Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:
On January 3, 2022, Premier Doug Ford announced provincial restrictions intended to curb the rampant spread of COVID-19. Ontario will return to a modified Step Two of the Province’s reopening plan, including closing indoor dining, food courts, gyms and theatres, and lower capacity limits in most other settings. These measures are effective January 5, 2022, 12:01 a.m.
What does this mean for our churches?
Capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies will be limited to 50 per cent. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people who can maintain two metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
Social gatherings are permitted under the following conditions:
- indoor gatherings limited to five people or fewer
- outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer
Our current Sabbath worship service capacity limits remain in force. Thus, the number of congregants allowed is 50% capacity of the space used for worship, up to 300 persons. Such persons must maintain physical distancing and are limited to one room. It is crucial that pre-registration, pre-screening, masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, proper respiratory etiquette and enhanced cleaning and disinfection be strictly enforced
**At this time, Adventurer, Master Guide, and Pathfinder ministries are to move online until further notice.**
- Potlucks, socials, and other group meals remain suspended.
- Worship services must be condensed to no longer than two hours total, with limits on preliminaries and platform participants.
- Churches should conduct evening meetings, such as AY and Bible studies, online rather than in-person.
- Indoor group singing and wind instruments have been linked to numerous outbreaks. Thus, do limit the number of vocalists and avoid group or congregational singing..
- Additional church activities, such as prayer meetings, choir practices, etc., remain suspended but may continue online.
Based on your congregation’s needs, some local churches may choose to suspend in-person services until further notice.
The Ontario Conference is supportive of these decisions in the interest of public health and safety.
While the Ontario Conference does not require proof of vaccination, those worshiping in rented facilities
should note that some of those facilities’ landlords may decide otherwise and mandate that all persons entering their locations be immunized, including our worshipers.
May you realize that our great God is present with you, even at this very moment.
- Mansfield Edwards (President)
- Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
- Virene Meikle (Treasurer)