When are We Opening for Worship?




July 18, 2020

Re: Restarting Sunday Morning Services

Dear Congregation,

This week the leadership team met to discuss the restart of Sunday morning services.

Reviewing the criteria that we set for a potential restart (the results of our congregational survey, current provincial guidance, the experiences of other churches, and an internal risk assessment) we have decided to wait a little bit longer before re-opening.

The congregational survey clearly told us that we need to proceed with caution. This week a “COVID19 watch” was declared for Calgary Centre (our church neighbourhood). While a few city churches have restarted we think we need a bit more time to clearly assess the pandemic implications of these starts. While our internal risk assessment has shown us that we can open, we’ve decided that a slow move in this direction is our best way forward.

To that end we will continue with online services — in the current format — for the next few weeks. During this time, we will finish building our live-streaming technology. Once we are able to live-stream, the plan is to move our service recordings back into the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. This will happen sometime in August. At this point you’ll be able to access a live service (via a link) at 9:30 am on Sundays, and a recorded service on YouTube (shortly after the live service ends).

The plan is to do a couple of live services with nobody in attendance initially (so that we can work out the technological kinks and give our welcoming team some time to practice our COVID19 protocols). Once this is done, we will slowly open up the service to attendees in subsequent weeks.

During this time, we will continue to weigh all of our criteria for re-opening. If everything looks good, we will reopen.

Of course, all of this is playing out in a very fluid context. Ultimately the pandemic will set our timing. As church leaders we are committed to continuing to listen and discern our best way forward.

Thank you for all of your input in this process. We pray that God will continue to keep you in this unsettled time.

Your Marda Loop Church Leadership Team


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June 11, 2020

Re: The future of Sunday morning services

Dear Church Member,

Last week the church leadership team met and began to discuss the possibility of a transition from online services to live services in our facility.

Like many of you we are eager to reconnect in a safe and responsible way.

To that end we have tentatively chosen July 26th as a possible restart date — subject to the following conditions:

  1. We will continue to follow and respond to the most current provincial guidance and adjust our plan/timing accordingly.


  1. We will not be the first church in our city to ‘restart’. Before we go ahead, we will want to hear from several other churches re: their re-opening experiences and be assured that they have been able to successfully avoid a COVID19 outbreak and re-open in a meaningful way (the last thing we want to do is be known as that Marda Loop church that started too soon).


  1. Next week we will be sending a survey to each of you so that we can hear what you think about re-starting (re: gathering restrictions, timing, etc) — especially if you’re a senior. The province currently recommends that churches consider “ways other than in-person attendance to include/support people who are at greater risk of severe disease, including people over 65 years of age and people with chronic medical conditions.”


  1. We will also be doing an internal ‘risk assessment’ in relation to the timing and process of re-opening.

This is the plan we will be implementing over the next month. We look forward to hearing from you via the survey. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the church office (or a leadership team member).

Our hope and prayer is that the virus will continue to abate, the province will be able to further loosen restrictions and many churches in our city will successfully be able to re-gather in the weeks and months ahead.

By choosing a July 26th date and preparing as though we will open on that date, we will be ready for any eventuality.

May God continue to keep you in this socially distant time.


 Your Marda Loop Church Leadership Team












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Good morning and welcome, Church! Today John is speaking on the wilderness, breaking down what it looks like for us walking through this wilderness season right now. The selection of songs I have laid out looks a little bit different than it typically does. Many of these songs don’t have any lyrics attached and while I usually try to only include one or two unfamiliar songs, it is likely that many of these songs will be new to you today. I have chosen the following songs in the hopes that they will aid you in this time of wandering through the wilderness and hopefully give a new perspective on the waiting and the hardship that is found in such times.

Speak to the Silence – United Pursuit 

Not Yet – Chris Renzema 

There is much to be said about what the wilderness is and what it does. One of the things that we can see so clearly right now is that such experiences force us to wait and be still. Psalm 27:13-14 says “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (ESV). These two songs remind me, and I hope they remind you, that there is beauty to be found in the waiting and in the silence. In the sermon, John says that God is at work in the wilderness too because the wilderness still belongs to God. Remember that God is in the waiting just as much as he is on the other side of it.

Desert Song – Hillsong Worship 

One of my favourite books in the Old Testament is Habakkuk. Though it is short, the book displays Habakkuk’s own desert, or wilderness experience. In this book we see the change in Habakkuk as he moves from questioning God to submission and faith. Habakkuk 3:17-19 says

“though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on high places (ESV).

