I don’t know about you, but it feels like we are in a constant season of change. We are just getting used to in-person worship once again, we are figuring out all the safety protocols and issues facing our children as they head back to school, and we are working to gather proof of vaccination so that we can visit restaurants, hotels, recreational centres and churches. Seems like a good way to protect our health and the health of our neighbour. But, it’s still a change, and along with that change comes some work.
Vaccination Policy: The new Diocesan Vaccination Policy has arrived. This policy was issued at the end of last week, and states: “As Christians, and through our baptismal covenant, we promise to seek and serve Christ in all persons, love our neighbour, and respect the dignity of every human being. We have a moral obligation to protect others and to set an example to the communities we serve. There is one crucial way we can love our neighbours, and that is to vaccinate ourselves against COVID-19 if we are able to do so… It is important that the implementation of this policy happen quickly so that we can offer our best protection to the Diocesan community. Therefore, effective September 30, 2021, any Employee, member of the Clergy or Volunteer who attends at a Workplace/Church must show proof of being vaccinated with two doses of a vaccine or combination of vaccines approved by Health Canada, with the second dose having been administered at least two weeks prior to the in-person attendance.
What does this mean? It means that we must provide proof of our vaccination if we are working OR volunteering at the church, any time before September 30th. All clergy, staff, wardens, readers, altar guild members, servers, intercessors, sidespeople, musicians, youth leaders, bible study leaders, counters etc., will now have to provide proof of their double vaccination to the Rector’s Warden no later than September 30th.
How do we provide proof? There are a number of convenient ways you can provide proof of vaccination. You can bring your vaccination records with you on Sunday, so that the Rector’s Warden can witness “see” your record and check you off the list. You might choose to display proof of vaccination on a video zoom call which the Rector’s Warden will be hosting on Monday, September 27th between 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM OR Tuesday, September 28th between 7 PM and 9 PM. If you choose this option, you simply join the zoom call, wait in the “waiting room” until you are brought into the meeting. You will display your records to the Rector’s Warden and leave the meeting. The Diocesan Human Resource Department has set up a secure record keeping “tracker” for us to use which does not require us to keep any hard copies. The Rector’s Warden simply needs to “see” proof and check you off the list. If you wish to show proof through a video chat (zoom) please see the dates/times and zoom links provided below in the zoom section.
Like I said, this is going to be quite a bit of work (most especially for our wardens- please pray for them!) But we can handle it. Especially if it means that we can feel safe in our workplace and church. In short, if you have a volunteer role in the church, you will need to provide proof. If you simply worship, and have not yet taken on any volunteer “jobs” in the church, you do not need to provide proof at this time. If you have a medical reason that has kept you from being vaccinated and therefore cannot provide proof, please speak with me or with the Rector’s Warden, and we’ll discuss the options with you.
What else is happening? We’ve had some other changes too. If you’ve been at in-person worship, you will know that we are now using the TV monitors for displaying the words of the liturgy, instead of bulletins. While we are still supplying a small number of bulletins, it is our hope to reduce our footprint by printing less bulletins each Sunday therefore using less paper, ink and creating less waste after the service. Large print bulletins will still be printed for those with issues of accessibility.
While it is such a delight to see familiar faces at the end of each service, it’s been a struggle to really enjoy an authentic conversation with people following the church service because we are also trying to get to the zoom coffee hour to say hello to all our online family members. It’s a hard thing to be “fully present” in both places. So, the staff and I have discussed how we might remedy this. We’ve decided to try being fully present at one place or the other by taking turns greeting at both the in-person gathering and the zoom gathering. Please have patience with us as we figure out what this hybrid situation will look like, and how we can make it work in an authentic way!
Finally, as we prepare to observe Truth & Reconciliation Day this coming Sunday (Reconciliation Day is September 30) I invite and encourage you to wear something ORANGE! Please see below for more information on this.
Thank you for all you do to make this parish the amazing place that it is. It is a gift to serve you.