Written guides and resources for you to pair with our Worship Gatherings
Hello LGMC church family!
BC’ers have heard the good news that come July 1st we are moving into Phase 3 of our COVID Restart. While this means a lot of different things across the province, we are most excited for what this means for our worship gatherings going forward!
In short, entering Phase 3 means the immediate removal of PHO (Public Health Orders) restrictions on religious gatherings. In other words, mandatory guidelines have now become recommendations for us to implement at our discretion. No matter what emotional response or questions you have about this shift, I think it’s fair to say that this is a sign that things are dramatically improving in our province. Praise God!
As our congregation again makes adjustments, we want to remain diligent and discerning, graciously hold space for those who are excited to return to “normal times” and also for those who are not ready to return at such a fast rate. We know that what is an obstacle for one person may be an opportunity for another. Some will be anxious about the changes and may be reluctant to participate; others are excited to fully and wisely live into the freedoms and safety that we now have.
Our number one priority throughout this pandemic has been people’s safety and wellbeing (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially). And as stewards entrusted with the care of LGMC, we as Lead Team and staff are choosing to err on the side of prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of those who want to gather for worship as we move into our postCOVID future.
Because we desire to live into our mission of being a welcoming community, the Lead Team and staff want to maintain a worship gathering space that is both safe (prioritizing people’s safety and wellbeing) and accessible (discerning which boundaries remain for the time being and which obstacles to remove). Institutions and organizations across BC are encouraged to implement the loosening of these restrictions according to their own unique circumstances and comfort levels, and we have determined that it is in the best interest of our congregation to incrementally ease our way into our new opportunities.
With this in mind, below are the changes that we are making starting this Sunday, July 4th. As the summer progresses and we prepare for Phase 4 in September, we will make adjustments and loosen restrictions further. To reiterate: this is where we are starting at the beginning of Phase 3, and we will continue to our ease our way into Phase 4 incrementally.
1. Preregistration is no longer required and attendance limits are no longer in place; in response to this shift, we will still jot down people's names as they arrive for the purpose of contact tracing and we will open the balcony for those who desire physical distance.
2. We will not inquire about your vaccination history; we cannot ask for that information, but you are willing to disclose that voluntarily if you wish to.
3. We will follow the recommendation that masks are to be worn in public indoor spaces until two weeks after second vaccination; because we prioritize the health of every person who wants to participate in our worship gathering, we will adhere to this recommendation and ask our congregation to do the same.
4. We will no longer be asking the COVID health-check questions at the door; instead, we will continue to encourage people to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer and request that people stay home if they are feeling sick, travelled out of country, or have been exposed to COVID-19.
5. We will honour those who wish to maintain physical distance at this time; some of us may be fine with being physically close to others, but our default starting position will be to leave space between us and others to respect those who are more cautious.
6. We believe that it is safe to sing congregationally; this is especially true as our congregation is vaccinated and wears masks in the short term, and we are excited for the return of live music and singing together!
7. We believe it is wise to maintain limited physical interaction for the time being; this means in our time together we will encourage people to greet one another with a wave and not a handshake or hug, and will not be sharing or passing items (such as the offering bags).
As we move as a congregation through Phase 3 into Phase 4, the Lead Team and staff asks our church family to be empathetic, charitable and informed as we respond to one another and the frequently shifting COVID protocols. No matter our personal opinions and practices at this time, we believe it is important in this season to remember that as a church family we belong to each other (Romans 12:5), and our posture, mindset, and interactions should reflect this.
The Lead Team and staff pledges to communicate effectively and empathetically through the months ahead, and we welcome your participation in this discernment and re- gathering process. If you have any comments or suggestions related to how we as a church family can adapt and move forward together, please contact Keith (moderator) or Andrew (interim lead pastor).
For information on Phase 3 and how it relates to faith based organizations, please see the links below.
May the grace of Jesus be upon us and flow through us as we come together for worship.
On behalf of the LGMC Lead Team and staff,
interim lead pastor