To the leadership of Springs Church,
On Friday May 21st, Springs Church has [AGAIN] garnered a lot of social media attention and sparked [outrage] in our city and province regarding [BLATANT VIOLATIONS] of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions implemented by public health authorities.
Much of the rhetoric coming from Springs church centres on the right of Christians to worship under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You have [PREVIOUSLY] claimed that your drive-in services are safe and your right to gather in-person to worship outweighs the Province of Manitoba’s right to restrict gatherings for the sake of public health.
But the photos of the recent indoor, maskless graduation celebration from Springs College reveal a complete disregard of public health orders and the incredibly serious situation in our province’s ICUs.
Your actions during the past days of disobeying public health orders in the name of freedom are not an example of following Christ.
Your insistence on the right to [GATHER] is not in keeping with Christ’s command to love our neighbour.
Your actions disregard the dangers of COVID-19 in our community and that they only serve to create [EVEN MORE] potential harm for our healthcare system and healthcare workers already pushed beyond capacity.
Your insistence on individual freedoms over collective responsibility are an affront to the many individuals, families, friends, community groups and other faith communities who are refraining from gathering for the sake of our neighbours.
Your focus on your own perceived loss (of not being able to gather for a short time) to be offensive to the MORE THAN 1000 Manitobans who have died and their families who have lost loved ones as a result of this pandemic.
Therefore you are called upon to take the following actions:
That you repent of your actions and publicly apologize for putting your individual right to [GATHER] ahead of the good of our community.
That you publicly encourage your church members to remain at home while public health restrictions remain in place.
If and when these actions are undertaken, it would be our hope that they be a first step towards reconciliation between Springs and your sibling communities of faith in Manitoba.
Finally, knowing that we are not the first people of faith to live through a pandemic, we offer you [AGAIN] the following quote from Martin Luther, written in 1527, about how Christians ought to respond to the Black Death:
Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid persons and places where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.
*This letter also applies to any congregation refusing to follow public health orders under the guise of religious persecution *
Yours in Christ
The Rev. Erik Parker
A previous letter to springs church can be found here.
Note: The previous letter invited signatories to add their names, whereas with this letter I did not specifically invite other clergy to add names. Many have indicated a desire to sign this letter as well, but certainly not all.
11 thoughts on “ANOTHER Open Letter to Springs Church Re: Maskless Indoor Grad Parties”
Pastor Erik, I thought your response was bang on and needed to be said [yet again]. The actions of the leadership of Springs is insulting to those of us trying to stick to the rules. It is also an insult to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who have to deal directly or indirectly with COVIDs impact. It is also an insult to those other front line workers (grocery store employees, first responders, etc) who have no choice but show up to work, putting the health and safety of themselves and their family at risk. Thank you.
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Over here in Alberta we’ve had our share of churches being selfish like this. I’ve been emphasizing where/when I can that this isn’t an issue of religious freedom: banning gatherings for public health reasons is not the same as saying your religion is unwelcome in society.
My letter in the Lethbridge Herald last month: https://lethbridgeherald.com/commentary/letters-to-the-editor/2021/04/15/closure-of-edmonton-church-not-an-issue-of-religious-freedom/
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Remove Springs Church education privileges with the awareness that they are placing minors at risk ! .
Just came across this open letter of yours pastor and I completely agree. For 5 years, I’ve been an attendee at Springs Church services every week and since this pandemic hit, I have no problem with the drive-in services because our family remains in the car with no close contact to others while being able to be present in the church gathering. Thus, I am still on the fence whether Springs response last Fall makes sense or not. Since then, I decided to just attend via online even if we can go for a drive in because I recognize that this church still made a violation against a public health order at that time. My family members are frontline workers, so we understand and feel the need for such restrictions to help curb the spread of the virus.
I often wonder what is Springs’ stand about covid, vaccines and mandates these days. I was looking for answers and after months of blindly hearing what the leader of this congregation has to say, Pastor Leon finally give me a clear answer to my question through his Return to Reason series. I listened and carefully reflected and researched on his opinions and arguments about these heated topics, and I was so disappointed after coming into conclusion that he is indirectly telling the members of the church that vaccines are unsafe while presenting a false claim from an immunologist who was debunked by many other experts in the same field. He is also invoking that mandates are an assault to freedom, quoting statements/opinions from personalities who are speaking in the context of the first and second wave of this pandemic. With the spread of the delta variant which is affecting more children right now, it is imperative to consider the current circumstances and weigh in if such opinions will create a dangerous pretence.
Through the course of the whole presentation (5 videos to date), I find that it quotes biblical principles which fits their argument but failed to weigh in what Romans 13:1-7 had taught us, and most of all, Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. If we are a true follower of Jesus, isn’t this commandment is the greatest, second to loving God? And sacrificing our convenience for our neighbour’s safety is what I think would align to what Jesus will do. It also became clear to me this time that Springs Church leadership does not recognize that this pandemic is real and that the virus can be fatal and that vaccines are unsafe, and this is what I deem most members are believing as well. I was so disappointed to realize this and made me decide to leave this church for good.
I know that there might be members of the church who might attack me for this but I am just speaking from my conscience and understanding. I would request if you can check this video series and share us what you think. I am concerned that the opinions/arguments in these videos can lead to dangerous misinformation and misinterpretation. Thank you and God bless you.
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