On Monday, October 26 the Town of Okotoks crossed a threshold of local COVID-19 infections that has triggered the implementation of a bylaw requiring masks to be worn in all public spaces, including churches.
Though OAC is technically in the County of Foothills, Okotoks is in our name and is home for the majority of our church family. Therefore, beginning immediately, OAC will require masks to be worn in all of our public spaces for all events and activities hosted in our church building, including Sunday morning during your time in the building. In this decision we believe we are honouring and standing with sister churches in Okotoks and Calgary (Romans 12:10), we are being submissive to the spirit of the statements from provincial and municipal governing authorities over us (Romans 13:1-7), and are attempting to safeguard the wholistic health and wellness of one another (Romans 14), based on the prominent medical opinions at this time.
The scriptures are very practical and helpful, in the principles they give, which provide guidance for us in this matter. The Apostle Paul tells the church to "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour." (Romans 12:10, ESV) He goes on to warn believers to be subject to the authorities that govern us (Romans 13:1-7)—particularly astounding about this passage, is that his readers were living under an oppressive, Roman dictatorship. Regarding the differences of opinion that exists within the church, Paul tells us to "Submit to one another, out of reverence for Christ." (Ephesians 5:21, NIV) He also warned the Roman believers to be sensitive and care for the conscience of those who think differently about matters that seem unclear to them (Romans 14). In our interactions with one another we are to build one another up, getting rid of dissentious feelings, words and behaviour (Eph. 4:29-31). Listen to how Paul speaks of this... "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Eph. 4:32-5:2, NIV)
We appreciate your understanding, flexibility, and co-operation in these matters, as we continue to follow Jesus together in these unique times we find ourselves in.
Rev. Terry B. Lee