As we try and navigate a safe weekly re-entry into our church, and into our communities, here are a few things to remember:
1. Keep getting updated on the latest COVID trends.Covid variants will be with us for some time, with fluctuating levels of infection in the community. So, it’s important for us all to know if things change dramatically, so that we can respond swiftly and wisely.
2. Stay home if you are concerned about the risks.Some of our parishioners are in a “high-risk” category and should plan to continue worship online. We expect that our livestreaming will continue for all those who are concerned about the risks, as well as those whose medical condition prohibits them from safely returning, and those who are physically unable to come to church at this time.
3. Speak up to others posing a risk.Where once we enjoyed shaking hands, hugging, singing, and taking communion side-by-side at the rail with our brothers and sisters, we’ve now got protocols to follow at each and every church services. If you think members of our church family might be unknowingly taking risks with their safety or the safety of others, it is important to lovingly, patiently, and humbly share your concerns with them, or tell one of the wardens on duty.
4. Strive for unity amid different views.Some of our church members will have very similar ideas to you about the reopening process. Others will likely feel very differently, while others are unsure quite what to think. Let’s agree to pray for one another and show love, humility and grace in our actions and words.
5. Always wear a mask and sanitize your hands.When you come into the church, your mask should be in place (and stay there for the duration of your time in the church.) Sanitize your hands upon coming into the church, before taking communion AND after consuming your wafer (remember, you have just touched your mask.) Remember to wash your hands when returning home from church and launder your mask after EACH wearing.
6. Be physically distant in the parking lot as well as in the nave.It’s a good idea to put on your mask and ensure that it’s properly secured before even getting out of your car. Observe social distancing recommendations even while exiting and entering your vehicle, making sure to give space to others as they are exiting or entering their vehicles. Be sure to maintain the recommended distancing with others as you walk through the parking lot or sidewalk to the church building and when returning to your vehicle.
7. No singing at this time.Congregational singing and choral music with more than one singer is not permitted according to the Diocesan AMBER guidelines. Singing is an extremely high-risk activity due to the transference of airborne particles in the breath. We are permitted to have one singer, who is more than 4 metres away from the congregation. While we are a people who love to sing, and sing well…we need to be mindful that we are not to sing in church at this time. Please feel free to hum!
8. Forgo physical contact.Avoid ‘high touch’ activities (e.g., greeting with a handshake, passing the collection plate, hugging.) While it’s hard not to reach out to our brother or sister in Christ, we are to refrain from doing this because it is unsafe for us and those around us.
9. Notify the church if you have symptoms.If you start to show signs or symptoms of COVID after attending an in-person church service, please consult a health care professional and notify our church leadership immediately.
10. Be patient.We know that re-opening is complex, and the church has to consider many factors and take on many new tasks. Patience is one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) that we all need a lot of these days. Let us remain humble, understanding that none of us completely understand the nature of all the facets of COVID, and others will likely have very different perspectives than our own. Let’s not compromise safety, but be patient and humble.
Thank you for all you are doing to make this safe for everyone!