BE Sociably Responsible
Further to my communication last week on the COVID 19 or corona virus, I wish to update you today. Yesterday I joined Premiere Horgan, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and Dr Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer and over 100 faith leaders from around the province. For over one hour we heard good information, and shared in a conversation promoting best health practices for our faith communities. We were asked to give leadership in spreading good information, and hope within our communities. Today I met with clergy from the Territory to make decisions on our common life together to help us model best practices and be good responsible citizens.
In Worship: ·
- We will no longer share the Common Cup, communion in one kind is full communion, a small amount of wine will be blessed but not distributed;
- Clergy only to distribute bread: do not touch the hands of the recipients nor place the wafer on the tongue. Use hand sanitizer frequently during the distribution;
- Rituals with water and oil should be discontinued at this time, e.g. baptisms, foot washing, anointing etc;
- Children in worship are a special concern - toys kept at the church to keep little ones busy during the service should not be distributed and then returned to a toy box or collection point, as they are too difficult to sanitize. Best to remove toys and encourage parents to bring toys from home to use in the pews. Also, any blanket or quilt the children sit on during a children's talk should be laundered with HOT water and detergent after every use, as it will pick up germs from the floor;
- We encourage all congregations to familiarize themselves with the leadership of Morning or Evening Prayer now. We may need to move from the Eucharist to other forms of service.
- The laity will no longer do home communion, visiting with the sick at home, hospital and other care homes. Clergy will do the visiting when necessary and follow strict health and safety protocols;
- We will no longer give leadership at worship services and activities in hospitals, hospice, care homes and other institutions. Clergy will need to use discretion in times of pastoral emergency;
- We discourage the meeting of groups for committees, bible studies, book studies, fundraisers and other parish activities which gather people together;
This is an excellent opportunity for us to be creative as we reach out to others by phone, social media, emails, video conferencing, note writing and other forms of communication to show our care and concern for others.
- All coffee hours, meal events, programs with seniors, involving food should be stopped now;
- Territory is postponing all special services in March such as the Installation of Pastoral Elders, and the Celebration of New Ministries at St Timothy’s 100 Mile and St Peter’s Williams Lake;
- Post-pone other events in the life of the parish if there are health concerns or travel concerns such as funerals and weddings.
Use of our buildings:
- Work with your renters to find ways to encourage safe practices of cleaning surfaces after each user;
- After each event (including worship) our building should be cleaned with an alcohol or bleach-based cleaner. Wash doorknobs, toilet handles, taps and tables in particular.
We will be watching the daily updates on the Provincial website bccdc.ca and will bring you updates as things unfold.
However, in our conversation today we talked about what we would do if we are mandated to close all our buildings and cancel public worship. The Territory Team are working on a plan to ensure we can worship together in new and creative ways such as Live streaming by Facebook, You Tube services from the parish churches, printed resources to use at home, and others. We are asking if you do have resources already available, you send them to the Territory Office and we will post them on the website for all to use.
All these actions are meant to provide leadership in our communities by being sociably responsible citizens, by using best practices to stop the spread of this devastating virus, and to model good ways to communicate with our neighbours and friends in a time of social distancing and isolation. Above all be a people at prayer and be a sign of hope for all in the Territory.
Pray hard for all affected by this virus, those who love them, those who care for them, and those who must give front line leadership. If you have any questions and concerns, please be in touch with me directly at email@example.com