The Rev. Patrick Blaney
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Dear St. John’s Parishioners,  

We are very excited to share that St. John’s is opening again for weekly in-person worship beginning in September 2020.    

We know that many of you are concerned about Covid-19, which continues to circulate and is something we all take very seriously.  We are re-opening in full adherence to the conditions under which Archbishop Skelton has specified for parishes offering in person worship. These follow the specific guidelines of the Provincial Health Officer. Full details of those guidelines are available here click on link.  

We’ve taken re-opening very seriously, and in preparation for submitting our application to reopen, we have:

  • Formed up a St. John’s Re-opening Committee to develop guidelines and protocols that reflect our building, our parish needs, and our service to reflect needs for social distancing and cleanliness.  
  • We worked very closely with St. Clements to learn more about their own protocols and processes as they opened earlier in the summer and their Priest worked closely with Archbishop Skelton in developing the Diocesan standards for Covid-19 safety.  

With our application to re-open now granted by the Archbishop, we will need your help to ensure we follow the Diocesan Guidelines.  

We require volunteers to help oversee our services, and we require churchgoers to familiarize themselves with the necessary protocols.  

This letter will cover some important areas:  

• Guidelines that all Parishioners must follow

• Volunteers

• Registration process for the Attendance of Services

• Church facilities and amenities

Guidelines

Attending in-person worship is very much a personal choice and we don’t want anyone to feel pressure to attend an in-person service. Only you can make the right decision for your own wellness, and as much as we would love to see everyone return, it is important that everyone makes an informed decision regarding their health and vulnerability. 

The following must stay home for the sake of the wider community:

• People with Covid-19 or who live with someone who has Covid-19

• People who have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 in the past 14 days.

• The sick, including those with the slightest symptoms of sickness, including upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms.

• Those who have recently travelled outside of Canada.  

The following are encouraged to stay home for the sake of the wider community:

• People who live with someone with upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms.

• People over the age of 65.

• People who have underlying or compromised medical conditions.

• Family members who live with elderly people who are at risk. 

In compliance with the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines, the maximum number of people we can safely seat in the church is 30. This allows for the right amount of physical distancing.  Given that many of our parish community are older, we have closely followed the amount of physical distancing  of the recommended 6 feet. We feel this will offer an additional measure of safety to our parishioners.  

Family members in the same household are able to sit together.  

Our seating has been arranged/marked to allow for physical distancing and we ask that you let an usher direct you to your seat. 

  • You must register online or by phone before attending the service. This is in part to help manage attendance but also to facilitate contact tracing if necessary. We are required to keep a record of everyone who attends worship for 30 days after the service.  Please click on this link to register. It would be helpful if you could register by the Friday before the service.  If you need to use the elevator please type in “elevator” beside your name when you register.   
  • If someone arrives without having preregistered we may have to ask them to wait outside until all those who have registered are seated before allowing entry.  

Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. We ask that you wait outside the front doors on 13th until you are ushered in.  If you are mobility compromised, you will need to enter through the Office door to access the elevator.  When you register, please confirm this or contact Leeann prior to the Sunday service. Please appropriately social distance when queuing outside the front door.

  •  All persons attending will be required to use hand sanitizer (which will be provided) upon entering and leaving the church.  
  • Everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a mask. We will have some available if needed. This is not something we can mandate, but it is strongly recommended.    
  • Once inside, you will meet a greeter in the narthex. After this, an usher will direct you to your seat. People will be seated from the front of the church to the back of the church.  When the service is finished, you will exit in reverse order from the back to the front.     
  • Please stay seated until invited to leave, to ensure we can maintain physical distancing as people vacate the building.  
  • Physical distancing must be maintained at all times within the church and in the parking lot before and after the service.   
  • In these early days of return, we will not be offering in-person coffee hour or Sunday School. We hope that these activities will be able to recommence soon.

Volunteers will:

  • Dispense hand sanitizer to all those in attendance, both prior to entering the church and on exit.
  • Confirm the contact details of those attending
  • In an emergency, direct parishioners to the lavatory.
  • Remind those attending of physical distancing requirements as necessary
  • Guide/direct parishioners to available pews if necessary
  • Oversee the offertory plate
  • Distribute the bulletins as necessary
  • Assist with the sanitization of the worship space.  

We will be training volunteers to do the following:

  • We will provide our greeting team with an approved copy of the Parish Re-opening Plan.
  • We will have a walk through of the service ahead of September 20, 2020 re-opening on Saturday, September 19 at 10:00am
  • We will train the team to regulate the flow of traffic in and out of the Church without congregating inside after the service.
  • The greeters will be confirming names on the preregistration list provided to them on Sunday morning, and registering those who are not on the list. They will ask those attending if they have read and understand the requirements around symptoms and travel, been in contact with people with known cases, and will be asking questions required by BCCDC and DNW.
  • Copies of our re-opening plan will be available for pickup. *They will ensure that people use the hand sanitizer and ask those attending to wear a mask (We will provide disposable masks for those who don't have their own).
  • They will direct people to collect a bulletin from the table and to place their offering on a collection plate.
  • A log will be taken of everyone who attends to aid contact tracing (details to be kept for 30 days).
  • They will then be directed to a seat (filling pews front to back).
  • Greeters will assist when it comes to dismissing the parishioners (dismissing back pews first) and prevent bottlenecks in the aisles and at the doors.
  • They will ensure hand sanitizer be used as people leave.

If you are able and willing to assist on a regular basis with any of the above tasks, please contact Leeann at [email protected] or by phone at 604-986-1151.  

CHURCH FACILITIES

Not all our parishioners will be in a position to return to in-person worship just yet, so we will continue to share our recorded online service.  

Not all the church facilities will be open to the public.   

  • The washroom will be available for emergency use only. This minimises the amount of cleaning needed.  Any person using the washroom must be directed by an usher.    

We strongly encourage the use of masks throughout the church building.  

We appreciate that this is a great deal to learn and to familiarize yourselves with, but we are confident that we will soon once again be in a regular routine. We’d also like to thank the Clergy of St. Clements for providing guidance to us as we follow in their footsteps. 

If you would like to read the document we sent to the Diocese and that was approved by the Archbishop, please click on the Downloads below.

Together as a community we will come together in this new reality, hopefully temporary, where we can celebrate God’s grace and love.         

Peace and Blessings, Patrick, Leeann, and the Church Re-opening Committee