St. Andrew’s WENT ZOOM – March 29, 2020

We had our SECOND ZOOM worship experience on Sunday with over 50 participants. Rev. John offered another spiritual practice for us to consider – Visio Divina (Divine Seeing). By using a photo, image, or just by looking around, one can seek to connect with the Divine and one’s deeper stirrings. Here’s the service if you want to review it again or watch for the first time:

St. Andrew’s Guelph Worship Experience – March 29, 2020

St. Andrew’s Goes ZOOM – Sunday March 29

We are looking forward to our SECOND ZOOM Worship experience. This week, I’ll be guiding us through the spiritual practice Visio Divina – adding to your spiritual toolkit during these challenging times.

For those of you joining us by phone on Sunday, here’s the picture that we will be focusing on.

As we did last week, I’ll be starting the ZOOM gathering at 10AM so that folks can have some informal connection and get acquainted with the technology.

At 10:30AM, we will begin our worship time and the recording so that we can post it at our YouTube Channel on Tuesday morning. You are welcome to re-watch it and pass it along to others who might find it meaningful.

Following worship (shortly after 11AM), we will keep the meeting open for another time of informal connection and then say our goodbyes for another week.

Here are the details of how to get connected on Sunday Morning. Remember you can either click the link below from your computer or device… or you can call one of the numbers below to join by phone. Video is optional – just remember if it is on… we can see you and everything behind you. 😉

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 201 343 581

One tap mobile
+17789072071,,201343581# Canada
+14388097799,,201343581# Canada

Dial by your location
        +1 778 907 2071 Canada
        +1 438 809 7799 Canada
        +1 587 328 1099 Canada
        +1 647 374 4685 Canada
        +1 647 558 0588 Canada
Meeting ID: 201 343 581

See you on Sunday Morning!

Thursday Morning Bible Study – March 26 at 10AM

Looking forward to our SECOND Thursday Morning Bible Study by ZOOM.

Join us by clicking on the link below or calling one of the numbers.

Our Text for this week is Matthew 7: 13 – 29. See you then, Rev. John.

Topic: Thursday Morning Bible Study
Time: Mar 26, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 237 749 381

One tap mobile
+17789072071,,237749381# Canada
+14388097799,,237749381# Canada

Dial by your location
        +1 778 907 2071 Canada
        +1 438 809 7799 Canada
        +1 587 328 1099 Canada
        +1 647 374 4685 Canada
        +1 647 558 0588 Canada
Meeting ID: 237 749 381

St. Andrew’s Goes ZOOM – Sunday March 22, 2020

Well, we had our FIRST EVER virtual worship service in our almost 200 year history. Around 50 people joined us on Sunday at 10:30AM from their homes to share in an unique worship experience. I broadcasted from my Office at St. Andrew’s. We were able to record it and are delighted to share the YouTube link with you:

I talked about the ancient practice of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading). You can find a link to a brief primer on the practice here:

Thanks for joining us… or connecting with us via YouTube this week. Feel free to leave us a comment on the video to encourage us as we serve in this new way. Special thanks to Peter Devries for co-hosting with me and taking care of any technical issues along the way.

Check back on our website, Facebook page, or our regular emails (subscribe below if you are not receiving them) to keep up to date with what’s happening at St. Andrew’s Guelph.

UPDATE: Friday March 20

Reminder: There will be NO Worship Services at St. Andrew’s on Sunday March 22 and March 29. Please continue to check our website, these emails, our Facebook Page and CJOY/Magic 106.1 for any future cancellations.

In Person worship might be cancelled but we can still worship TOGETHER (at a distance)! 

Join us on Sunday at 10:30AM using Zoom – 
for a LIVE worship experience with ME (Rev. John). It will be simple but worshipful and you will have the opportunity to interact on the comments section of the site. Using Zoom allows us to record the service so that we can send it in the days that follow to those who weren’t able to join us. 

