The COVID-19 Pandemic and CIFPC’s Re-opening Plan
June 23, 2020
The United Church of Canada (UCC) has developed guidelines for re-opening church spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the guidelines of the four BC Phases of the Pandemic Response, and the plan of the UCC, the Pacific Mountain Regional Council (PMR) has developed a guide of three PMR Stages of Re-opening. The re-opening guide is not a set of fixed requirements. It asks every congregation or ministry to:
1- Assess Risks
2- Plan its re-opening activities
3- Move carefully through stages of re-opening.
CIFPC began this process very early by establishing the ad hoc Emergency Planning Committee, chaired by Gail Potter, retired nursing instructor at Selkirk College. We have met many times online to assess and plan safe strategies and events. For example, the TUC Food Bank operates normal hours. We held a Special General Meeting on May 24th in-person at Trail United Church and online via Zoom.
The CIFPC Council has documented its re-opening plan in a report developed at its June 3rd meeting. In a nut shell we identify our principles of care, for example, guarding the safety of staff, volunteers, church members and the community we serve. A core value is providing connection, spiritual sustenance, support, and comfort during this time of aloneness and physical distancing.
Moving into PMR Re-opening Stage 1:
- WORSHIP WILL BE ONLINE ONLY, not in-person. We can sing heartily – but only at home!
- This stage will last until autumn if all goes well and infection rates remain low.
- We may plan small in-person gatherings such as committee meetings, while always offering online options to participants. This mix would be a “hybrid” meeting.
- We have been experimenting with two online Coffee Parties held June 4th and 17th.
- We will work hard at keeping ALL our people safe and finding ways to include everyone. We will continue to send email or post notices regularly, bi-weekly in July and August.
- Meanwhile we will explore ways to begin safe in-person worship, perhaps with part of our congregation at a time. Or with small groups outdoors. Always with safe hygiene and distancing.
- But it will be awhile yet before we sit cosily at tables and share refreshments. What will the “New Normal” be before we find a vaccine or other remedy?
Be well and stay safe,
Carol Hobbs DeRosa,
The full CIFPC report of June 9th on our Pandemic Re-opening is available via email or post.
For a copy please call the office: 250-368-3225.