In response to the province-wide shutdown restrictions announced on December 21, 2020 in response to the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, the church building is closed to everyone except staff until further notice. Services continue to be available by live stream. Pastors and staff are working from home and can be reached by phone, text, or email.
How many people can be in the building at once for services?
We have currently opened up to 66. 50 congregants + 16 volunteers/staff. The Administrative Council has approved opening up to 75 members, however, on Sept. 26th.
Why are we not re-opening services to more people?
A limit of 50 worshippers plus volunteers is generally in line with Provincial guidelines for indoor gatherings.
Why are we not allowing more people to attend if the number of Coronavirus cases in Waterloo Region are so low right now?
We are working with others to avoid spikes in the number of COVID cases during the upcoming “back to school” and flu seasons.
Why did we wait until August before rolling out Phase 2?
In order to re-open the church safely, it was important to wait until the number of cases in the Region had stabilized after businesses began re-opening in the province.
Why has our church been so slow to let people into the building?
Only 1/3 of the churches in our Classis have allowed some form of in-person services.
What is the timeline for allowing all those who want to attend into the service?
The exact timeline is unknown. The Provincial government has currently limited churches to re-opening at 30% capacity (approx. 225) for our church building. However, our sanctuary can seat 96 individuals and approximately 150-175 people including families while physically distancing at 2 meters. We will continue to review attendance limits regularly during Phase 2 in light of Regional Health reports and government regulations.
How is attendance at the in-person services determined?
Community groups are invited by email to attend on a rotational basis and asked to pre-register using the link provided.
Can anyone who wants to come to church?
No. Anyone six years of age and under is not permitted in the building. Those who are considered in the “vulnerable sector” (seniors or those with pre-existing medical conditions) are encouraged to participate in the service from home using the live-streaming link on the church website.
I am considered “a vulnerable member”. Can I attend the in-person service?
Yes. You will not be turned away from services, but are strongly encouraged to continue worshipping from home for your own health and safety.
I am an usher/greeter. Am I required to attend services?
No. Ushers willing to return to in-person services at this time are being trained to assist in the seating and physical distancing of the congregation.
I am a member of a praise team. Do I have to wear a mask while I sing?
No. Vocalists are physically distanced from one another and from those seated by 12 feet. You must wear a mask, however, while not on stage.
Will I need to have my temperature checked before entering the church?
Yes. Upon arrival at the church, you will be greeted by a “screener” who will takeyour temperature and ensure the screening form is filled out correctly before entry.
Why do I need my temperature checked?
The coronavirus can be easily transmitted especially if you have the virus but are not experiencing any symptoms. An elevated temperature is one of the first signs of having the coronavirus and checking for increased temp is an effective way to help contain the spread.
Do I need to fill in the screening form before coming to church?
It is helpful if people planning to attend answer the screening questions on the form ahead of time to prevent delays at the service. The form can only be used on the day you attend. Those who wish to have assistance can be screened instead at the screening desk.
How do I get access to the screening form?
A link to the form was sent out to members of the congregation by email, and can be requested from the church office.
How will the screening information I provide on the form be used?
The information you provide will only be used to contact you for COVID-testing should someone from the congregation at a service you attended test positive for the virus. All information collected through the form will be disposed of securely following the pandemic period.
What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19?
If you test positive for the virus, you will be contacted by the Regional Health authorities and advised to self-isolate as well as provide a list of your recent contacts. You would inform authorities of your attendance at a service and they would be in contact with the church to gather contact tracing information.
Can I feel safe returning to church?
Every recommended precaution is being taken to preserve the health and safety of the congregation by implementing a comprehensive set of protocols. The COVID team has also been training pastors, volunteers and ushers in the new procedures.
Are we being unnecessarily cautious in following all these protocols?
Government health officials on all levels recognize the need to use multiple therapeutic approaches (hand-sanitizing, masking, temperature checking, physical distancing, etc.) in reducing the risk of a second COVID wave while we await an accessible and effective vaccine.
Will hand sanitizers or disinfectant wipes be provided/accessible?
Yes. Sanitizer dispensers have been installed at the front entrance doors and disinfectant wipes/disinfectant are available at the screening table and at the washrooms.
Do I need to wear a mask while in the church?
