A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF YOUR PARISH COUNCIL
The executive committee discussed at length the pros and cons of opening the church for public services now that the numbers have changed via the provincial guidelines. We discussed the provincial number changes, as well as the standing requirements of the diocese in terms of what must be done to maintain safety, distancing and building sanitization.
It was the consensus of the committee that even with things opening up provincially, and allowable numbers of people being greater, the risks are not less. If anything, as more and more people interact, the risks may be greater.
An item of importance discussed, was whether or not the virus can survive on inanimate objects from one week to the next. However the province and the diocese are not offering any guidance or scientific evidence regarding how that may change our standard of sanitization. As such, the cleaning requirements for the building before, between, and after services remains the same. We do not feel that we have the kind of volunteer crew at the moment, to maintain those standards.
Perhaps the most important piece of the safety discussion, is to note that the majority of our parishioners are well within the high risk category when considering age, and other existing medical concerns. Protecting our people is our top priority.
Another component in the discussion is financial. At the moment, thanks both to parishioners being very diligent about their offerings, and assistance being offered to all parishes by the diocese, we are holding our own.
With those elements in mind, the executive committee does not feel that public services should resume at this point.
We are still of the mind to wait until September, and reevaluate at that point. That conclusion is not made lightly. There are many churches who are resuming public services already, with many variations in terms of attendance, and services offered. There are also parishes who arechoosing to wait a little longer, to reduce risks and protect parishioners, until we see whether recent provincial decisions on opening up will increase in cases of COVID-19 again. And indeed, how that may or may not affect the second wave anticipated in late summer or early fall.
However, we also want to affirm that there are certainly parishioners who dearly miss being able to be in the church, worshiping. To that end, we would like to extend an invitation to those who may wish to attend the Friday 10 AM services that are being video recorded. If you would let the Rector know, by text, phone or email that you are coming, we can make provisions for social distancing, sanitization, etc. as well as keep a log, as required by the diocese, of attendees. It is likely that such numbers will be small, making the management of safety simple.
We would also like to know how many people there are who would be interested in attending a cemetery memorial service in August. These services were once traditional in the parish, and we think it would be a wonderful way to gather people outdoors for a meaningful time of prayer. We are hoping for a minimum of 15 people to participate, although because it is outdoors, we can accommodate as many as may wish to come.
The diocese has also given permission to resume doing weddings and funerals provided we keep to the requirements for social distancing, sanitization, etc. The province is allowing up to half of the capacity of the church building for special events like that.
Please feel very free to contact the rector, or wardens if you have any feedback or thoughts to offer on the information to date. We are very aware that decisions made today, will need to be reevaluated as things continue to change. So your input is very welcome, and valuable to us.