RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Recent
Announcements

Jun 29 – COVID-19 Stage 2 Guidelines Update – PLEASE READ

General Ontario Conference - June 29th, 2021

Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:

On Wednesday, June 30 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will enter step 2 of the provincial reopening plan. Notwithstanding, the Waterloo Region, due to concerning COVID-19 case trends, will remain in step 1.

What does this mean for places of worship?

Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, are permitted at up to 25% capacity of the room.

Ontario Conference Guidelines

The more transmissible Delta variant is now accounting for a significant number of new COVID-19 cases. Therefore, to help prevent another wave, we must continue to take all public safety measures necessary and follow a careful and gradual approach to returning to in-person worship and gatherings.

For churches previously approved for reopening, kindly factor these points for step 2:

  • Sanctuary worship services, weddings, and funerals should be kept to 25% capacity to a maximum of 150 persons while maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks and all other Provincial, Municipal, and Conference guidelines are to remain in place.
  • No socializing is to take place before and after any of the services. Attendees should leave the building and parking lot promptly.
  • All attendees must be pre-registered and pre-screened, and the records kept securely for a minimum of 30 days; this is critical should there be a need for contact tracing.
  • Please note- guidelines for the gradual return to our in-person AMP (Adventurer, Master Guide, and Pathfinder) ministries will be coming soon.

For churches not previously approved for reopening:

  • As the province steadily moves towards fully reopening, if not already completed, your church should prepare and present a reopening plan to the Conference Risk Management Department even if the thinking is not to return to in-person services just yet; this will prevent last-minute scrambling in the future.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you the strength and wisdom needed to navigate these unprecedented times.

Blessings always,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To read more and to view a PDF copy, please visit our COVID-19 website by clicking here.

Jun 10 – COVID-19 Guidelines Update – PLEASE READ

General Ontario Conference - June 10th, 2021

Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:

The Provincial Roadmap to Reopen is a three-step plan designed to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures. The plan is based on:

  • the provincewide vaccination rate
  • improvements in key public health and health care indicators

At 12:01 a.m. on June 11, three days ahead of the projected date, the province will move into Step 1 of its reopening roadmap. The province is scheduled to remain in Step 1 for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on critical public health and health system indicators.

What does this mean for places of worship?

Religious services, rites and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, are permitted indoors at 15% capacity and outdoors with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 meters; this was to happen in step 2 but was brought forward to be included in step 1.

Ontario Conference Guidance

It is essential to underscore that a growing percentage of the COVID-19 cases are the more transmissible Delta variant. Therefore, we need to continue to take all public safety measures necessary and follow a careful and gradual approach to returning to in-person worship. During step 1:

  • Services should be kept to one room at 15% capacity to a maximum of 100 persons while maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks and all other Provincial, Municipal, and Conference guidelines are to remain in place.
  • No socializing is to take place after the service. Attendees should leave the building and parking lot promptly.
  • All attendees must be pre-registered and pre-screened, and the records kept securely for a minimum of 30 days; this is critical if there is a need for contact tracing.

May our great God grant you just what you need in each unfolding moment of these challenging times.

Blessings always,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To read more and to view a PDF copy, please visit our COVID-19 website by clicking here.

ABC Bookmobile Schedule – June & July 2021

Adventist Christian Bookstore - June 1st, 2021

Apr 19 – COVID-19 Guidelines Update – PLEASE READ

General Ontario Conference - April 19th, 2021

Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:

Ontario is experiencing a record-high number of COVID-19 positive cases almost daily, and with the grim projection of reaching 20,000 cases per day, it is imperative that the people of Ontario act now, act together and act differently to “flatten the curve” once again.

On April 16, 2021, Premier Doug Ford, in the interest of public health and safety, announced an extension of the state of emergency and provincewide stay-at-home order until at least May 20, 2021. Several new COVID-19 restrictions have been added, some of them coming into effect on 12:01 a.m. April 17, 2021. It is vital to update yourself on the new measures, including the increased scope of law enforcement.

