May 24, 2020
Update on Covid-19 and Timeline for Resumption of In-person Worship
Dear members and friends of Gloria Dei,
With the advent of BC’s phased Restart Plan to move the province through the pandemic, many of you are wondering when can we resume our regular in-person Sunday worship services.
Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry did announce that faith communities could re-open their buildings. However, she maintained that strict protocols need to remain in place. This means a maximum of 50 people while maintaining a physical distance of two meters (6ft) at all times—not only during the service, but before and after service as well. It means cleaning and disinfecting “high touch” areas such as pews, door knobs and light switches, before and after a Sunday service. It means not sharing food - which includes our sacramental practice of communion. It means paying attention to the length of the service, because the risk of transmission increases the longer the stay in an enclosed space. It means being mindful of the demographics of the congregation and maintaining virtual connections with older members of the congregation.
These are a few of many complexities which need to be considered and addressed before resuming in- person gatherings. In light of these complexities and because a significant “portion of those who worship with us are in higher-risk categories,” The BC Synod, in their letter of May 14th “strongly recommends that congregations maintain the current practice of providing congregational worship remotely through BC’s planned Phase 2 (through May) and well into Phase 3 (June, July, August).”
The Church Council and Worship Committee met online on May 18 and concurred that in order to protect everyone’s safety and health, following the Synod’s recommendation is the most prudent course of action. We will therefore, continue with online services at least through the month of June. If the virus continues to be well controlled, the risk of transmission continues to fall, and we are able to put in place the necessary precautions and protocols, perhaps we could consider a first gathering for worship to be held outdoors in July.
In the meantime, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, may we clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience as we wait for a new day. (Col. 3:12)
Candace Storm, Council Chair
Vida Jaugelis, Interim Pastor