WELCOME BACK

to In-Person Worship and Church Events

effective September 12, 2021

St. Thomas United Church
V4.1 September 12, 2021

To our St. Thomas United Church family!

As always, the loving and caring community of St. Thomas United Church continues to be our guide as we update our protocols for in-person worship based on the new public health guidelines announced September 15th

  • Our Re-Opening Team met September 16th and has decided to proceed with in-person worship
  • Our uniquely-shaped sanctuary does not allow us to permit the allowed 1/3 of fire code capacity while maintaining 2 metres of distance between households. As such, our maximum attendance would be restricted to 50 people
  • In-person worship is only available to fully vaccinated people and those who are not eligible.  Unvaccinated members are invited to attend the YouTube Live online.
  • The original measures implemented on September 12thwill continue to be in place; check out our bulletin and the website for specific guidelines
  • We are asking people to be seated with physical distancing between family units
  • Masking indoors and hand sanitizing upon entry and exit of the building is required for all

Let us continue to live out our mantra of Open Hands, Open Hearts, and Open Minds as we show compassion and understanding for one another.

What to expect when you come to Church

  • Stay home if you are ill or feeling at all unwell.
  • Masks ARE required at all times. Wearing a face-covering mask is required to prevent respiratory transmission protecting yourself and others.
  • Sanitize hands entering and leaving the Church.
  • Seating will be arranged to increase social distancing and optional social distancing signs will be available for use on seats to the left and right of congregants if desired.
  • There will be a message at the beginning of the service asking attendees to notify the Church immediately in the case of a positive test result.
  • Respect other people’s space and comfort levels – maintain physical distancing when at all possible. Please ask others for permission before touching or hugging.
  • These best practices will be constantly reviewed and will be subject to change as we head into the fall.

DETAILED INFORMATION

MASKS

  • All congregants are required to wear a mask, both while moving around the building and while seated.

HAND SANITIZING

  • Congregants will be asked to hand sanitize upon entering and leaving the Church.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

  • No set number of attendees will be enforced; however, seating will be arranged to increase social distancing by blocking off every second row and by having available (optional) “Social Distancing Signs” that congregants may pick up and place to the right and left of themselves to ensure comfortable spacing.

OFFERATORY

  • Collection plates will be placed at the front of the Sanctuary for congregants to deposit their offering either before or after the service.

PRAYER SLIPS

  • Prayer slips, pens and basket will be available as you enter the Sanctuary.

HYMNS

  • Congregants are welcome to sing along with the hymns (pre-recorded in September and live beginning in October) during the service while masked.

MUSIC

  • Choirs/Orchestra will be pre-recorded until further notice. All groups have their own “Health and Safety Plan” in place.

ATTENDANCE TRACKING

  • There are no plans for tracking attendance.
  • A message will be shared at the beginning of worship asking attendees to notify the Church immediately should they test positive for COVID.
  • Congregants will be notified by email to inform them of a positive case, date and time. No names will be given.
  • Congregants are asked to stay home if ill.

SOCIAL/FELLOWSHIP TIME

  • No coffee service will be offered at this time.
  • We encourage socializing outdoors if possible or remaining safely distanced inside while respecting other people’s space and comfort level.

NURSERY/SUNDAY SCHOOL

  • the Nursery room (unstaffed) will be open and available for parents to use.
  • Erin will update families regarding Sunday School and services/programs available.

We ask that you do not enter the church if:

  1. You are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. A list of symptoms and appropriate responses can be found here.
  2. You are waiting for COVID-19 test results.
  3. You have not been fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

In these instances, Alberta Health Services mandates a 10 – 14 day isolation period.

COVID-19 is still with us and, insofar as possible, we should continue to practice the good habits we have all learned during the pandemic:

  1. Self-Distancing: Maintain an optimal distance of 2m from other individuals where practical
  2. Coughing: Cough or sneeze into the elbows area or otherwise ‘cover-up’
  3. Hand Washing: Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap or approved disinfectant. Apply hand disinfectant when entering the church.
  4. Face Touching: Avoid touching the face area.
  5. Staying Home: Stay home / do not attend an activity if feeling unwell or have a fever.
  6. Improve Ventilation: Weather permitting, open doors or windows to provide additional outdoor ventilation.
  7. Meet Outdoors: When practical, consider meeting outdoors. Indoor activities carry greater risk.