To join us on ZOOM, simply click on the link below or call one of the numbers to hear the Service:

Topic: Sunday Morning Worship @ St. Andrew’s Guelph
Time: Mar 22, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 956 852 340

One tap mobile
+14388097799,,956852340# Canada
+15873281099,,956852340# Canada

Dial by your location
        +1 438 809 7799 Canada
        +1 587 328 1099 Canada
        +1 647 374 4685 Canada
        +1 647 558 0588 Canada
        +1 778 907 2071 Canada
Meeting ID: 956 852 340

The plan will be that I will open the meeting at 10AM. You can join then and connect with folks and learn how to use the platform. Peter Devries will be helping me – monitoring the chat for technical issues, and recording the worship service portion, etc.

At 10:30AM, I will start the worship service. You are welcome to join at that time. It will be an annotated service, informal, with prayers, Scripture, an adapted sermon and a blessing. 

After the service, at about 11AM, I will remain on and allow for any further social connections to occur through video, speech or chat.

Don’t forget your favourite beverage – you are at home after all!

You can choose if you want to be seen through video or not, it isn’t necessary. You can also choose to simply call in using the phone and listen in that way by calling one of the numbers listed in the ZOOM invitation. We are experimenting here and will try our best to provide some Spiritual refreshment for the week that was. Hope to be with you on Sunday morning.

In addition, our friends in Christ – Two Rivers Church – are encouraging their community to share an adapted “Daily Office” for prayer. They are committing to pray throughout the day a set prayer (as the ancient church did and still occurs in some Christian communities). Here’s a link to their website that outlines the times of day and the prayers that are set for each time. May we gain strength and courage in the knowledge that we are united in prayer throughout the day. You can find it here:

See you on Sunday at 10ish… 1030 for our worship service on ZOOM.

Grace and peace,

Experiment #1: Thursday Morning Bible Study by Zoom

Our First Experiment – Thursday Morning Bible Study on Zoom
I’ve signed up for a FREE Zoom account – it allows 40 minute online meetings with up to 100 people. 
So THIS Thursday at 10AM, join me and maybe 100 people (ha!) for our FIRST ever St. Andrew’s Guelph Thursday Morning Bible Study. Let’s play with this amazing technology together. Be sure to use your computer – you can choose to use the video option or not. Here’s the invitation and the link below.

John Borthwick is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Thursday Morning Bible StudyTime: Mar 19, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting

You will need to click on this link around 10AM or slightly before. And then we will dig into the Scripture for the day.

We will be talking about Matthew 6:19 – 7:12.

Here’s a link to the text:
And just to say, this was the text that I was scheduled to speak on this coming week! The Spirit moves in mysterious ways.
Stay connected (at a distance), calm and healthy.

Grace and peace, John.

UPDATE – Worship Cancelled for March 22 and March 29 (COVID-19)

Good morning all,

Thank you for your calm and measured response to the crisis we are all facing at this time. I have appreciated your messages of support and encouragement as well as your offers to assist those in need in the coming weeks. There was a modest crowd in attendance at our worship service on Sunday who followed all the appropriate precautions and maintained social distance. The solidarity demonstrated by our congregation is inspirational. Now, I ask for that same solidarity as we take the next best step based on the information we have at the moment.

EFFECTIVE TODAY (Monday March 16), we will CANCEL worship services scheduled to be held on March 22 and March 29. It is our hope that we may be able to worship together again on Sunday April 5 (Palm Sunday). However, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed if today’s decision needs to be extended.

In addition, the Board of Managers has decided that (1) the church building is closed to outside groups and (2) the church building remain open for use by staff for their on-going duties. At this point, most of our outside groups have cancelled or postponed their gatherings for the time being anyway. 

With regard to St. Andrew’s activities, this decision means that there will be NO Choir practices or Thursday Morning Bible Study during this period. The Lenten Seminar scheduled for March 28 will also be POSTPONED.