In the midst of the wilderness, Habakkuk finds the beauty and rest in the Lord. Let us also seek God’s presence and sovereignty in the midst of our wilderness.

Below My Feet – Mumford & Sons  

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free 

“Below My Feet” isn’t a typical worship song, but I hope you can perceive the presence of God in the wilderness of Marcus Mumford. The band wrote this song after Marcus’s father died and it describes the process of moving through grief and reconciling God’s presence in the midst of loss. One of the lines says “I was told by Jesus all is well / so all must be well” and it is said with some cynicism. How can we reconcile the dissonance of God being over and in everything while suffering and hardship are also in many things? Though we cannot always understand, we must remember that God is at work in the wilderness, in the middle of the suffering and the hardship. Let us seek to name and identify God in the hardships of the wilderness, so that when change and renewal come we can rejoice and know that God was at work in trials and the triumphs, the highs and the lows, the wilderness and the times of plenty. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14, ESV).


If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format, we’ve got you covered there too! All of these songs are also available on our Spotify playlist so that you can worship as you go about your week. Our playlist is updated every week so that the songs I’ve posted to go along with the message will be right at the top of the queue. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist 

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Good morning Church, and welcome back to our online service! Before I get into what John will be talking about in his message, I would like to say happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in our midst. Whether you are currently a mother, a soon-to-be mother, hope to be a mother, have biological children or otherwise, I pray that those people around you would be able to love and bless you today and this week as a thank you for all the ways that you have loved and blessed us. This morning John’s message is about the parable of the immune system and he is talking about God’s providence in our own bodies. God has truly put us together in incredible ways, so as we worship this morning let us turn our thoughts and our hearts towards our amazing Creator. If you would like to sing along with any of these songs, the lyrics are either right on the screen or down in the descriptions, so please feel free to worship in that way if you are comfortable.

Seek First – Ben Smith & Jason Upton 

Indescribable – Chris Tomlin 

Our first two songs this morning remind us of God’s works and his provision for us in those things that he has made. Not only does God provide for us in times of trouble and in our urgent needs, but he is continually providing for us in the minutia and the mundane. Yes, God meets us in our needs and provides in some truly extravagant ways, but when we stop to think about the little things that make it possible to think and breathe and walk, the things that we see as mundane can become vibrant and awe-inspiring too.

Over and Over – Influence Music 

My favourite line from the song “Over and Over” is in verse two. The line says “eternal perfection in each miracle, / surpassing the wonder of what you’ve done before.” I especially like this phrase because it reminds us that God was and is a creator, continually working and creating good things that display his majesty. Paul says “for by him all things were created, in the heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV).

Give Thanks To God – Housefires 

So Will I – Hillsong Worship 

In Psalm 139, David says,

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV).

I pray that as you go out into this next week you will be able to see yourself and others in a renewed way. It is miracle, in the most literal sense, that we are alive. Let us strive to treat each other as grand creations and masterpieces created by the most renowned artist.


As always, all of these songs are also available at the top of our Spotify playlist, so if you would like to have these songs in a playlist format for as you go about your week you can check out the link below. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist  






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This morning John will be talking about his experience of seeing God in the Albert Camus book, The Plague. As most of you will know by now, our aim is to be a Church that is constantly engaging God everywhere, and this week John is helping us to engage God in literature. Whether you are visiting us virtually for the first time or you have been a part of this congregation for many years, I pray that today God will meet you where you are and that his truth will fill you with hope and peace. If you haven’t already watched this week’s message, it will be posted both here on our website and on our YouTube channel so don’t forget to check it out!

No One But You – Hillsong Worship 

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman 

As we begin our worship, these first songs can help us to quite our minds and focus on the things above. There are always so many things that are competing for our attention, and especially in a time with so much uncertainty there are even more things to fill our thoughts. Fortunately, there is nothing wrong with having many thoughts and questions, and many of these things that are taking our attention are important things to think about. But in the midst of these things, let us keep God at the forefront of our minds, and right now I encourage you to let all other things fade into the background as we focus on God alone in our time of worship.

Give Thanks To God – Housefires   

In times of trouble and uncertainty it can be easy to focus on the darkness. As you listen to Give Thanks To God, I hope that you can allow your heart and your mind to be turned away from the dark things and focus on the light. This song walks through a few of the many aspects of God’s character that we can be thankful for. I encourage you to focus on truth this morning. The truth found in Camus’s book that John will be talking about, the truth found in these songs, and the truth that is the Word of God written in scripture.

