate. With people losing their jobs, investments plummeting, and financial uncertainty causing people to scale back spending, churches are seeing a decline in giving. We want to support you to help provide opportunities for congregations to continue to give as much as is possible, given our new reality.

We have compiled a list of some platforms* and services* that you can explore to, hopefully, find a good fit for your church:

  1. TECH SOUP CANADA
    Tech Soup has some great resources available to walk you through accepting online donations in Canada. While you’re at it, you may want to sign your church up with Tech Soup because they have some great deals for non-profits to obtain special pricing on various software and technical needs.
  2. TXT2GIVE
    This service allows people to give to your church by texting or online. There is a demo video on the site, and they offer two different types of plans that vary in price depending on the average amount of giving your church receives (or expects to receive). You would still need to pay for a merchant account or payment gateway (such as Stripe), but this service works well with many different account providers.
  3. SUBSPLASH
    Subsplash Giving Provides App/Text/Online giving options for churches with a percentage-based fee rather than a monthly charge.
  4. TITHE.LY
    They have a wealth of different products to offer (giving/app/event planning/CHMS), including clearly priced giving options.
  5. EASY TITHE
    This giving platform offers app/text/online giving options like the rest. It has pricing based on size of church, and even offers a special rate to church plants. There are many integrations that it includes in order to work with what you already have.

 

*Please note: BCMB does not endorse any of the companies or organizations listed here, nor do we make any guarantees about their services. If you would like to know about our experiences with any of these suggestions (if any), please call or email and we would be happy to share with you.

Order of the Provincial Health Officer-May 26, 2020

TO: PERSONS WHO OWN, OCCUPY, OPERATE OR ARE OTHERWISE RESPONSIBLE FOR AN INDOOR OR OUTDOOR PLACE INCLUDING A PLACE OF WORSHIP, HOTEL, RESTAURANT, HALL, THEATRE, MOVIE THEATRE, DRIVE IN THEATRE, SPORTS ARENA, CEMETERY, FESTIVAL SITE, FAIRGROUND, RECREATION CENTRE, CASINO, PARK, CAMPSITE OR ANY OTHER INDOOR OR OUTDOOR PLACE

Plan to Protect – June 23, 2020
Temporary Wage Subsidy – Updated March 25, 2020

TEMPORARY WAGE SUBSIDY

  • This measure provides eligible employers with a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months;
  • The subsidy is to be 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to certain per employee and per employer maximums;
  • Businesses can benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld from their employees’ remuneration;
  • Remittances for CPP and EI cannot be offset by the subsidy.

Eligibility

  • The employer must meet three criteria:
    • employ one or more individuals in Canada (“eligible employees”);
    • be registered with a business number and a payroll remittance account on March 18, 2020; and,
    • be any of the following:
      • a non-profit organization (exempt from income tax);
      • a registered charity;
      • most Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs);
        • Eligibility requires that the CCPC had a business limit, for purposes of the small business deduction, greater than nil for its most recent tax year ended prior to March 18, 2020;
        • Reduction to the business limit caused by passive income is not considered;
        • A CCPC which had no business limit for other reasons (please check with us for this exception) would not qualify.
      • an individual (this means a proprietorship);
        • the proprietor themselves are NOT eligible; or
      • a partnership;
        • the partners themselves (if individuals) are NOT eligible

Benefits

  • The subsidy will be equal to the least of three amounts, as follows:
    • a fixed maximum for each employer of $25,000;
      • CRA has indicated that this amount is per employer, and is not required to be shared between related or associated employers;
    • a fixed percentage, being 10%, of remuneration paid to eligible employees during the period from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020; or,
    • the number of eligible employees employed during the period from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020, multiplied by a fixed amount, $1,375.
  • To get the maximum benefit of $25,000, the employer must have more than 18 employees with total wages no less than $250,000 during the period.

Application process

  • No formal application process has been released;
  • Source deduction remittances for income tax, but not for CPP or EI, can be reduced for the available subsidy, providing an immediate cash flow benefit to the employer;
  • Presumably, there will be an eventual requirement to account for the subsidy claimed, possibly when T4 slips are prepared and filed in early 2021 – no additional filings have been implemented to date.

