This is a very anxious and worrying time. We all feel a bit on edge and concerned about what the future holds with the spread of COVID-19. As a community of faith, it is important that we are responding to this situation with love and compassion, which includes taking additional steps to ensure that we, as a church, are safe and healthy. We want to assure you that all precautions are being looked at as we continue to worship and do God’s work within our community.
Changes to how we live our lives are in progress at this time and we are taking advice not only from our Health Minister of BC, but from the United Church of Canada’s Pacific Mountain Regional Council as well. We will be implementing new changes within our worship services and even more stringent cleaning of our kitchen.
We also encourage everyone to follow these guidelines, recommended by Public Health Professionals:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Cough and sneeze into your sleeve and not into your hands.
- Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
- Please monitor your health if you have been travelling (especially if you have been on a cruise ship) and if you have any symptoms at all (even if they are mild), stay home.
- Please stay home and get medical help if you are experiencing ALL THREE of the following symptoms of COVID-19: Fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
- We stress the importance of accurate information and recommend the BC Centre for Disease Control for local information, health Canada for national information, and WHO for international information. If you have COVID-19 related health questions, please call the 8-1-1 healthlink line.
We want to encourage everyone to practise a higher level of hygiene. We will continue to have faith, compassion and understanding for those we know and don’t know that have come in contact with COVID-19. We do not want to live our lives in fear, but to be extremely cautious in all we do.
In accordance with local health authority recommendations and United Church recommendations, we will be going ahead with worship tomorrow, but will be keep everyone apprised of the news in the coming weeks and days ahead if this needs to change at any point. We are currently figuring out how to meet online and in other ways so we still feel connected and engaged as a community in both our faith and with one another, if we do need to stop in-person worship.
Starting tomorrow, we will be taking the following additional precautions in worship for the foreseeable future:
- We will not be Passing the Peace and need to avoid hugging and giving handshakes to one another. Ushers are encouraged to smile and wave as people enter the church.
- We will not be Passing the Offering Plate. Instead, you are invited to find an usher at the beginning or end of the service who will collect the offerings and give them to the offering counters. Offering Counters are to take caution in counting after the service, washing hands afterwards and wiping down the computer keyboard.
- There are no plans to have Communion until Easter Sunday. At that time, we’ll assess if it will be safe to do so, or if we should postpone.
- We will be postponing Coffee Time after worship. There are too many health risks right now to make it safe to serve treats and beverages. You are still most welcome to gather in the Celebration Centre to talk with one another after worship; it’s important that we still feel connected at this time. We do not want people to feel isolated or disconnected.
In all the uncertainty that this time brings, please know that you are held by God and by this community of faith. We are all praying for the doctors, nurses, and health care providers as well as scientists who are working hard to combat COVID-19. We are also praying for one another that anxieties may be lifted, comfort may be found, and everyone stays healthy.
The United Church of Canada put together a beautiful statement on how to respond to the spread of COVID-19, which can be found at: https://www.united-church.ca/news/covid-19-united-church-statement.
May we all find compassion for the circumstances, do our part in preventing the spread of the virus, and continue to pray for the health of all people.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. You can contact the office at (604) 946-6254 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Leadership Council of Ladner United Church
(Sue King, Ryan Hall, Yvonne McKenna, Sandy Watson, Bob Sisler, Don Ross, Iris Scott & Lydia Ruenzel