When will on-site worship resume? (All worship services will continue to be accessible on-line.)
In July, we undertook a congregational survey to measure the interest of attending on-site Sunday services. Some members of our Congregation did say they would attend on-site worship
services as long as we did our best to follow government regulations and guidelines.
We have made plans to restart on-site worship services on Sunday September 6. TCBC English congregation will meet at TCBC Grace church, 20 Claremont St. (north of Queen, just east of Niagara). Keeping the congregations separate is one of the ways we are using to help minimize any possible contact with virus.
So what will our worship service look like?
In mid-June the Government of Canada released a document that stated:
All planners, organizers and operators of gatherings/events, regardless of their purposes and sizes, have an inherent responsibility to assess the risks associated with their gatherings/events and their ability to mitigate these risks. (Gov’t of Canada – 2020-06-19).
On June 20, 2020 Toronto Public Health released its COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship. The 6 page document begins with this introduction:
“Faith communities have continued their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with the exception of in-person gatherings at their place of worship, since these were prohibited by provincial order as part of an unprecedented effort to contain the spread of the virus. In-person gatherings for prayer and worship are now permitted with certain conditions, as described in this guidance document. Faith community leaders should carefully consider how and when to re-establish face-to-face activities. Faith communities may have many members who are older and/or have chronic medical conditions, and therefore more vulnerable to the virus that causes COVID-19. This guidance document reflects the current need for protection from COVID-19 in Toronto. As the spread of infection is brought under further control, revised guidance will be issued.”
Included in that document are these specific restrictions:
- Participation of religious services is limited to no more than 30% of room capacity
- No singing
- No passing of any items including offering plate or communion elements
- No gatherings involving food
- No personal contact (handshakes, or hugs)
In order for TCBC to comply with the requirement to reduce risk, policies and procedures for a number of areas must be developed and implemented. These topics and areas include but are not limited to:
Signage and Direction
Signs providing direction around entering and exiting will need to be clearly posted.
Screening and Record Keeping
Everyone entering the building will need to self-screen, to make use of provided hand sanitizer, to be checked-in (name & contact info together with seating location) in order to provide a method of contact if there should be a positive test of an attendee.
Distancing will need to be maintained between people who are not from the same household at all times. While inside any of our buildings, masks must be worn.
Congregational Singing will not be permitted at this time.
Washroom use will be discouraged except in emergency situations. Cleaning and disinfection procedures must be created and will be required.
Recommended disinfecting procedures will be developed for all traffic areas.
At present, Sunday children’s ministry inside the church will not resume. Children who attend our Sunday services should remain with the adults who brought them.
TCBC has formed a Reopening Action Team to examine each of these issues to determine the complexities of moving forward. The Covid-19 situation is an ever changing one with possibilities of improvement or unexpected setbacks. The team will respond to additional guidance provided by Toronto Public Health and the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Based upon the complexity and the serious nature of these procedures the Leadership of TCBC has decided that the Building will remain closed to all other activities until at least September 30, 2020. On October 1, 2020 an announcement will be made regarding the plans for Fall 2020.
All worship services will continue to be accessible on-line.
This particular season in the Life of our Church requires us to innovate and develop new ways to worship, learn, encourage one another and live as a Congregation. We will share with you in the near future what these opportunities will look like.
The Pastors and Deacons covet your prayers.