Concerning religious services:

  • Effective at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 19, 2021, religious services, weddings, and funerals will be limited to a maximum of ten (10) people indoors or outdoors, regardless of capacity.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that everyone can participate safely, the Ontario Conference and Public health strongly encourage virtual services. Should the church building be used, along with a maximum of 10 persons, all other guidelines remain firmly in place. An area of great concern is group singing; this practice has been linked to numerous outbreaks in multiple congregations. At this time, it is advisable to use previously recorded music (audio/ video).

  • If there will be groups leading the virtual congregation in singing or rendering special music etc.:
    • Limit the number of vocalists to no more than three. It is recommended that singers wear masks and or face shields; alternatively, barriers, such as plexiglass, can be installed between vocalists. The barriers must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
    • There is limited evidence to determine an exact safe distance between singers, but a greater distance than 2 meters (6 feet) should be taken to reduce the risk—plan for 2.44 to 3 meters (8-10 feet) of physical distancing.
    • The musicians should all be wearing masks.

May our great God grant you just what you need in each unfolding moment of these challenging times.

Blessings always,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To read more and to view a PDF copy, please visit our COVID-19 website by clicking here.

Apr 8 – COVID-19 Guidelines Update – PLEASE READ

General Ontario Conference - April 8th, 2021

Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:

In his April 7th, 2021 press conference, Premier Doug Ford put it plainly "I can't stress this enough. Things are extremely, extremely serious right now. And I'm extremely concerned." As a result, starting at 12:01 am on Thursday, April 8th, 2021, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is declaring a third provincial state of emergency and is issuing a stay-at-home order.

The rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the danger to our province's hospital system capacity, and the risks to public health and safety due to COVID-19 variants are of great concern to all of us. We strongly encourage each member to acquaint themselves with the stay-home order measures and to govern themselves accordingly.

Regarding weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies, these can continue at 15% capacity indoors; this does not include social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and limited to five people outdoors.

The Ontario Conference continues to hold the position that moving all of our services online until further notice is the safest approach. Nevertheless, at this time, churches that the Conference has already approved for in-person worship may continue with in-person worship, weddings and funeral services.

Services should be kept to one room at 15% capacity to a maximum of 75 persons while maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks and all other Provincial, Municipal, and Conference guidelines are to remain in place.

  • Our strong recommendation remains that 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.
  • Proceeding with baptisms should be carefully considered.
  • All other non-essential special services/events remain suspended until further notice.
  • All attendees must be pre-registered and pre-screened, and the records kept securely for a minimum of 30 days; this is critical if there is a need for contact tracing. You may have heard of establishments being fined $1,000 for not having documentation of the persons who had been in their space. Please be vigilant.

May the Lord bless and keep you as you lead His church through these uncharted waters.

Many Blessings,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To read more and to view a PDF copy, please visit our COVID-19 website by clicking here.

Apr 4 – COVID-19 Guidelines Update – PLEASE READ

General Ontario Conference - April 4th, 2021

Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:

At 12:01 am on Saturday, April 3rd, 2021, for a minimum of four weeks, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing what is being called a province-wide emergency brake. With the "pulling of the emergency brake," come several measures to help reduce the rapid spread of COVID-19 variants, preserve hospital capacity and save lives.

  • Regarding weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies, the capacity is limited to 15 percent occupancy per room indoors; this does not include social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

For the sake of public health and safety, the Ontario Conference firmly maintains the position of following the more cautious and safest approach of moving all of our services online until further notice.

  • Notwithstanding, at this time, churches that the Conference has already approved for in-person worship may continue with in-person worship, wedding and funeral services, up to 15 percent of the building's capacity to a maximum of 75 people while maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks and all other Provincial, Municipal and Conference guidelines are to remain in place.

In some cases, the Conference's guidance may be more restrictive or call for more safety measures than the governmental bodies.

  • It is still our strong recommendation that 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 urgent baptisms, all other non-essential special services/events remain suspended until further notice.

We at no time must deviate from the established guidelines. The provincial and
municipal governments have ramped up their COVID-19 guidelines adherence inspections; this caution also applies to churches that live stream from their church building. Whatever we broadcast must be seen as conforming to all of the COVID-19 safety requirements.