Other Notes

  • The legislation does not provide any exclusion for owners of the employer or persons related to the employer, so their remuneration should be eligible.

 

HR and Employment Resources

Here are the resources we've pulled together pertaining to human resources and employment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill C-13 – Updated March 25, 2020

Bill C-13

On March 25, 2020, Bill C-13 An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19was introduced, and received Royal Assent. 

Here are five key items found in that bill which may be of interest to you and/or your employees:

  • Emergency Response Benefit;
    Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – Updated April 15, 2020

    CANADA’S EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)

    Eligibility

    The ERP is now also available for: workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work; and wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who are not eligible for conventional EI benefits.

    The legislation requires the applicant to be an “eligible worker”, which means that they must be:

    • At least 15 years of age;
    • Resident in Canada;
    • Stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
    • Have not voluntarily quit their job
    • Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

    On April 15,  changes announced to the eligibility rules to:

    • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
    • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
    • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

    An online questionnaire will help them direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).

    Benefits

    • A taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19

    Application process

    • Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.
    • Online Application
    • You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041

    Other notes

    • Legislation does not exclude shareholders or their family members as long as they meet the income requirements.
  • Temporary wage subsidy for employers
    Temporary Wage Subsidy – Updated March 25, 2020

    TEMPORARY WAGE SUBSIDY

    • This measure provides eligible employers with a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months;
    • The subsidy is to be 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to certain per employee and per employer maximums;
    • Businesses can benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld from their employees’ remuneration;
    • Remittances for CPP and EI cannot be offset by the subsidy.

    Eligibility

    • The employer must meet three criteria:
      • employ one or more individuals in Canada (“eligible employees”);
      • be registered with a business number and a payroll remittance account on March 18, 2020; and,
      • be any of the following:
        • a non-profit organization (exempt from income tax);
        • a registered charity;
        • most Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs);
          • Eligibility requires that the CCPC had a business limit, for purposes of the small business deduction, greater than nil for its most recent tax year ended prior to March 18, 2020;
          • Reduction to the business limit caused by passive income is not considered;
          • A CCPC which had no business limit for other reasons (please check with us for this exception) would not qualify.
        • an individual (this means a proprietorship);
          • the proprietor themselves are NOT eligible; or
        • a partnership;
          • the partners themselves (if individuals) are NOT eligible

    Benefits

    • The subsidy will be equal to the least of three amounts, as follows:
      • a fixed maximum for each employer of $25,000;
        • CRA has indicated that this amount is per employer, and is not required to be shared between related or associated employers;
      • a fixed percentage, being 10%, of remuneration paid to eligible employees during the period from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020; or,
      • the number of eligible employees employed during the period from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020, multiplied by a fixed amount, $1,375.
    • To get the maximum benefit of $25,000, the employer must have more than 18 employees with total wages no less than $250,000 during the period.

    Application process

    • No formal application process has been released;
    • Source deduction remittances for income tax, but not for CPP or EI, can be reduced for the available subsidy, providing an immediate cash flow benefit to the employer;
    • Presumably, there will be an eventual requirement to account for the subsidy claimed, possibly when T4 slips are prepared and filed in early 2021 – no additional filings have been implemented to date.

    Other Notes

    • The legislation does not provide any exclusion for owners of the employer or persons related to the employer, so their remuneration should be eligible.

     

  • GST tax credit special payment; and,
    Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) – Updated March 25, 2020

    GOODS AND SERVICES TAX CREDIT (GSTC)

    Eligibility

    • Any individual eligible for the quarterly GSTC based on their 2018 personal income tax filings will be eligible for an additional payment in May 2020.
    • Some others may be entitled to a one-time payment, even if their income is too high to receive quarterly payments.

    Benefits

    • The one-time payment will depend on family composition;
    • The benefit is income-tested, and is reduced when “adjusted income” exceeds $37,789;
    • Some individuals or families whose “adjusted income” was too high to qualify for any quarterly GSTC payments will be eligible for the GSTC.

