Gathering Safely Again

As you welcome parishioners and community members back into the buildings, it’s our responsibility to ensure that they understand the safety protocols they must practice to continue to be permitted to use the space. The following information should be provided in print or digital to each user group: liturgical participants / congregation, parish life and community users.

“Protocols Related to Liturgical Practice” should be distributed to liturgical participants and the entire congregation PRIOR to in-person worship gathering. Printed copies of the protocols must be posted and available for pick-up upon entry into the church for newcomers or those not on the parish distribution lists. Greeters posted at the entry should check-in with new faces to ensure they receive a copy of the protocols.

“Protocols Related to Parish Life” should be distributed to all parish groups or ministries (Bible study groups, prayer-shawl knitters, prayer meetings, outreach groups, etc.) that are choosing to meet in-person PRIOR to meeting. At the beginning of the first meeting, the group leader should go over the new protocols in the building and ensure everyone understands and agrees to abide by the protocols.

“Protocols Related to Community Users” must be distributed to all users that plan to hold non-parish-related activities whether the group pays a rental fee or not. This includes:

  • businesses that rent spaces from the church
  • community outreach groups (i.e. emotional support groups, AA meetings, etc.)
  • recreational groups (sports, exercise, meditation, etc.)
  • performance groups (choirs, dance, theatre, etc.
  • activity groups (Girl Guides, Scouts, art clubs, etc.)
  • one-time users (local fund raising, wedding receptions, etc.)

Some groups may be exempt from certain protocols, as listed in Protocols Related to Community Users. Such groups must discuss their exemption with the parish leadership and build their safety plan to mitigate risk to other users of the buildings not participating in the activity. The parish leadership should notify their regional archdeacon of the risk mitigation plan. 

All community users must provide a safety plan that pertains to how they will follow safety protocols in relation to their activities in the buildings BEFORE being permitted to enter the space. This safety plan should be provided to the parish’s incumbent and wardens at least ten days before the users enter the buildings. Safety plans should be updated and re-submitted as the provincial health orders change. The incumbent and wardens can approve the plan but should feel welcome to consult with their regional archdeacon or with the diocesan insurance specialist, Michealle Skwara.

Please note: Any community user that practices singing (choirs, choruses, concerts, etc.) must have their safety plan ALSO approved by the regional archdeacon, as this activity is associated with a higher risk.