May the grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spiritbe with you always.

Sincerely,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To read more and to view a PDF copy, please visit our COVID-19 website by clicking here.

ABC Bookmobile Schedule – Apr & May 2021

Adventist Christian Bookstore - April 1st, 2021

Conference Virtual Camp Meeting

General Ontario Conference - March 17th, 2021

Greetings in His Precious Name:

While the pandemic has posed numerous challenges on how we have previously carried out God’s mission to make disciples in Ontario, it has also provided new opportunities. One of which is to hold a multiday virtual camp meeting, June 29 – July 3, 2021.

The theme will be ‘Connecting –like Jesus!’, speaking to our great need to have a growing and deepening connection with our Heavenly Father in the way Jesus did, loving our neighbours as ourselves, ministering to them and making disciples in the same way He did. Our objectives will focus on connecting, growing, leading and maturing in Jesus.

I am also pleased to inform you that our Adventist Ministries Convention, postponed because of the pandemic, will be an integral part of camp meeting. It will be a joint camp meeting and ministries convention.

Members and guests alike will experience a variety of inspiring worships, workshops, training, Bible study, early morning prayer and nightly evangelistic worship. Other staples of camp meeting— vibrant Children’s and Youth and Young Adults’ programs--may also be expected.

We would far prefer if we were able to announce an in-person camp meeting, but a virtual camp meeting/ministries convention will allow many more to attend and benefit from all the features that will be broadcasted over the conference’s social platform.

While most workshops and training will be available to everyone, there may be some specialised workshops designed for ministry leaders only. Over the next 2 – 3 months, information, including a full schedule, will be sent out to you and to your churches.

We are looking forward to a time when we will be able to have multiday camp meetings at our new camp site but, for this year, we are soliciting your prayers that the Holy Spirit will guide us so that we can be confident that God will be glorified.

In His Service,

Mansfield Edwards,
President

 

To  view a PDF copy, please click here.

Update about Gathering at 60 King Street, Woodville, ON

General Ontario Conference - March 10th, 2021

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Please read and share the following critical update with your church members and extended networks.

The gathering at 60 King Street, Woodville, is not a church, company, group or church plant initiative affiliated with Ontario Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; nor is there any active conversation about making it such.

For an updated list of our 175 churches, companies and groups, please visit https://www.adventistontario.org/directory/churches/.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To view a PDF copy, please click here

ABC March Features / Deals

Adventist Christian Bookstore - March 1st, 2021

Feb 17 – COVID-19 Guidelines Update – PLEASE READ

General Ontario Conference - February 17th, 2021

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:

https://www.phdapps.health.gov.on.ca/PHULocator/

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,

Sincerely,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To read more and to view a PDF copy, please visit our COVID-19 website by clicking here.

ABC Bookmobile Schedule – Feb & March 2021

Adventist Christian Bookstore - February 1st, 2021

Jan 13 – COVID-19 Guidelines Update – PLEASE READ

General Ontario Conference - January 13th, 2021

Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, beginning yesterday, January 12, 2021, the Ontario government declared a second provincial state of emergency. Also, effective Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order; this will require everyone to remain at home with exceptions for activities such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely.

While the state of emergency calls for no indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household, and the limiting of outdoor gatherings to five, concerning wedding services, funeral services and other religious services, rites or ceremonies, there is currently an exception. Where physical distancing can be maintained and in compliance with the rules on face coverings, the permissible numbers are as follows:

  • Ten people indoors
  • Ten people outdoors

The language given by the government regarding face coverings has been enhanced. It states, “Every person in the premises of a business or organization that is open shall ensure that they wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin, when they are in indoor areas of the premises, with limited exemptions.”

The Ontario Conference firmly maintains the position of following the more cautious and safest approach of moving all of our services online until further notice. However, if your church continues to use the building for worship services, live streaming, pre-recording, or any other purposes, the maximum number of people allowed in the building at the same time is ten (10), irrespective of where they may be situated within the facility. The facecovering mandate must be stringently enforced, and all other existing provincial, municipal, and Conference COVID measures remain strictly in place. Should you re-broadcast content filmed before the state of emergency, it is prudent to use a previously recorded overlay to indicate so.

