3/10/20 Current Precautions at St. John’s re: Coronavirus
March 10, 2020
Dear Parishioners of St. John’s,
As many of you heard during announcements at services this past Sunday, this weekend Archbishop Melissa Skelton has asked all churches in this diocese to take additional precautions in our communities during this time of the Covid-19 virus (coronavirus), in order to continue to keep everyone in our midst healthy. This recent letter of Mar. 7 is attached and can also be found at https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/update-on-our-churches-covid-19.
(Her earlier letter of Feb. 6 outlining general guidelines can be found at https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/important-information-about-the-coronavirus-and-the-eucharist and we will post this as well as other updates from the archbishop’s office on our website at https://www.stja.ca/2020/updates-re-coronavirus. You can also view them via the News section of the diocesan website https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/.)
Our parish has begun implementing all of these additional procedures this Sunday, which include:
- Distributing just the bread (and not the wine) during communion
- Adapting aspects of our worship that include close-contact touch, e.g. no handshakes/hugs during passing of the peace, no passing of the offertory plate, etc.
- Temporary suspension of coffee hour (to reduce risk of transmission via shared food/drink)
- More focused attention to cleaning of areas in the church building going forward
Along with these, I continue to commend to you the general healthy practices of regularly washing hands and avoiding touching your face, coughing/sneezing into tissues or the crook of your arm (and cleaning your hands thoroughly), and staying home if you are feeling unwell. All of these precautions are in place to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.
The diocese continues to monitor advice and recommendations from government health officials, and will be directing us with new information as it becomes available. We will keep all of you in our parish updated accordingly and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-936-7762.
As our parish values state, we at St. John’s cherish connection and relationship – both as a “spirited and courageous family” and with the larger community around us. Even as we must reduce physical connections for a temporary time, I know that we will find creative ways to maintain spiritual and emotional connections with each other and with God!
Wardens Geri and Ruby, Deacon Anne, and I are working out logistics for our current precaution level, as well as procedures that will be in place if the diocese directs us to move to a higher level of precautions – including how to foster community if it’s necessary to not physically gather together for a time. If you have ideas or suggestions for this and ways in which we can continue to keep our community safe and healthy in this time, and/or if you would be interested in helping out as needed in these efforts, please connect with any of us.
Finally, in all of this, in addition to praying for those in the world affected by the virus and all those caring for them, I encourage you to continue to remain calm in Christ, as we join with others in our society who are weathering this particular storm. As Jesus said to his disciples – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” – John 14:27. As the Body of Christ, let us continue to stand together in this time, and make known to all our confidence in God’s ever-faithful presence with us.
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