Covid-19:  For Congregations

Covid-19: For Congregations

June 4, 2021

After 15 months of pandemic restrictions and waves of Covid cases, on May 26 the Alberta Government announced its reopening plan. Phase 1 came into effect on June 1, with Phase 2 and 3 to follow as vaccination and hospitalization targets are met. The latest information on restrictions for worship services and other gatherings can be found here. Following health guidelines are important ways we show concern for each other and for those in our communities. 

Among the Phase 1 restrictions in effect are the following:

--Virtual, online, or drive-in services are recommended

--In-person worship service attendance is limited to 15% of fire code capacity

--physical distancing must be maintained between people of different households

--mask use in mandatory (see the webpage for exceptions)

As we look forward to the prospect of full in-person gatherings once again, I encourage us to carefully discern next steps together as faith communities. Not all may be comfortable with following minimum health requirements, choosing to err on the side of caution. Be especially attentive to the voice of the vulnerable or those who may have difficulty expressing their perspective. 

As you consider shifting to new ways of being the church together, remember that changing patterns take time. We may be “out of shape” for in-person gatherings, and may benefit from easing into it. Pay attention to the energy levels of those whose role it would be to implement reopening plans. How might the load be shared?

Remember there are options that carry less risk than what health restrictions may allow. As the weather turns warmer, perhaps outdoor services may be a good way to start.  

There are many resources available that can help with ideas. The Anabaptist Worship Network conducted a webinar about reopening that can be watched here. Slides from their presentation are available here. 

If you or your congregation have questions, need resources, or simply would like to connect please feel free to contact Executive Minister Tim Wiebe-Neufeld (see . 


Reopening Resources

As Alberta enters Stage 3 of its reopening plan on July 1, check out the Alberta website for the latest guidelines and information. 

The Anabaptist Worship Network has some helpful worship ideas for congregations as they begin to reopen after the pandemic closures.  Their webinar about reopening can be watched here. Slides from their presentation are available here. 

Some Guidance from the Anabaptist Worship Webinar:

  • Celebrate return to in-person worship (remember that not everyone is present)
  • Lament the hardships of the pandemic
  • Grieve death and loss of pandemic
  • Acknowledge other changes during the year - graduation, gaining or losing members, what else?
  • Evaluate rituals (old and new)
  • Ask what is giving life in your community?
  • Ask what is essential and meaningful in each ritual?