New Restrictions for Alberta Places of Worship

A Message from Executive Minister Treena Duncan

Executive Minister Treena Duncan
Executive Minister Treena Duncan

On September 15, 2021, the Alberta Government announced new measures to combat COVID-19. Places of Worship now have specific restrictions as outlined below.

However, these restrictions may not greatly affect the way you are already doing ministry.

That’s because most Chinook Winds Region’s Communities of Faith have already put into place high standards for offering COVID-19 Aware ministry. You are living out Christ’s Gospel to love and care for one another including the most vulnerable. Most of you had already asked people to wear masks, social distance and are offering hybrid forms of in-person, online and outside ministry. I commend you for your loving care of others.

The new mandatory restrictions for Places of Worship effective today, September 16, 2021 are:

  • Capacity limited to 1/3 fire code occupancy.
  • Masks are mandatory.
  • 2 metres physical distancing between households, or 2 close contacts for those living alone.

Wedding and Funeral mandatory restriction – Effective Sept. 20:

  • Indoor wedding ceremonies and funeral services are permitted with up to 50 people or 50% of fire code occupancy, whichever is less.
  • Indoor wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited, unless the hosting facility implements the restrictions exemption program.
  • Outdoor ceremonies, services and receptions are permitted with up to 200 people and must follow liquor sales and consumption restrictions (sales end at 10pm, consumption by 11pm), unless the hosting facility implements the restrictions exemption program.

At the Alberta Government’s News Conference yesterday, nothing was said about Places of Worship in the context of the restrictions exempt program. That said, however, what the United Church is finding in other provinces is that proof of vaccination can end up being a requirement for some non-ministry activities. That certainly is true now in Alberta for indoor wedding and funeral receptions and outdoor ceremonies, services and receptions noted above.

We will continue to monitor the requirements of the Proof of Vaccination Program and advise you accordingly. 

You can reach out to Chinook Winds Staff with your queries or commentary.

As we navigate these strange times the words of the hymn, “We have this Ministry,” help remind us of our call in this time:

We have this ministry and we are not discouraged,
It is by God’s own power that we may live and serve.
Openly we share God’s word, speaking truth as we believe,
Praying that the shadowed world may healing light receive,
We have this ministry, O God receive our living.

We continue to pray that this shadowed world may healing light receive. We pray for Alberta’s front-line health care workers, those who have lost ones to COVID-19, those affected by postponed surgeries and treatments, for those suffering from COVID-19, our children who have yet to receive a vaccine, those adults yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Our prayers are many.

With Blessings,

Treena Duncan, Executive Minister