Your Glory / Nothing But The Blood – All Sons and Daughters

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music 

Psalm 145 says, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness” (Psalm 145:5-7, ESV). Today and as we go into this next week, let us meditate and dwell on God’s wondrous works. When we are tempted to despair, let us declare his greatness instead. Though the situation may seem bleak, let us continue to engage God everywhere together, and let us seek to name God in books, and songs, and people alike.

As always, all of these songs are also available at the top of our Spotify playlist, so if you would like to have these songs in a playlist format for as you go about your week you can check out the link below. Thanks, and God bless!

Spotify Playlist 

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Good morning and welcome to Church! Maybe you didn’t notice, but this morning I am using “capital-C-Church.” While we are still not meeting in a “small-c-church” building, we are just as much the body of Christ now as we ever have been, and as one body of Christ we are the Church. Today Pastor John is preaching on worry, so whether you are reading this blog and listening to these songs before or after hearing the message, I pray that your heart would be quieted and that through worshiping in this way you will find peace and comfort in Christ today.

Good Grace – Hillsong United 

So Will I – Hillsong Worship 

In Isaiah 41 verse 10 the Lord says “fear not, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” As we draw in to our time of worship today, I encourage you to think about our God who is in and through all things. “Fear not” is the phrase that is repeated most in the Bible, and it doesn’t appear so frequently because we are being commanded to stop being scared or worried or anxious, it is actually said as an assurance. We don’t have to be afraid, and we know this because scripture says that the same God who spoke the universe into being is holding us securely in his mighty hands.

Lay It All Down – United Pursuit 

Psalm 55:22 says “cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” and in Matthew, Jesus says “come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV). We have been invited to enjoy a peace and a hope and a joy that is unlike any other. The peace, hope, and joy found in Christ are fulfilling and lasting, and this offer is continually extended to us.

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad 

Yes I Will – Vertical Worship

My prayer for us this week is that we would continue to grow into the good things that God has in store for us; that we would be ever increasing in our ability to place our trust in Jesus and that we would continually be casting our worries at his feet. Though we don’t know what is coming next, we know that our God is working all things for his glory. As we go into this next week, let us do so with a renewed sense of hope and peace and joy.


If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format as you go about your week, our Spotify playlist is updated weekly and always has the songs for the current week at the top of the list! Thanks, and God bless.

Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7EB9xkQQtZJcMRAzV5hrdO




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With our situation ever evolving, I hope that you all have managed to find rest and peace in Christ this week. As we delve into more psychology this week, I have chosen some songs to focus our attention on God our father and our comforter. Michelle’s message is breaking down more of the psychology and science of our brain and what happens when we are confronted with things that elicit a fear response. So, as you listen to and perhaps sing the following songs, I encourage you to be thinking about who God is and how unchanging he is in the face of fear.

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/IvSuGyJQ6oM

Your Glory / Nothing But The Blood – All Sons and Daughters – https://youtu.be/eQssA0HKYxE

As always, it is important to remember why we worship and who we are worshiping. “Goodness of God” is a statement of truth and a commitment of our aspiration to worship God in all things. In the face of fear, in the darkest valleys, and on the highest mountains, God is good and God is faithful. The second song, a medley of “Your Glory” and “Nothing but the Blood,” reminds us that more than simply being good, when we fail to see the beauty in the things around us we can always see the beauty in God’s sovereignty and glory as well as in Christ’s sacrifice for us. The link to “Your Glory / Nothing but the Blood” doesn’t have any lyrics attached, so while you are welcome to sing along as you learn the words or search for a video with lyrics attached, I encourage you to sit and listen to the words and internalize them as a prayer: “Lord, may I always behold your glory with awe and thankfulness.”

I Will Fear No More – The Afters –https://youtu.be/wMmmbJlWhtk

If you watched this week’s sermon before reading this blog post, you will recognize this song as the one I sang as our response to Michelle’s message. I don’t want to step on Michelle’s toes and speak too much about what fear is and how we can respond to it, but as you sing this song I want to draw special attention to the line in the second verse that says “when the wind and wave are coming, you shelter me.” In the midst of dark and uncertain times, it can be easy to believe that the only way to survive a storm is for God to calm the waves. However, what we see in scripture and what this song is hinting at is the reality that sometimes God’s solution is to shelter us from the waves rather than to make them go away.

