Hello Bread Of Life Family,
I would like to continue the conversation on that we have started a few weeks ago with you. On behalf of the council I would like to update you where we are with respect to what the next few months will likely look like at Bread Of Life.
The Sask Synod held a series of meetings with the rostered Ministers and the Church Leaders to share details and recommendations that congregations throughout the province as they look towards an in-person worship decisions.
One point I would like to call out is the difference between our brother and sisters of the Catholic and Anglican faith. Their Bishops deliver the In Person plans to the Church Leasers it is then implemented. For us in the Lutheran community the Bishop will present recommendations but it is up to individual congregations to make decisions that are right for them. It removes a broad brush painting everyone the same. As the risk factors to be considered in a small rural congregation will be considerably different than those of a larger urban congregation.
To read more of the recommendations feel free to read it - In-Person guidelines offered from the Sask Synod on their page. We will also have a copy on our Bread of Life website.
The hard reality is that In Person service will be something that will not be the same as it was at the start of the year. The need to maintain physical distancing and keeping everyone in the congregation safe and healthy is something that requires a number of sacrifices by all of us. The feeling we all had coming to church on Sunday morning will be dramatically different and it could leave some feeling very uncomfortable.
An In Person service requires a number of key steps to be in place in order for it happen. Here are a few right off the top that are required:
· Pre-registration and designated seating would be required. Documentation would be required to be kept for possible contact tracing if a member of the congregation were to test positive for COVID-19.
· A six-foot perimeter around family groups or individuals.
· Masks would be required to be worn for the entire service.
· Singing from the congregation will not be allowed.
· Communion would not be served.
· The service would be limited to 30 minutes.
To implement these would require also a large number of volunteers. The further challenge if we were to have a member of the congregation that choose to not participate in the guidelines. We would need to consider how that can be resolved.
A layer of complexity is that of our building itself. Living Spirit Centre is a partnership not only of distinct congregations but also Arcola Wellness Centre, Munch and various other groups throughout the week. The coordination, manpower and follow up required is daunting.
The LSC council met last week and the decision was made to keep the building closed until September at the very earliest. The congregations were asked and agreed to engage with LSC council and the other congregations if they would like to start In Person services again before September.
We have as a council come to the agreement that we will honour this wish and continue with virtual church via our Facebook Live page until September at the earliest. Council will meet for a special meeting in August to continue this In Person service discussions.
That will afford us time to see what recommendations the Province and the Sask Synod continue to make. In this prudent approach we feel, as your council, we have made a decision that will keep all of our Bread Of Life family safe for a couple more months.
The theme in the meeting there was captured in the guiding principles from the Sask Synod.
That theme was;
· Adopt a cautious approach in reopening church spaces for worship.
· Ensure that the church’s role of health promotion, health education, and leadership is fulfilled.
· Remember that churches are hubs of close relationships and continuing to find innovative ways to help build & foster close relationships.
· Be good stewards by caring for one another, the community, the environment, and the world.
· Remember that we are the people of God on whom we all depend.
Over the next weeks I will be hosting virtual town halls via the Zoom app and this will be an opportunity for you to join myself and other council members for a conversation and to ask questions. Until those sessions are announced I would encourage you to reach out to myself at [email protected], any member of council or Pastor Stewart at [email protected] . We are here to listen to you.