    Application process

    • This benefit is managed under the income tax system;
    • No special application is required as the payment will be calculated by CRA based on income tax returns filed for 2018.

    Other Notes

    • Payment is to be made in May, 2020, or earlier, so it is possible that these payments will be released in April, 2020;
    • Families not presently receiving the GSTC may wish to confirm that CRA has a record of all minor children in their custody to ensure the calculations reflect these individuals;
    • Taxpayers registered with CRA’s MyAccount service can view the children CRA shows under their custody online through that service.
  • Canada child benefit special payment.
    Canada Child Benefit (CCB) – Updated March 25, 2020

    CANADA CHILD BENEFIT (CCB)

    Eligibility

    • All families eligible for monthly CCB benefits based on their 2018 personal income tax returns will receive an extra benefit as part of their May 2020 benefit payment;
    • Some other families with children under age 18 who do not receive monthly benefits will be eligible for a one-time benefit in May.

    Benefits

    • For families receiving monthly benefits, the May benefit will be enhanced by $300 per child under age 18;
    • Families receiving no monthly benefits may receive a portion of this enhancement, depending on their income levels.

    Application process

    • Like the monthly CCB, this benefit is managed under the income tax system;
    • No special application is required as it will be based on income tax returns filed for 2018.

    Other Notes

    • Individuals or families with children under age 18 who are not presently receiving the CCB may want to confirm that all the children in their custody are reflected on CRA’s records, to ensure the appropriate payment is computed.
    • Again, taxpayers registered with CRA’s MyAccount service can view the children CRA shows under their custody online through that service.
Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – Updated April 15, 2020

CANADA’S EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT (CERB)

Eligibility

The ERP is now also available for: workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work; and wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who are not eligible for conventional EI benefits.

The legislation requires the applicant to be an “eligible worker”, which means that they must be:

  • At least 15 years of age;
  • Resident in Canada;
  • Stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • Have not voluntarily quit their job
  • Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

On April 15,  changes announced to the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

An online questionnaire will help them direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).

Benefits

  • A taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Application process

  • Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.
  • Online Application
  • You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041

Other notes

  • Legislation does not exclude shareholders or their family members as long as they meet the income requirements.
CBC News Benefit Hub

One more place you can find a hub of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus.

Covid-19 maximum Layoff Period – July 13, 2020
Employment Standards Regulation amendment – May 5, 2020

Yesterday, the provincial government made the attached Order in Council to amend the Employment Standards Regulation. It redefines “temporary layoff” in the Employment Standards Act for employees that have been laid off because of the COVID-19 emergency.  Instead of a “temporary layoff” being for up to 13 weeks in a period of 20 weeks, it is now for up to 16 weeks in a period of 20 weeks.  (Ignore the reference to “right of recall” – that has to do with unionized employees.)

 

If churches have a need to extend layoffs past 13 weeks, this Order in Council may provide some flexibility in that regard.  (This doesn’t deal with the underlying issue of a risk of employees claiming constructive dismissal because of a lay off.)

Supports for Individuals & Families

Here are some links to resources that may assist individuals and families in your congregations, as well as your employees.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB) – Updated March 25, 2020

CANADA CHILD BENEFIT (CCB)

Eligibility

  • All families eligible for monthly CCB benefits based on their 2018 personal income tax returns will receive an extra benefit as part of their May 2020 benefit payment;
  • Some other families with children under age 18 who do not receive monthly benefits will be eligible for a one-time benefit in May.

Benefits

  • For families receiving monthly benefits, the May benefit will be enhanced by $300 per child under age 18;
  • Families receiving no monthly benefits may receive a portion of this enhancement, depending on their income levels.

Application process

  • Like the monthly CCB, this benefit is managed under the income tax system;
  • No special application is required as it will be based on income tax returns filed for 2018.

Other Notes

  • Individuals or families with children under age 18 who are not presently receiving the CCB may want to confirm that all the children in their custody are reflected on CRA’s records, to ensure the appropriate payment is computed.
  • Again, taxpayers registered with CRA’s MyAccount service can view the children CRA shows under their custody online through that service.
CBC News Benefit Hub

One more place you can find a hub of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus.

Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) – Updated March 25, 2020

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX CREDIT (GSTC)

Eligibility

  • Any individual eligible for the quarterly GSTC based on their 2018 personal income tax filings will be eligible for an additional payment in May 2020.
  • Some others may be entitled to a one-time payment, even if their income is too high to receive quarterly payments.

Benefits

  • The one-time payment will depend on family composition;
  • The benefit is income-tested, and is reduced when “adjusted income” exceeds $37,789;
  • Some individuals or families whose “adjusted income” was too high to qualify for any quarterly GSTC payments will be eligible for the GSTC.

Application process

  • This benefit is managed under the income tax system;
  • No special application is required as the payment will be calculated by CRA based on income tax returns filed for 2018.

Other Notes

  • Payment is to be made in May, 2020, or earlier, so it is possible that these payments will be released in April, 2020;
  • Families not presently receiving the GSTC may wish to confirm that CRA has a record of all minor children in their custody to ensure the calculations reflect these individuals;
  • Taxpayers registered with CRA’s MyAccount service can view the children CRA shows under their custody online through that service.
MDS Canada Launches Fund to Help Canadian Congregations Respond to COVID-19

April 28, 2020

MDS Canada Launches Fund to Help Canadian Congregations Respond to COVID-19

 

Spirit of MDS Fund to offer grants for responding to community needs

 

WINNIPEG, Man. – Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada’s operations may be suspended until fall due to the pandemic, but the organization still wants to be active in responding to COVID-19.

“MDS normally responds to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes,” says Ross Penner, Director of Operations for MDS Canada.

“But the pandemic is a disaster for many people in Canada. Since we aren’t able to respond in the usual way, we want to do it through local congregations that are on the front lines of responding to needs.”

To do that, the organization has created The Spirit of MDS Fund to help Canadian churches respond to people in their communities facing hardship due to the virus.

“We recognize many churches today might be cash-strapped because of the pandemic,” says Penner. “Yet they want to respond to needs in their communities. Through the Fund, we want to come alongside to help them be the hands and feet of Jesus for those impacted by COVID-19.”

 Through the $100,000 Fund, which received unanimous support from the MDS Canada board at its April 15 meeting, Canadian congregations can apply for grants of up to $1,000 to help with various COVID-19-related needs.

According to Penner, this could include replenishing a church’s food pantry, helping a family with emergency bills or rent, assisting seniors to connect with family members, or other practical forms of service.

Preference will be given to congregations that are part of an Anabaptist-Mennonite denomination that supports MDS Canada, Penner says, but applications from other churches will be considered.

“I deeply appreciate how MDS is offering to support local congregations with this proposal,” says Doug Klassen, Executive Minister of Mennonite Church Canada. “This models beautifully how the arms of the church can pull back in to help sustain the torso. This is truly in the Spirit of MDS.”

For Cam Priebe, Provincial Director for the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba, the Fund is a “creative and generous way to partner together.”

The Fund is “creative and visionary,” adds Elton DaSilva, National Director of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. “I favour this initiative.”

Through the Fund, Penner says “we want to help local congregations respond in the spirit of MDS—of faith in action, caring relationships, service to those in need, and compassion. It’s a way for us to continue to do our mission through local congregations, the ones who are active on the ground during this time of need.”

Congregations that want to apply for funding can find an application form on the MDS Canada website at www.https://mds.mennonite.net/ or by e-mailing somds@mds.mennonite.net.

 

For more information or an interview, contact Ross Penner at 204-261-1274 or 204-218-4436.

Virtual or Online Ministry Resources

Here are some ideas that we have collected to help churches find resources to help conduct ministry online or virtually during the period of social distancing or isolation mandated by our government.

BC Restart Plan-Church Guidelines & Considerations – Updated May 29, 2020

BC’s Restart Plan – Church Guidelines & Considerations

 

RESPONSE TO PROVINICAL AND FEDERAL REGULATIONS

DUE TO COVID 19 – May 29, 2020

CCLI Licensing for Online Worship Music Content

CCLI Licensing for Online Worship Music Content

As we work to function in our new reality with respect to social limitations within our churches, we have been so encouraged to see how many of you have embraced change and have done your best to engage your church families through online, virtual means. Though this pandemic has stretched us and presented multiple challenges, our BCMB churches and leaders have responded in fantastic ways and risen to the challenge.

