After months of being in Phase I, the Parish of St. Dunstan is finally able to proceed to Phase II. While no specific date for re-opening was set, the application for re-opening was approved this week by the Archbishop and her team. This means, with careful planning and teamwork, the Parish can now hold in-person worship for up to 50 people.
Of course, restrictions remain in place. Services can not include communion, there can be no singing, the washrooms are closed, children's play areas are closed, people must register to attend, wear masks, and practice social distancing. But this is an exciting new development in the process of being with one another again, to pray for the world and give thanks to God.
The Parish will keep the online Sunday Zoom service as the primary worship for the community. This is to ensure the widest possible group of congregants be able to access the prayer of the community. Instead, people will be invited to register and attend worship on Wednesday evenings for a service of Compline.
Members of the congregation filled out a parish survey to indicate comfort levels about re-opening. The full report can be downloaded below. A few items are noteworthy, however.
First, most of the congregation has attended the online Zoom service at least once since the building closed in the middle of March. Those who have not indicated they were unable to connect or have a general aversion to online worship or Zoom in particular.
Second, even though it is possible to meet for in-person worship in Phase II, due to the number of restrictions most members of the congregation will choose not to attend an in-person service.
Third, a little more than half of the congregation would consider attending an in-person service if it were held on a day different than Sunday.
Fourth, a majority of the congregation would consider attending worship even though there was no communion.
The information gathered will guide the parish leaders in their work to re-open.
An in-person service of Compline will be offered on July 15th and 22nd. The parish leadership is asking for volunteers who will train as greeters and sanitizers. Please connect with David if you are interested.
People will need to register their attendance by emailing the office. The office, in accordance with Provincial rules, will take the names and contact information of all those who attend.
This information will be kept onsite for 30 days.
These are strange times. Around the world people are afraid. In our local communities people are trying hard to navigate a new normal.
As Followers of Jesus, we get to be the world's friends and our neighbours' helpers in this strange time. The church never closes because we are the church. Whether we can meet in-person or not, we still labour to fulfill our baptismal call to care, uphold, encourage, and heal this world.
Our Thursday meal continues, in a new way, to feed our local community. Thank you for your continued support!
I am so grateful for your dedication to Christ and your willingness to discover the new normal of following his way.