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Hello Dear Friends,
Warmest Christian greetings! “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” This is often used as a benediction – it is the word God gave to Moses to relay to Aaron and pass along as a blessing to the Israelites (Numbers 6:24). Isn’t this an amazing pronouncement!
This email is an extra this week in response to the Ontario government’s announcement on Thursday, April 7, 2021 regarding COVID- 19 restrictions. Last evening we were actually in a Church Board meeting when we received clarification as to how places of worship would be affected by the regulations. Following is the up-to-date information that we have.
Yesterday, Premier Ford announced a third Province wide State of Emergency and Stay Home Order across all 34 Public Health Unit Regions.
Of particular concern to all of us are attendance provisions for Places of Worship. Here is the Ontario Provincial Release that provides a complete overview:
In this release it states that with respect to churches, attendance provisions include:
For weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies:
· physical distancing must be maintained
· guests must wear masks or face coverings
· indoors: 15% capacity of the room
· outside: the number of people that can maintain two meters physical distance from each other.
Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies permitted, subject to certain conditions.
This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
Moving forward, 15% attendance capacity per room is the Province wide standard for gatherings for the next four weeks. It is our understanding that at any time the Province or a local health unit may impose stricter limitations on a regional basis.
Last week we began with the 15% capacity and will continue to do so for the next 4 weeks in compliance with the provincial guidelines. There are some things to which I bring your attention as a reminder:
Evangel is doing an excellent job of managing the protocols and our hosts are very diligent in creating and maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for all. Earlier this week we were in conversation with our Mayor, Marg Isbester, the local health unit and the O.P.P. It was an opportunity to ensure them of the careful and safe procedures we observe when gathering as a church family. Each sincerely appreciated our reaching out to them. They all are very supportive of our efforts and attention to detail and safety.
Evangel can accommodate at least 120 in consideration of the 15% factor. This includes the adjacent rooms – Youth room and foyer – our hosts will continue to manage this to ensure we are within the parameters. If needed, the gym may be used for overflow since it has audio capabilities already. If needed, we can possibly do a video feed there as well. This will most likely not be necessary since folk can participate in viewing the church service from their home…we’re working hard to cover all the bases!!! If the gym is used it increases our numbers by 22 while keeping within the maximum permitted under the current restrictions.
Please note: If you feel unwell or you are not comfortable to being in public gatherings, please do not feel any pressure or obligation to attend church in person. We fully understand this! Of course, you may continue to tune in to YouTube. We do look forward, though, to the day when you will join us again in person!
Another important note: please ensure that you are properly distanced (6 feet) when entering and exiting the building. Also, when outside it is important to give attention to the distancing factor.
The following is a little insight into how we are proceeding to accommodate the protocols as it relates to our worship teams. The old schedule expired on March 28 and a new one is almost completed. We have 4 worship teams that will be ministering at least once per month. We are delighted to include some new voices! Also, there are those who work weekends and we have tried to accommodate these schedules. I guess there is no such thing as a perfect schedule but we will work with it and make adjustments as may be necessary. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Please note that practice for the Sunday service is set for 8:45 a.m. As time goes by, it may be necessary to consider an alternative timeframe so as not to be rushed on Sunday mornings…we’ll see. The goal is to be done the practice before the congregation arrives.
Following practice we are asking the worship team to take a quick break and come back to the platform for a time of prayer (at least at 9:45 a.m.). We will not meet in the Youth room beforehand since there may be occasion when the 15% capacity could be exceeded in that area. So, to be sure, there will be a time of prayer on the platform and the congregation is invited to pray along until our 10:00 a.m. start. This will be observed for the next 4 Sundays, at least.
Would you please continue to pray that our times together in worship and praise will be “led by the Holy Spirit”.
Your participation and understanding is sincerely appreciated! Thank you!
Lots of things to consider, eh? All of us are doing our best as we adapt and adjust along the way. You are so appreciated for your cooperation!
Many blessings and, again, the Scripture from Numbers 6:24 is an amazing word for every day!
Cal Anthony (Rev.)
Evangel Temple,Napanee, ON
The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada