5/22/20 Parish Council Statement on Re-Opening
(If you are looking for current information on online worship and meetings, please visit https://www.stja.ca/2020/program-updates/.)
From St. John’s Parish Council to Parishioners:
On May 14, Parish Council held a special virtual meeting to discuss the possibility of reopening St. John’s on June 14, which is the first reopening date allowed by the Diocese. We came to a prayerful consensus that we will not reopen for in-person worship on June 14. We will continue to consult with parishioners, the Diocese, and provincial health guidelines to discern our parish’s readiness to eventually move from diocesan Phase 1 to Phase 2 of reopening*.
As we considered our parish values of St. John’s being “home” and “family,” we affirmed that our primary concern was continuing to “love one another,” and “love our neighbour,” by prioritizing the health and safety of our most vulnerable members and of the wider community around us in this time. We also celebrated how our Zoom worship and other current mechanisms for connection have allowed us to meet to worship, nurture community, and offer mutual care and support with the greatest number of St. John’s folks in this time. Any in-person worship that we attempted now would involve many necessary restrictions and procedures** that would negatively impact our experience of worship and would also substantially reduce the number of people who could participate.
Council also discussed the importance we place on our parish value of being “connected to our community” and so in the near future, we may consider opening up the building for limited uses that would serve those in great need around us. Any building use will require further discussion and planning, and will be contingent on being able to meet safety guidelines required by the Diocese and provincial health officials, and that we as a parish would be comfortable with.
As we hold off on in-person worship in this period, Council will turn its attention toward nurturing how we “do church” online with all ages. We welcome your feedback on ways to build on and enhance our existing online worship, and to expand ways of offering formation, fellowship, pastoral care and support, and serving our wider community. Please connect directly with any Council member, or forward ideas to the Wardens at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please see attached chart of the diocesan phases of reopening. As of June 14, it is possible for parishes to seek permission to move to Phase 2, but as per the Archbishop, “Each parish… must discern the appropriate actions and timing for itself in terms of when to reopen its building and what activities to offer”.
**For more details on the diocesan requirements for reopening, please see https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/documents-available-phased-re-opening-for-in-person-worship
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