Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:
The stay-at-home order has been listed for 27 Ontario regions, and the province is moving back into the framework of the colour-coded restrictions. However, in Toronto, Peel and York regions, the stay-at-home order remains in effect until at least February 22, 2021.
The Ontario Conference focuses on public health and safety. Therefore, a cautious approach to returning to in-person worship is strongly recommended; This may include additional safety measurer over and above those issued by governmental agencies.
- At this time, churches that have already been approved by the Conference for in-person worship in all regions except Toronto, Peel, York, Niagara (which is in the Gray or Lockdown Zone) may resume in-person worship, wedding, and funeral services, but only up to 30 percent of the building’s capacity to a maximum of 75 people maintaining physical distancing and wearing masks.
- Members should remain within the region in which they reside and should not cross Zones into a lower level than their place of residence, meaning, for example, if someone lives in a Red Zone, we ask that they not attend a church in any of the Zones lower in the framework.
- It is further recommended that our services be no more than an hour and a half.
- No socializing is to take place after the service. Attendees should leave the building and parking lot promptly.
- Apart from baptism, communion, and baby dedication (conducted according to our previously released guidelines), all other non-essential special services/events including, wedding receptions and funeral repasts, remain suspended until further notice.
Before reopening, each church should submit a board-voted action to the Vice President for Administration and the Director of Property and Risk Management; churches should also undergo a deep cleaning. All previous governmental and Conference guidelines remain in place.
The situation remains fluid, and it is crucial that you continue to regularly monitor your local public health unity or municipality’s website for details concerning your church’s local area. To assist you in doing so, below is a link to the Provincial Public Health Unit Locator:
All continuation of in-person worship services are on a week-to-week basis, and local churches should be in a constant state of readiness to return to online services at any time.
May grace and blessings be in your path,
- Mansfield Edwards (President)
- Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
- Virene Meikle (Treasurer)