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I am signatory to an open letter in support of Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. The letter was written as a response to the fact that a few churches who are either non-compliant with provincial health orders or in vocal opposition to them appear to have drawn much attention when the majority of churches very much appreciates the work of Dr Henry and Minister Dix.

Alan Campbell from the Richmond News spoke to me about the letter, and Maria Rantanen, another reporter from the News, came to take my picture in front of the church. And reflecting on my conversations with both, I realized what is wrong with churches defying or arguing against provincial health orders. It is not only that they would willingly endanger members of their churches and of the wider community, but that their disregard for public health orders is rooted in protecting the privilege the church once held. In their opinion, the church should be exempt from public health orders simply because it is the church.

That is wrong not only because of the health risks it bears but also because it assumes that the church is here to assert rights and power. But any time the church makes a play for power, it forsakes its mission because the role of the church is to serve.

When Jesus calls people to follow him, he calls people to be servants. The rulers of this world lord it over you, but it be not so among you. But whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45)

So, this is not about my rights but about how I can best love my neighbour. And right now that is by staying home.

Christoph Reiners

Pastor Christoph was ordained in Vancouver in 1994 and has served congregations in Winnipeg and Abbotsford before coming to Our Saviour in the fall of 2016.