We are pleased to be able to offer in-person worship as of Sunday, September 20th! While our provincial bishops will continue to monitor the rising number of COVID cases in Ontario, we have, at least for the time being, been given permission to gather together on Sunday’s for worship. Please read the procedures below to give you an idea of what to expect, and what will be required of you, as we gather again in our sacred space.
1. RESERVE A SPOT AHEAD OF TIME
In order to ensure we do not exceed the 50-person gathering limit set out by the government of Ontario, those who would like to attend Sunday services must reserve a spot ahead of time. You can do this either online or by phone between 9am on Tuesday and 3pm Thursday each week. You can find the link to register here:
Unfortunately, due to these restrictions, those who do not register ahead of time will not be permitted to enter the church. Online worship will continued to be offered via Facebook and YouTube:
While greeters will be screening parishioners as they enter the church, you can screen yourself ahead of time to determine if you should stay home. If you or anyone you have been in contact with (bubble groups, co-workers, etc.) can answer yes to any of the following questions, you should remain home:
Have you had any of the following symptoms during the last 21 days?
Shortness of breath
Recent loss of taste or smell
Other flu-like symptoms, including gastrointestinal upset, headache, or fatigue
Have you or anyone in your household or bubble tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
Have you travelled outside of the country in the last 14 days?
3. ARRIVAL & CHECK-IN
When you arrive at the church, please make your way to the red side door. You may be asked to wait in a socially distanced line until you are called into the vestibule. Just inside the building, you will be checked in and screened for the service.
Everyone entering the building must wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer provided. If you do not have a mask, one will be made available for purchase at a cost of $2 per mask, the proceeds of which will be donated to St. Matthew’s House.
Once inside the building, you will be directed to the narthex where a Sidesperson will guide you to an available pew and ensure that social distancing rules are observed.
4. DURING THE SERVICE
Seating: Total capacity during the service will not exceed 50 people, including clergy and service volunteers. We will be roping off alternating pews and ensuring that groups remain appropriately distanced during the service. We ask that you please remain in your designated seats whenever possible.
Eucharist: During communion, you will be directed single file down the centre isle to receive the host. Remember to remain 2 meters apart and continue to wear your mask. Once you have received the bread, please turn away from the minister and lift mask briefly while placing it in your mouth as you walk back toward your seat. We will not be partaking in the cup at this time. Spiritual communion will be available for those worshipping online and for those gathered in the building who do not wish to receive.
Music: A small ensemble of musicians will lead the music throughout the service. Unfortunately, congregational singing will not be permitted, but you are welcome to hum along. Musicians, as well as readers, intercessors, and clergy will remove their masks only when leading, but will remain 2 meters from the congregation. (Singers to be 4 meters away).
Offering: We encourage you to (send in) offerings electronically (PAR, eTransfer), but an offering box will be provided for those who prefer it. The box is located at the door in the Narthex on the way into the Nave.
Changes to Overall Flow & Liturgy: In addition to the above-mentioned changes, we will not have any liturgical procession and will exchange the peace in a noncontact manner. PowerPoint and a projection screen will be used for liturgy and hymns instead of books and paper. The service, including liturgy, music, and sermon, will be shorter than usual – around 45 minutes.
5. AFTER THE SERVICE
When the service is over, please remain in your seats until directed to leave by a Sidesperson. If possible, avoid congregating indoors to visit with fellow parishioners and instead use the parking lot and outdoor spaces for social gatherings
WHAT ELSE ARE WE DOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE?
In addition to the above (changes), we have formed a volunteer team of COVID Crusaders who will be responsible for maintaining a clean, safe environment for worship. The team will be disinfecting the sanctuary, narthex, washrooms, and entranceway following all in-person worship services, ensuring that all areas of the church that have been exposed to parishioners are adequately cleaned and disinfected. If you would like to volunteer in this capacity, please contact the office, Irene Campbell or Pamela Blackwood.