COVID-19 UPDATE

our ongoing response as a church

All physical gatherings, ministries, services, and activities at WestPark have been suspended until further notice, but we are doing lots online!

Full Update as of June 11

Church Re-opening Status Update

I wanted to keep you updated about what our next steps are as a church about re-opening. Since Doug Ford’s announcement last about allowing churches to reopen if building use remains below 30% capacity, we have been working to figure out what that means for us as a church and what our next steps would be.

What we know/don’t know  

 

Key principles that will guide us.

 

  • We must keep the end in mind: the church will prevail, no matter COVID.

  • We must be concerned as much with the church scattered as we are with the church gathered.

  • Our mission remains: Everyday people on a journey together pursuing Christ.

  • We must remain nimble, flexible, and teachable

 

Practical things: there is much we don’t know.

 

The regulations allow for up to 30% seating capacity which will probably require some kind system where people will have to sign up for a reservation before we come so that we stay under 30%. When we do finally meet, family groupings will be spread out at least two meters apart in our meeting rooms for social distancing. We do not expect kids’ programs will be allowed initially.

We may be required to meet some or all of these requirements…

  • Move people quickly in and quickly out without allowing for groups to congregate and fellowship.

  • Take names of those who attend for contact tracing.

  • We may not be allowed to sing.

  • We may have to take the temperature of people as they arrive.

  • Masks may be required.

 

Of course, none of these things seem pleasant. As of Friday morning, we don’t know any details related to the above possible restrictions and we are looking to the provincial government and to local health authorities for guidance. Whenever we do meet, expect a different worship experience for some time.

Big picture considerations.

1. All language groups will keep a good online experience ongoing, even when we go back to live services.​

2. All language groups will begin live services sometime in the future, but we don’t know the date yet when live services will begin. We all want to get back together again as do I, but we simply don’t when yet.

3. We will go slow and we will be wise for 2 considerations:

  • Safety: we will maximize safety because we don’t want anybody to get sick because they came to church.

  • Experience: we want to provide the best worship experience possible given our limitations for what we’ll probably call our ‘touchless’ service. When we do begin meeting again, for some time the worship experience will be different from what we are used to, until the government removes all restrictions.

 

4. We all fall on somewhere along a spectrum about what we believe we should do.​

  • Some want to start worship services right now.

  • Some want to wait until a vaccine is developed.

  • Some are in between the two.

  • Nobody is right or wrong. So we need to respect that others may have a different perspective from us. That’s ok.

  • None of us has the perfect answer, so we must extend grace to each other.

  • And, other churches may do it differently from us and that’s ok as well.

What’s next?

1. Next week we will have our first extended planning meeting for our staff ( we planned this meeting several weeks ago ). These are some of the plans, strategies, and processes we must create before we have live services.

  • A timeline.

  • A communication plan to the church and community to make sure everybody stays in the loop on our plans.

  • Detailed and thorough cleaning protocols. We are purchasing special sanitizing equipment that will help us. We must consider insurance liabilities to make sure we are meeting regulations.

  • Recruit and train extra greeting and cleaning teams for our services.

  • Create new signage (arrows on the floor, entry-exit signs, etc.)

  • Create processes to get people in and out while maintaining social distancing.

  • An online service reservations process.

  • Design a newly styled Sunday morning service because it will be shorter and must accommodate the new realities.

 

We must do these things all the while our staff and volunteers are still diligently doing their current ministry including producing our online services. So, we have lots of work to do to prepare for a safe and good worship experience.

 

2. Our board will meet soon to help with this process.

3. We will keep you informed through our weekly e-news, our web site, on Sundays, and through occasional special communications.

What can you do?

1. Pray for wisdom for leadership.

2. Share ideas you may have as you learn what is working for other churches.

3. Send us questions you may have. We will do our best to answer them. Send correspondence to office@westparkchurch.ca

4. Remember this saying because you will hear often the next few weeks:

  • Fear sees obstacles

  • Faith sees opportunity

  • We choose faith!

Looking forward to seeing us all back together one day.

 

God bless!

 

Pastor Charles