The situation remains fluid and can change at any time. Please have plans in place to meet a variety of scenarios, including the possibility of not being permitted to use our church buildings.

May the grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.

Many Blessings,

  • Mansfield Edwards (President)
  • Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
  • Virene Meikle (Treasurer)

 

To read more and to view a PDF copy, please visit our COVID-19 website by clicking here.

ABC Bookmobile Schedule – Jan 2021

Adventist Christian Bookstore - January 1st, 2021

Updated December COVID-19 Church Guidelines & Baptism Waiver

General Ontario Conference - December 24th, 2020

Dear Pastors, Bible Workers and Elders,

In an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, Premier Doug Ford announced that starting at 12:01 am on Sabbath, December 26th, 2020, all of Ontario will be elevated to the Gray Zone. The province wide lockdown will remain in place until at least January 23rd, 2021, for the 27 public health unit regions in Southern Ontario and until January 9th, 2021, in Northern Ontario. During this time, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will be closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases to see if the lockdown measures need to be extended. It is prudent that we plan for a prolonged period in the Gray Zone.

The Ontario Conference is still strongly recommending the more cautious and safest approach of moving all of our services online until further notice. Notwithstanding, in regards to weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained, the provincial lockdown order states that the following gathering limits are permissible:

  • 10 people indoors;
  • 10 people outdoors;
  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies permitted, subject to certain conditions;
  • Virtual services permitted.


Should your church continue to use the building for worship, live streaming, pre-recording or any other purpose, the maximum number of people allowed in the building at the same time is ten (10), irrespective of where they may be situated within the facility. All other provincial, municipal, and Conference COVID measures remain strictly in place.

Concerning baptisms:

Public health authorities strongly discourage activities such as baptisms. However, if ordinances involving close physical contact must be performed, the pastor and the candidate must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, which includes:

  • Surgical/procedure masks
  • Goggles or Face Shields
  • Overcoats or gown
  • Gloves (change gloves after each candidate)

Procedures to be followed:

  • Please have the candidates sign the waiver provided with our previous baptismal guidelines. If the candidate is a minor, the parent or guardian is to sign. (See waiver form attached or click HERE)
  • The officiating pastor/elder should not offer a prayer or pronouncement. An ordained elected elder or pastor with a current ministerial credential that is not officiating and is physically distanced should offer prayer and pronouncement.
  • Only one candidate should be baptized at a time (unless a family grouping living in the same household).
  • Officiating pastor/elder should baptize no more than five candidates in any given ceremony.
  • The candidate must sanitize hands with hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or higher) for 20 seconds before entering the pool.
  • For any towels, sheets, baptism gown, laundry etc., minimize shaking and disturbance.

Concerning Communion:

If your church wants to hold a Communion service during the lockdown, it is recommended this be done virtually; this allows members and the online community to participate in the service from their homes. There are several ways a virtual Communion service can be done in a meaningful way; this could include having families prepare the emblems at their homes by providing them with the recipes. Some churches have created videos of the bread-making process or invited the members to prepare the elements together via Zoom. Others have delivered pre-packed emblems to the members.

  • Follow this link to an example of a video of how to prepare the Communion bread
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYj7sdD6mDI
  • Here is a link to a clip of a Zoom Communion service
    https://tinyurl.com/y2kl95eh
  • It is crucial to urge those participating in the virtual Communion to maintain integrity with the chosen elements and preserve the service's sanctity.

It remains crucial that we at no time deviate from any of the prescribed guidelines.

Thank you for your usual support, and may God continue to give you wisdom, courage and strength to minister during these turbulent times.

We wish you and your families peace, comfort, and joy this Holiday Season!

Many Blessings,

  • Mansfield Edwards, President
  • Jakov Bibulović, Executive Secretary
  • Virene Meikle, Treasurer

 

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