IMPORTANT UPDATE – Staged Reopening Plan for August 2020

Please take a moment to read our latest update on our Staged Reopening Plan for the Fall of 2020.


Over the summer months, our leadership has worked hard to plan for and prepare for potentially reopening our building for worship and other activities this coming Fall. The Board is continuing to make preparations in this regard with our rental groups and for other activities. The Session and the Reopening Task Force have met on several occasions to consider the guidelines from Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health and the implications for our future in-person worship experience. We can be very grateful for their hard work and dedication over the summer. At every step, the safety and wellbeing of our membership and our community is our top priority.  

To that end, we are now moving forward with a STAGED REOPENING PLAN. Beginning on Sunday September 13, we move from broadcasting our online worship experience through ZOOM from our homes to the sanctuary. Peter Devries and our Tech Team with support from our Leadership are busy getting everything that is needed in place to be able to broadcast reliably and effectively from the Church Sanctuary. To begin, on Sunday September 13 and for a few weeks following, this is what we expect worship to look like:

  • The service will NOT be open to the public or the congregation at large;
  • We will be broadcasting live via ZOOM and the service will continue to be recorded and posted on our website and YouTube channel;
  • Fred Gingrich, our Music Director, will be back but will only be playing instrumental music LIVE. We will not be able to have a choir initially. There will also be NO congregational singing.
    • We hope to have pre-recorded choral music to include in our worship – these recordings will occur during the week and will follow Public Health protocols to ensure the safety of all involved.
  • Those involved in the service will be restricted to Rev. John, Fred, the Tech Team, and a small number of individuals who will act in the future as ‘Screeners’ (traditionally greeters/ushers).
  • All participants will wear masks and maintain physical distance. Rev. John will remove his mask only when he is in the Pulpit and conducting worship.

If you are interested in acting as a “Screener” for these initial Sundays, please reach out to Rev. John (revjohn [at] standrewsguelph [dot] com). He can give you a brief overview of the role and what is expected. We will require approximately six (6) people to act in these roles each Sunday when we reopen more fully. The bonus to serving in this way is that you will be one of the first people to participate in worship in the sanctuary since March.

We are confident that this initial restricted stage will aid in our preparations as we consider reopening for in-person worship potentially by the end of September. Again, we will follow all guidelines and directions from the Government and our local Public Health unit to maintain safety of all who may participate. As we look ahead to reopening to in-person worship beyond this first stage, please be assured that we will continue to maintain an online worship experience. In fact, it is our assumption that most of the congregation will continue to seek to worship virtually well into next year due to the limited seating that will be available in worship because of physical distancing requirements, lack of singing and socializing, and concerns with personal safety. We appreciate and respect whatever decision you personally make on this matter. We will continue to share the Gospel in the variety of ways that we are able and trust that we will be able to continue to sense the unity of Christ in our congregation albeit while not being together in the same way as before.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our Leadership or myself. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the challenges that the COVID pandemic presents for us as a worshiping community. We celebrate that we have been able to adapt and thrive during this time – our Summer worship attendance has been the highest and most stable it has ever been and has included many people who have moved away as well as our members who have joined us from their cottages. We continue to be inspired and grateful for your generosity. We truly couldn’t do it without your support and encouragement. May God continue to sustain us with strength and endurance as we look forward to the Fall.   

In Christ’s service,

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