I reiterate my encouragement to reach out to each other and staying connected. To that end, Shainna will be checking messages and be available during this time Tuesday through Friday from 930AM – 1130AM. If you are able to assist others, do let Shainna know. And if you are in need of assistance (picking up groceries, prescriptions, etc), please call Shainna so that she can put you in contact with someone who has offered to assist. The Church Office phone number is: (519) 822-4772 or via email: Obviously, this is not an emergency service – if you need immediate assistance please contact the appropriate services.

I will be working on offering some spiritual content and connection via our website ( and Facebook page ( Below is the video of the message that I delivered on Sunday related to our response to COVID-19. I’m looking forward to the chance to experiment a little with this technology. I hope you will enjoy it as we play!  

Message from Rev. John Borthwick regarding COVID-19 and our response (turned into a second sermon)

Thanks again for your support as we make these decisions for the sake of our members and the wider community. It is important for us to do our part to #FlattentheCurve as we are being encouraged by the Health authorities.

Keep informed but not overwhelmed. Do keep up to date through the WDG Public Health website (, the City of Guelph ( and the Government of Canada ( Check in on these sources regularly but again, not obsessively. Take time to do something else – get outside, watch a favourite show/movie, read a book – The Bible (you’ve got time!), sit quietly, call a friend, paint, create, clean up… lots to do!

Stay connected (at a distance) and stay healthy.Continue to be kind and compassionate to one another.We will get through this together with God’s help.

Grace and peace, John.

Rev. John Borthwick Minister | St. Andrew’s Guelph

Update on COVID-19 Response

I am providing a follow-up to yesterday’s messaging around COVID-19 and the intentional steps that we are taking to ensure that our members are safe, and that we are seeking to respond in compassionate and risk-informed preventative ways. Yesterday’s announcement that schools would be closed for a further two weeks after March Break certainly intensified people’s anxiety about this public health crisis. It seems that many workplaces are encouraging their employees to work from home and are postponing conferences and in person meetings. And we are watching images of long lines and bare shelves at our grocery stores. We are all concerned and are seeking to respond in the best way possible to prevent further spread of the virus and maintain a sense of calm.
To that end, having consulted with our Leadership, we will continue as outlined in yesterday’s messaging. We will plan to hold worship THIS Sunday unless advised by authorities otherwise. Please check our website ( for information if we are required to close.
To prevent the spread of the virus, please as highlighted by WDG Public Health (

  • If you have traveled to infected areas, limit your contact with others and stay home;
  • If you have any symptoms, stay home;
  • Wash your hands;
  • Don’t touch your face;
  • Keep your distance from others (1-2 metres);
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces regularly.

For St. Andrew’s, as noted yesterday, we will practice the following:

  1. We will interact with one another with smiles, bows and waves, and words. We will refrain from any physical contact like hugs or handshakes;
  2. We will not pass the Offering Plates but will encourage attendees to deposit their offering in the plates before and after;
  3. We will not have Communion until June 7 as scheduled;
  4. We will practice SOCIAL DISTANCING. We will sit 1 – 2 metres apart in the sanctuary. “Give Each Other Some Space!”

This morning, I’m adding that effective TODAY:

  • There will be NO Church School and Nursery;


  • There will be NO Coffee Hour.

This change will be in place for three (3) weeks. It would be our intention to return to normal on Sunday April 5. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and make further decisions as we become more informed.
Our staff are taking extra precautions and ensuring that our building is being cleaned and sanitized regularly. We appreciate their diligence on this. 
So at this time, we are NOT cancelling worship or closing our building. We are following the guidelines and recommendations from our public health authorities and will continue to do so. We believe that those who use our building through the week will be doing the same for their groups. However, if you personally would rather not attend worship or programs or groups at St. Andrew’s for a time then please do what you need to do in order to feel comfortable.

