Tag Archives: session

Free Money!

Did you read that right? Yes – money for free!

Michelle Spollen – Unsplash

As Covid restrictions have continued, two things are happening. First I spend way too much time in front of a screen, often on the same old websites. Second, it seems like every time I open my email or answer the phone, there is a new scam for me to be fooled by. It never ends.

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Re-opening, and Possibly Re-closing, Presbyterian Churches

by Fred Stewart, General Presbyter with the Presbytery of West Toronto

I have had the opportunity to speak to many of you about your reopening plans for your church buildings. Sessions have created a variety of strategies largely based on the different circumstances of their congregations.  A lot of planning and debate has accompanied these strategies. As a result, some congregations have already opened for worship with protocols in place. Some are planning on opening soon. Some are waiting for what they consider a safer time.

However, the last week and a bit have significantly changed the risk factors in many parts of Canada, especially in the neighbourhoods of some of our churches.

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The Election of Elders During Covid-19 Restrictions

The election of elders is an important aspect of our congregational life, and is one we don’t want to put on hold until we can return fully to our church buildings. As the pandemic has continued from weeks to months a number of people have asked me how they might undertake the election of elders in these times. It is helpful to know that the process of holding an election is relatively easy to adapt, however the actual act of ordination becomes a little more complicated.

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More Than Worship: Re-Starting Other On-Site Church Activities

Almost all of the Province of Ontario has now moved to stage three of reopening. Unfortunately, while there is a great deal of information available for businesses, there is much less information available for worshipping communities. This article is an attempt to synthesize what we do know from the documents that are available to us.  

In stage three, indoor gatherings are now permitted. Places of worship are not explicitly named, but, convention centres, libraries and other public places are, making me believe that churches can carefully reopen to other non-worship activities under these current rules. This could include congregational activities, committee meetings, bible studies and other gatherings, as well as church rentals.

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When and How Will Your Church Re-Open? (Updated – June 10, 2020)

This week, the Ontario government moved to Phase 2 of re-opening the province in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 12, 2020 additional businesses and services are allowed to re-open with appropriate social distancing protocols in place. This re-opening will be phased in with areas outside the GTA and the Greater Hamilton area opening first. The date for re-opening the GTA and Greater Hamilton areas has not yet been determined.  

However, it appears that places of worship throughout in the province will be able to open this weekend provided that the buildings are filled to no more than 30% of capacity and with physical distancing protocols in place.

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Session Resource on Re-Opening Church Buildings

We have been physically apart from our church families for two-and-a-half months now and we are excited that our government and health officials are beginning to consider how and when our communities might re-open down the road. In light of this, many of our sessions are beginning to wonder what re-opening their church building might look like. How will worship need to be changed to ensure that compassionate concern for the health of all of our members is ensured? Should nurseries and Sunday schools start back up right away? Can smaller groups meet in the meantime before our whole community of faith is allowed to gather together in our church building? These are all great questions.

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COVID-19 Thoughts, Especially Around Stewardship

Friends in Christ,

It has been quite a week! Already it seems like a month since the decision to close churches. I am grateful for the stories I am hearing of people who are going out of their way to reach out to each other, especially by phone or video. Likewise I have heard of at least two instances where people ran bible studies and/or worship on video only to discover that the group was twice as big as normal, in part because shut-in people could join in as well as people who no longer live in the area. It may be worth keeping this up even after the doors open again.

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