St. Timothy’s Limited Reopening

Sunday, September 13 at 10:00 am

Dear friends:

I’m pleased to announce that, after careful and considerate work on the part of your Wardens, Vestry, and Reopening Task Force, that St. Timothy’s will reopen for in-person worship (and a Partita Sunday) in a limited fashion on Sunday, September 13.

What does this mean?

This means that we are required to adhere to all provincial and municipal health regulations without exceptions. Face masks must be worn at all times while in the building; physical distancing protocols must be maintained at all times while in or on church property. This means that your entry and exit of the church will follow specific procedures, including a mandatory contact tracing/screening questionnaire upon arrival, to maintain safer conditions while in the building. We are unable, due to regulations, to offer a coffee fellowship hour in-person after the service at this time. Due to significant risk of viral spread, the coatroom and nursery are also closed for now.

This also imposes certain limitations on how we worship. This means that, while attending in-person worship, there can be no singing or humming; there will likely be a limit on spoken liturgical responses (I’m trying to see what I can do about this). However, you will be present in-person along with your family in Christ. The music you hear will also be live. We will begin to introduce and expand worship practice, including having a soloist most safely sing the hymns on our behalf, reintroducing lectors to the service, preaching from the pulpit, and a new, more “normal” chancel setup for these services of Morning Prayer.

We absolutely will continue livestreaming service. In fact, we anticipate that a significant number of people will continue to worship via the livestream. Essentially, we’re inviting you to attend the livestreamed Morning Prayer service in-person.

How is this going to work?

In the week leading up to September 13, we’ll be sending you email and video-devotional orientations to this new way of worshiping. Stay tuned for that material—we don’t want to just overwhelm you with loads of information in one, single, massive email.

Do I need to register in advance to attend on Sundays?

Yes, you do need to register, and you will need to register weekly for the following Sunday's service, all first-come-first-served for the sake of fairness. Pam Gaskin, our parish secretary, will be your registrar. Registration is as simple as calling the church office (780 483-5506) or emailing the church office ( Pam’s office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. Registration absolutely closes on Fridays at noon, with no exceptions. The maximum number of persons we can allow to attend is 60 persons. We have capacity to welcome guests, within that 60-person limit, on Sunday mornings as well.

Are we only gathering on Sunday mornings?

Nope! We have lots of other plans to unveil to you. Concerts, studies, other opportunities for experiential learning, modified opportunities for fellowship, reworking our favourite pre-COVID activities…we have a lot on the go that we’re planning on offering. Stay tuned!

What if there’s a second wave of COVID? What about an outbreak?

All of our planning is governed by how the pandemic behaves and unfolds. It is possible that another lockdown may be required. In that case, we know what to do, and we’ve done it before this spring and summer. We’ve learned an awful lot in these very demanding past six months, and hope to be able to be more experienced and more creative in our programming should more stringent infection control limits be required.

Am I a had Christian I want to stay home and worship?

Looking after your well-being and the well-being of your loved ones is a Christian virtue. If you feel it’s safer for you to stay at home and worship and participate for now, that’s just fine. This isn’t about establishing "classes” of parishioners at St. Timothy’s. We recognize that different sorts of folks have different sorts of needs. We want to be able to try to meet some of those needs as we can. We expect that the invitation to in-person worship will not divide our congregation.

What about the 8:30 am service?

Offering two services is prohibitive because of the sheer amount of logistics and cleaning required. We have to completely sanitize the church after each use, which requires a lot of work, a lot of volunteer help, as well as costly virus-killing cleaning agents. Reverend Lorne is absolutely happy to offer a balance of resources for worship from the BCP, BAS, as well as other resources during this temporary pandemic season. I'm also very open to and welcome your feedback on the services we offer. When the time comes that the pandemic is over, the resumption of our usual Sunday schedule of two services, including Eucharist, is a given.

What do I do if I have more questions?

Remember that we’ll offer you more information next week. In the meantime, you’re very encouraged to call or email us at the church office. In addition, your Vestry person will be calling you this week. They’ll have fresh information to chat with you about, and each Vestry person has a copy of our most up-to-date reopening protocol to refer to as you phone-visit with them this weekend.

God be with you as we move into autumn and this new phase of our life together. And may God bless our work, together, as one Body in Christ.

Yours in love,

-Reverend Lorne Manweiler