Two final things: 

1. At Sunday worship, while I will be offering prayers related to the COVID-19 pandemic – it will not be the focus of my attention. In my opinion and experience, (especially with the 24 hour news cycle) we need to think about and set our minds on other things for a time. I look forward to sharing some more thoughts on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 6. The service and sermon are recorded on Sundays and will be posted on our website and the Facebook page in the days following;
2. As we enter this period of ‘social distancing’ and isolation, it is REALLY IMPORTANT that we take extra steps to maintain contact with each other. I’d encourage you to call or email members of our congregation (and neighbours) to see how they are doing. Take the Church Directory out one day and perhaps call people whom you’ve never met before and just say that you go to St. Andrew’s too and you wanted to see how they were doing. Certainly, keep regularly in touch with those whom you do know well. It will be a welcome change from duct cleaners and Revenue Agency calls. Finally, some of our older members may need assistance – maybe they need groceries or supplies – please offer to help them if you are able.
We continue to be in prayer for all who are impacted by this situation. We will get through this together by making risk-informed decisions, taking appropriate precautions to limit the spread of the virus, and being kind and compassionate to each other as we do so. 
May God’s peace and patience rest upon us as we navigate the road ahead.

Grace and peace,


Awareness about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Attached is a letter from The Presbyterian Church in Canada regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

I’ve also included some advice from Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health (
As you will note – the risk of infection is considered low but it is important to be aware of the advice from the experts (not Social Media) and be reminded to follow common infection control protocols. 
We continue to pray for all those impacted by this virus. 
Grace and peace, Rev. John.

Risk to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph residents

The risk of infection is considered low. Those most at risk are:

  • Individuals experiencing symptoms AND any of the following within 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:
    • Travel to an impacted area*
    • Close contact** with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, or
    • Close contact** with a person who is ill and has been to an impacted area.

*Impacted Area: includes all countries/areas with a Government of Canada Travel Health Advisory for COVID-19. As of March 1, 2020 this includes:

  • Northern Italy
  • Iran
  • China
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore

The list of countries is updated regularly, please refer to Government of Canada Travel Health Advisory for COVID-19 website for the most updated information on impacted areas.

**Close contact: A person who provided care for the patient, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact OR who lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact with a probable or confirmed case while the case was ill.


Individuals can have the virus and not show symptoms for up to 14 days (the exact incubation period is still under investigation). Symptoms need to be paired with a trip to an impacted area* or coming in close contact with someone who has traveled to an impacted area* in the past 14 days prior to onset of illness to be a suspected case of COVID-19.

Symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia

People most at risk from the novel coronavirus include the young, elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

Instructions for individuals who have recently travelled from China or an impacted area*:

Individuals who have returned from Hubei province in China, including Wuhan City:

  • Within 24 hours of arriving in Canada, contact WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752 or after hours call 1-877-884-8653.
  • Stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including other residents of the home, for 14 days from the date of travel from Hubei province.
  • Individuals who develop symptoms (fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing) should call WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752 for further instruction.

Individuals who have returned from an impacted area*:

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms (fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after travelling from an impacted area*.
  • Individuals who develop symptoms (fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing) should call WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752 or after hours call 1-877-884-8653 for further instruction.

If you feel sick during travel from an impacted area*, inform a flight attendant or a Canadian border services officer.

IN AN EMERGENCY: Individuals with severe respiratory symptoms should call 911 and advise the operator of your recent travel or visit your nearest emergency department.

If you have been asked to self-isolate

Follow the advice of your healthcare provider or public health. If you have questions, or you start to feel worse, contact your healthcare provider, Telehealth (1-877-797-0000) or our novel coronavirus call centre (ext. 7006). Here are some guidelines to follow if you are asked to self-isolate (PDF, 2 pages).

How to prevent infection

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to practice general infection prevention control. This includes:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

How to wash your hands

  1. Wet your hands.
  2. Make bubbles/lather with soap
  3. Sing the ABCs or wash for 20 seconds.
  4. Rince your hands.
  5. Dry your hands.