Yes. You will be required to wear a mask as long as you are in the building even when maintaining a 2-meter physical distance from others. Please continue to wear your mask as you exit the building if you are stopping to chat to others in the parking lot.
Will masks be provided?
Yes. Please bring your own masks if you have them to help minimize cost of PPE, but if you do not have one or have forgotten, one will be provided.
Why do I need to wear a mask throughout the service?
Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings, especially since singing increases the risk of transmission.
Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated or is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Can I use the washrooms?
Yes. Washrooms will be opened with some stalls inaccessible and extra cleaning protocols in place. There will also be disinfectant wipes/disinfectant available to use.
Can I bring my own Bible to church?
Will Bibles be available in the pews?
Yes. Bibles are now available in the pews, but should not be shared with those from whom you are physically distanced.
Can I bring my coffee into church?
No. Please do not bring any food or drink into the church building.
Will there be coffee served after the service?
No. Since consuming foods and liquids requires the removal of masks and discourages physical distancing, we are not able to offer coffee after the services.
Since there is no coffee time, can we gather in the parking lot?
If you stop to chat with someone outside, please remember to physically distance at a minimum of 6 feet and to continue to wearing your mask.
How will the offering be taken?
The offering is being taken at the back of the sanctuary. You can simply drop your donation into one of the two buckets at the doors upon entering or leaving the sanctuary. Collections will be counted after three days.
Now that our church is being live-streamed, will I be on camera if I attend a service?
The camera will be focused on those participating in the service. You may appear occasionally in the video background and the audio will record the congregational singing.
Can I take Lord’s Supper during the service?
Not at this time. Since participation in the Lord’s Supper involves the removal of masks and the increased risk of virus transmission, the sacrament will continue to be conducted by the pastors from the front of the sanctuary and live-streamed for those participating from home.
Can I baptize my child(ren)?
Yes. Regular protocols and some additional safety measures will be in place for the sacrament.
I’d like to baptize my infant. Can my other children who are 6 years old or younger attend the service?
Yes. Exceptions to the age restrictions will be made for siblings at a baptism. Children will be physically distanced and/or masked as appropriate.
Will there be outdoor or mid-week services?
Not this time, but Consistory and the Worship Committee are considering additional service options for upcoming weeks. Further announcements will be made in the bulletin.
Can we have funeral services at the church?
Yes. Funeral services can be conducted with the regular service screening protocols in place and a limit of 50 in attendance in accordance with government regulations on indoor gatherings.
Will weddings be allowed to take place in the building?
Yes. Just like funeral services, weddings can be conducted with regular service protocols for screening and a limit of 50 in attendance.
Why is there a three-day closure after the use of the sanctuary?
This has been advised as the simplest and most cost-effective solution for cleaning an area. However, should the cleansing period become a barrier, for example, to weddings or funerals, other cleaning solutions and protocols will be implemented.
Is the building closed during the week?
No. There is currently limited staff presence during the week. The staff have been encouraged to work from home as much as possible as per Regional government guidelines and pastoral visits are encouraged to take place outside of the church building.
Is staff present during the week?
Due to the limited staff presence during the week, it is best to make an appointment to arrange a meeting.
I am involved in ministries that typically run during the week. Will these ministries be able to run in September following protocol?
The Church Council, Consistory, COVID team and pastors will be in contact with the ministry leaders to work together and provide leadership in this area.
Are there rooms that cannot be accessed?
Yes. Only the sanctuary and washrooms are available during service times. Offices remain open to the staff. We have prepared a protocol for opening rooms to small committee and ministry meetings; click here to view the protocol.
Can I use the kitchen?
No. Food service is not permitted in the building at this time.
I’d like to volunteer. Whom can I contact?
Thank you for your willingness to help! Please contact the church office and a member of the COVID team will be in touch with you.
I’d like to keep this process of opening the church building safely in prayer. What specifically can I pray for?
Please pray for patience for everyone. We are all anxious to get back to regular service attendance and programming, but need to do so safely.
Please pray for wisdom for our leaders as we continually make decisions based on the most current information available.
Please pray for health and safety within our church
Please pray for flexibility for leaders and congregants as information changes quickly and we may need to adapt quickly as well.