St. Thomas United Church

Updated April 14, 2022

In March, the Reopening Committee made the recommendation that masks remain mandatory for Sunday worship through to April 17th, after which masks would then become optional, with the exception of singing.

With COVID cases on the rise, the Reopening Committee has decided that it would be unwise to move ahead with masks being optional. Therefore, we will continue to require that people wear masks for Sunday worship until further notice.

Please note a decision has been made to discontinue Coffee/Tea Service on Sundays after worship until further notice.

As a reminder, our guidelines are as follows:

– Masks remain mandatory for worship until further notice

– We encourage the use of N95, K95 or multi layer masking

– Singing along with hymns is acceptable if masks are worn properly

– Although there are no restrictions on the capacity in the Church, we encourage attendees to continue to manage “distancing” for your individual safety

– If you are sick or feeling unwell do not enter the building – please worship virtually

– Sanitize your hands upon entry to the building

Returning to in-person worship has not been a straight forward process, and we appreciate your support.

We will continue to monitor health and safety recommendations as we move forward, together.

STUC Reopening Committee

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.