An Important Update from Our Leadership regarding Reopening and Worship Online for the Summer – June 2020

Please read this notice from Rev. John regarding our plans for reopening to in-person gatherings at St. Andrew’s and our decision to hold worship by ZOOM exclusively until at least September 13, 2020.

An IMPORTANT UPDATE from Our Leadership
You will now be very much aware that the Government of Ontario announced earlier this week that places of worship may reopen at 30% of their space’s capacity. Some places of worship have taken steps to reopen this week and a few others are planning to reopen as soon as next week. 

Our Leadership (Session and Board) decided early on to ensure that we would make plans and decisions about reopening on our own terms as guided by government and public health authorities. We knew that this day would come where the Government would announce that we can reopen with restrictions. We didn’t wish to be pressured into reopening simply because we’ve been told that we can. The safety and health of our members and our guests, as well as our staff, are our priority as we give consideration to this ever changing situation. 

To that end, the Session of St. Andrew’s Guelph agreed that we will continue worshiping online until at least Sunday September 13. Interestingly, this decision falls in line with our sisters and brothers in the United and Anglican churches in Guelph and beyond. Our church building will not be open until we have made the necessary preparations for in-person gatherings. Over the summer, a newly formed group of members from the Session and Board called the Reopening Task Force will review guidelines and directions from various sources including our own Public Health Unit and formulate a plan for a phased reopening of St. Andrew’s. They will be ordering supplies, signage and other necessary items in order to be prepared for in-person gatherings. Special consideration will be given to the sanctuary to determine how we best facilitate physical distancing (about 2 metres) between individuals and family units. We will take the time necessary to be prepared, planful, and preventative. The Old Stone Churches, of which St. Andrew’s is a part, have a meeting with the Medical Officers of Health for Guelph Wellington and Dufferin this week to discuss best practices and gain their insight into our plans for future reopening. We will not make any decisions without their expertise and direction. Again, your safety, and the health of our guests, and our wider community is of greatest importance to us as we take our next best steps.

From time to time, we will provide updates of the work of the Reopening Task Force. Please keep them in your prayers.

Thanks for your understanding as we live into this decision today. Much has changed for all of us. It has been a challenging time. For a community who seeks to love our neighbours as ourselves, the best way to show that love in the midst of a pandemic is to limit our in-person gatherings and prevent the spread of this virus to those very neighbours. So please, join us ONLINE for the Summer from your homes, or wherever your summer plans may find you. Tell your friends to join us too. Perhaps someone new will find a place to call home as we worship online.

In Christ’s service,

Rev. John Borthwick
Minister | St. Andrew’s Guelph