We have noticed that many churches have opted to stream their content, or record it and then make it available to their congregations online in some way. We love this, however we offer a word of caution and urgent action for some of you. It has come to our attention that churches opting to include worship music as part of their online content, need to have an additional CCLI license in order to do so legally.  The CCLI Live Streaming Licence enhancement allows your church to include worship music that was recorded with your worship team using their instruments.  Any worship music or segments for your service that have been copied from another source such as YouTube needs to have permission to be posted to your website from the source (ie YouTube).

We have arranged a group rate which is still available for churches who sign up with us now,  through CCLI which provides a 20% discount off of the regular costs of this license. The cost breakdown is as follows:

License Level Description – based on average church attendance Regular Price Discounted Group Rate
A 25-99 people attending $66.00 $52.80
B 100-199 people attending $69.00 $55.20
C 200-499 people attending $93.00 $74.40
D 500-999 people attending $122.00 $97.60
E 1000-1499 people attending $176.00 $140.80
F 1500-2999 people attending $236.00 $188.80
G 3000-4999 people attending $293.00 $234.40

Costs are for one full year (ie. March 2020-March 2021) and may reduce rates for those churches who have already paid the Regular Rate.

If you would like to provide (or continue to provide) a musical worship portion in your online services, and you would like to take advantage of the Discounted Group Rate,  please email sandra@bcmb.org to find out exact costs for your church and to add your church to the group rate.

Please be diligent in this as we seek to be compliant with the law in all that we do.

Marriage Ceremonies in BC During COVID-19 – Updated Apr.17, 2020

Please see the attached Information Update regarding marriage ceremonies in BC and distribute to all of the religious representatives who are registered by your religious body to solemnize marriages in BC.

 

Religious Representative Registry
Vital Statistics Agency
305-478 Bernard Avenue
Kelowna, BC  V1Y 6N7
Phone: 250-712-7597, Email: VSrelreg@gov.bc.ca
Health Sector Information, Analysis and Reporting Division
Ministry of Health, Province of British Columbia

Meeting with Churches re: Reopening, Recorded Zoom meeting – May 28, 2020
Online Meeting Security

Online Meeting Security

Many of us are trying to find our way in the online world with the need for social distancing and isolation. In doing so, there has been a significant increase in businesses and organizations using online meeting tools such as Zoom, to conduct meetings and connect with coworkers. Along with this increased need for online meeting solutions, there has also been an increase in hacking opportunities and individuals with nefarious intentions. Due to our own experience in this matter, we urge you to familiarize yourself with and investigate your online meeting tool’s security features so that you can protect your meetings from these increased threats.

For those of you who are using Zoom, here is a great article that walks you through some ways to secure your meetings:

How to Secure Your Zoom Meetings From Zoom Bombing Attacks

And this excellent video from LDV Podcast

Online Meeting Solutions

Online Meeting Solutions

As we all navigate this new online world, many churches will be looking for solutions to enable them to continue ministry in an efficient manner. Here is a quick list to help narrow down some of the choices out there.

free accounts allow up to 40 minutes and up to 100 people in your meeting. Reliable if you be sure to follow security measures they suggest.

TECHSOUP CANADA has a discounted rate for Zoom for non-profits. Check it out if you are considering this option.

Requires G Suite. All paid plans include Google Meet. G Suite provides other online solutions that may meet other needs your church may have as well (such as email, cloud storage, and word processing).

This replaces Skype for Business. The free version includes chat, video calling,Team and individual cloud storage, as well as collaboration using Microsoft Office programs.

Run Alpha Sessions Online

If your church is looking for ways to be effective in ministry while finding online solutions that work with meeting restrictions currently in place, consider running an Online Alpha Course. Alpha Canada has provided some great digital solutions as well as a webinar to help you get started.