No One But You – Hillsong Worship https://youtu.be/rOPqG6FkV1c

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad – https://youtu.be/Optrm7lF16s

In closing, my hope is that over the course of the next week, and the next month, and however long this period lasts, we would be fixing our eyes on God instead of the problems in our midst. In Philippians 4:8, Paul says, “finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” and let us make that our goal this coming week.

One More thing,

This week, I have also compiled a list of songs that we have sung together, or that I have put in this worship blog, and created a Spotify playlist. Maybe you need to be reminded of these truths as you are driving to the grocery store to pick up essentials this week. Or, maybe you would like to be able to let these songs play in the background as you do work from home this week. However you use these songs and listen to music, I hope that this playlist is a helpful tool while you try to draw near to God throughout the week.

Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7EB9xkQQtZJcMRAzV5hrdO?si=OWpqbha-Qxya_UDqDsdjVg

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Though it is week two of our non-traditional church services, and I miss your faces already, God is still good and so we still worship. As John unpacks what is going on in our world this week, I have put together a list of songs that I hope will encourage you, remind you where we find our strength and our comfort in times of trouble, and focus your eyes on the good in the midst of the bad. While listening to these songs, remember that we do not need to sing side-by-side for God to hear our praise and answer our prayers, whatever the answer may be. As was the case last week, if you would still like to sing a long at home, I have included links to the original artists’ recordings with lyrics attached in the description where possible!

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman – https://youtu.be/r3K3roEF36k

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/IvSuGyJQ6oM

            The First two songs in our set are what you can think of as our typical opening call to worship. Both of these songs can serve to focus our hearts and minds on the reason we normally meet on Sundays for church, the reason we watch John’s sermon when it is online, and the reason we listen to and sing music: we do all these things as an act of worship. These songs also remind us that it is not just on Sunday mornings that worship occurs, nor is it simply singing songs of praise with the rest of our congregation. Our lives are to be worship and we are called to worship the Lord wholly in the depths of our despair, in our most triumphant and joyous moments, and every time in between.

It Is Well – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/8Wb_WD1emFQ

For our song of response, “It Is Well” can help to remind us where we are to look to in our times of crisis and trial. This is a modern, recreation of an old him with new lyrics added to the verses and the bridge. One of the lines in the verse says “far be it from me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see,” and I believe many Christians can identify with that statement right now. Though the situation is bad and it looks as if it will only get worse, we can have faith that God is not just waiting on the other side of this global pandemic, but he is in the crisis with us now.

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free – https://youtu.be/7ESO6SHEwGk

God Himself Is With Us – https://youtu.be/Vv8xirwTsPY

Our closing songs are starkly contrasting in style but unified in their message. As you listen to these songs, and as you go about the next week – whatever it may look like, I would like to encourage you to remember that our God sits with us in dark places. Psalm 23: 4-6 says

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The valley may be longer than we were expecting, and the shadow may feel darker and colder than we ever expected, but God is still the one who is in control, even in trying times, and God is with is and in us through all of these things.

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Dear Congregation,

Please be advised that the CCRC leadership team has decided to cancel the Church Service for this Sunday March 15th.


The decision to cancel this service is being done out of an abundance of caution given the Global Pandemic related to COVID-19.  The decision to cancel this week’s service was not taken lightly.  But our decision is based on our mutual care for those most vulnerable to COVID-19, which includes our Seniors and those with compromised immune systems.


We recognize that some of you may be feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the Pandemic.  Coming to church may have been a way to relieve that anxiety.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and want to chat, please reach out to an Elder and we will do our best to arrange a visit or phone call.

If you have other questions or concerns, please contact the church office at; admin@mardaloopccrc.org


No decision has been made about the March 22, 2020 service. Leadership will review the situation, review Government direction and any other information that’s required in the week ahead.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience this may cause. There will be two elders at Church on Sunday to greet people who did not get this message.

In lieu of this Sunday’s service, Pastor John will be recording a short service which will be posted on the church website this Sunday morning.

We will also be reaching out to some members directly who don’t have email.  If you’re concerned someone didn’t receive this, please feel free to connect with that person directly as well.

Please be reminded that in the face of anxiety and concern, God is with us.


In Christ,

CCRC Leadership Team

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