Recommendation to Close for Public Worship

Monday, March 16, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Each day and at times, every hour, new updates arrive regarding COVID-19 and how this affects our daily lives.

At this time, we recommend that Communities of Faith and Ministries not hold public worship services.

Today, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Theresa Tam said, “Public gatherings of 50 people or more are to be avoided.” Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Deena Hinshaw announced also that each health zone in our province has at least one case of COVID19.

In closing down our public activities, we are part of a generous act — to assist in preventing an escalation of infection in our province. We know this time is not easy but as a Church, the Spirit of the Living God calls us together in one body even when circumstances inhibit our physical gatherings.

We value that Communities of Faith and Ministries are finding meaningful and compassionate ways to connect as the body of Christ — Online worship services, phone outs to congregational participants, invitations to submit photos, etc. 

The Chinook Winds Region Office will continue to find ways to support communities of faith leadership. Watch for further communication about online gatherings.
We will also be continuing to update a list of online worship services and studies that are occurring. You’ll find that HERE. If you would like your online digital worship or study included, please email Shelley Den Haan a link and details. 

Finally, while you as communities of faith provide different ways of connecting with parishioners, it is OK to remind your people that the financial needs of the church will continue. Encourage people that they can still mail donations or to give online, should your congregation have that means. CanadaHelps also offers online giving abilities for all United Church congregations. 

Continue to lean into the power of prayer and spiritual mindfulness practices, as well as the physical distancing and cleanliness precautions required of us now, in caring for yourself and one another. As is being said in Italy, ‘Let us keep our distance now so that we can embrace each other tighter tomorrow.”

Treena Duncan, Executive Minister 
Helen Reed, Presiding Officer
Alberta Health Guidelines