The following is an unauthorized summary of the May 25th conference call hosted by BC Government for faith leaders.

The following is an unauthorized summary of the May 25th conference call hosted by BC Government for faith leaders.

Premier Horgan, Minister Dix and Health Officer Dr. Bonny Henry were the hosts and presenters for this call.

 

First a note of appreciation: The leaders thanked faith leaders across the province for leading the initial response, as well as the innovation that churches and faith communities have made. The success in limiting the spread has been evident particularly as we compare BC to the situation of other jurisdictions. Still, the leaders are acutely aware of the losses and deaths that have occurred in BC so far.

We’re now in a transition phase but we need to ensure that don’t have to go back to the restrictions put in place back in March. Currently, churches in Georgia have been a source of spreading covid19. Also, recently 150 people came together for a church service in Frankfurt, Germany recently, and 107 people have been infected and some have died.

We still need to limit our number of contacts, and those who are older, undergoing cancer treatments, respiratory illness ought to maintain physical isolation as they are able. Best way to protect ourselves and others is to keep physical distance. Our actions save lives.

Here are some guidelines outlived in the call.

Building Usage for Worship:

  • The current limits of 50 people will be in place at least until the end of the next respiratory (Influenza) season (Spring 2021). Please maintain your current hybrid ways of maintaining services as you are best able.
  • Singing is a high-risk activity that projects droplets more than 2 metres. Limit public singing as much as possible and increase spacing to 12 ft. and/or wear masks.
  • For worship teams (and those who go into record), maintain proper distance and, sanitize used items, like wipe down microphone, as is practical. Although this is a low risk, don’t touch foam covers and then touch your face/rub your eyes. Though surface contamination is still a concern, the close personal interaction is by far the main source of contamination.
  • If you return to in-person worship, along with the limit of 50 person per gathering (which includes staff, worship leaders, ushers, etc.), please keep a 30-day record of who all came to each event with contact info. This allows for tracking in case there is a case and prevents health officials from needing to go public with the info.
  • If you have multiple spaces that could accommodate 50 people at a healthy distance for in-person worship, it is possible to host these simultaneously, making sure there is no interaction between these groups. This means separate dedicated entry and exit points, careful monitoring flow of people, dedicated washrooms, etc. This would be similar to the way a school operates.
  • Look to faith leaders to help navigate ways to offer sacraments in a socially distant manner. Please adapt and modify.
  • Clean washrooms after each use.

 

Alternatives to in-person worship:

  • Please maintain the online options for worship at least for the rest of this year.
  • Henry was asked if small group of up to 15 people could meet at someone’s home. She responded with 2 families could join together, provided this would be the other family they will continue with throughout this time. Can’t be switching which people meet every week. In other words, chose the bubble you’ll be in and stay in that group.
  • Kids still need to stay further apart, not touch others and keep their germs to themselves.
  • Kitchen UsageNo buffets anytime soon. Although risky, meals are permitted provided they are prepared by people at a safe distance, and the meals are either plated or prepackaged.
  • Interjurisdiction Travel for Funerals: There are no current restrictions to prevent someone from another province to attend a funeral BC, provided they are all healthy (if sick, stay away) and follow the same guidelines of limit and distance for worship space as well as aligning with the practices of the funeral homes.
  • Addressing Racism: Premier Horgan informed us that there is currently a non-partisan pledge appeal to stand up to racism denounce racism & hate.
  • Financial Impact to Faith Communities & Charities:There are some existing funds in place as well as some breaks in property taxes, but it might help if you are able to inventory your increased costs due to Covid19.
  • BC survey:There are 330,000 responses to the survey. There is under-representation by seniors and those in South Asian communities. Please encourage parishioners to fill out the survey.

Other items: 

  • If your church has a thrift store, this is better to hold it outside if possible.
  • There is a higher risk for people 65+ and those with underlying conditions.
  • As we’ve seen in other jurisdictions, and outbreak can easily make us lose the progress we’ve made.
Vidflex Faith™ Offer 2020

In response to COVID-19, Vidflex Faith™ is offering churches
3 months free of video hosting and streaming services that integrates online giving.

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