An Update Regarding the Reopening of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for Sunday Services

 

Dear Friends at St. Andrew’s,

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

As our reopening date of Sunday, September 13 quickly approaches, I want to update you on what has been happening since our Task Group was struck on June 16. There has been much diligent and prayerful work done, and I am pleased to report that a limited reopening of St. Andrew’s is now possible for Sunday worship.

 

Of course, many things have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of St. Andrew’s this past March. Even though a safe return to in-church Sunday worship is now possible, this does not mean that we can immediately return to “the way things were”. Familiar practices (congregational and choir singing, Sunday School, Nursery, shaking hands, coffee hour, etc.) have been necessarily suspended until such a time that they are considered safe to resume.

 

Also, as the Reopening Reference Sheet (please see below) indicates, there are strict protocols in place which must be followed explicitly by everyone if we are to remain open. Although stringent, these protocols are both standard and necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our worshipping community, which is of the highest importance.

 

To that end, if you do not feel comfortable returning to in-church Sunday worship at this time, do not come. It is very natural and understandable to feel anxiety, stress, and frustration during these unusual times and if the thought of attending worship in person only adds to those feelings, please stay home and view Sunday Services online as they will continue to be broadcast on Facebook Live every Sunday at 10:30 am.

 

Friends, there is no doubt that it will take time for us to become accustomed to this new worship format. However, with our faith in God, our hope in Jesus Christ, and the continual guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will “grow into” this new season in the church’s life together!

 

Finally, I wish to thank the members of the Reopening Task Group (John Edmonds, Nancy MacKenzie, Carol McEwin, Ruth Reath, and Marie McNamara in clerical support) for their hard work and unwavering efforts on behalf of our congregation. Thank-you all so very much!

 

Grace and peace,

Rev. Mark Wolfe.

 

St. Andrew’s Reopening Reference Sheet:

 What to expect when returning to Church on September 13th

  • You must register your intent to attend Sunday Services by contacting Carol McEwin (519-273-0472) BEFORE Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.
  • The Service will be held in the Sanctuary as always.
  • Wear your mask until you have been seated.
  • Enter through side Elevator door (nearest Library) ONLY. All other doors will be locked.
  • Physically-distanced, read Health Assessment posted outside of door.
  • If answer to all questions is NO, then enter in a safely-distanced manner (those from same household may enter together).
  • Greeter will supply hand sanitizer upon entry
  • Proceed upstairs (or use elevator) and register (for contact tracing).
  • Wait for Usher to come and take you to your seat. Entry to Sanctuary will be via door which leads to Communion Table. If unable to negotiate steps at front of church, you will be escorted to Narthex and taken to your seat.
  • You must take coats, books, etc. with you to the pew.
  • You will notice that pews are either “marked” or “roped off” to ensure safe seating within the Sanctuary.
  • We recognize that we are a social congregation but for the safety of all – you MUST NOT move around, call out to friends, shake hands, etc.
  • The handicapped washroom will be available for emergencies.
  • Once seated you may, if you wish, remove your mask.
  • Please follow any instructions given by Rev. Mark regarding Service itself.
  • At the end of worship, please replace your mask and wait for usher to escort you to the exit. Do not gather outside for a parking lot discussion- go directly to your vehicle.

 

Session realizes these rules appear to be very stringent. However, they are based on the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, Huron-Perth Public Health, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company.

 

We must be “SAFE” not “SORRY”!

 

Please show tolerance, patience and respect.

 

Be kind, be calm, and stay safe.

 

Thank-you for your cooperation!

 

- The Session of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Stratford.