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 the first 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 again PRIOR to meeting for the first time. 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.)

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 re-enter the space. This safety plan should be provided to the parish’s incumbent and wardens at least ten days before the users re-enter the buildings. The incumbent and wardens can approve the plan but should feel welcome to consult with their regional archdeacon or with the diocesan insurance specialist, Zena McCreary.

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.