Things Are Opening Up: Next steps at Westminster in response to Covid-19

Things Are Opening Up: Next steps at Westminster in response to Covid-19

(Posted on March 4, 2022)

Many restrictions have been lifted in Ontario as of March 1, 2022. In this video announcement on behalf of the elders, Pastor Ruttan explains what will change at Westminster beginning on March 13, 2022. A text version which you can read is listed below the video.

The Ontario Government has announced that many Covid-19 restrictions are lifted as of March 1, 2022.

The elders at Westminster (Session) have met to discuss these changes and how we will proceed as a church. This announcement lets you know about those decisions.

Starting on Sunday, March 13th, 2022:

• You will be able to attend worship in-person on Sunday mornings without pre-registering (attendance limits have been lifted).
• In-person worship is open to everyone. Up until now we have been prioritizing those who live alone or who don’t have the internet. Now, it is open to all.
• As previously requested, please stay home if you are sick. This is obviously very important. Let’s respect and care for one another.
• There will be no screening questions at the door.
• We will keep records of who attends so that we can practice contact-tracing and notify you should someone contract COVID-19. This is not required, but we felt it was still a wise practice for the time being.
• Masks are still required indoors.
• Social distancing requirements are lifted. At the same time, we ask that you respect other people’s space as much as possible.
• There will be a designated area of 3 pews on the choir-side of the sanctuary for those who wish to remain distanced.
• The Plexiglas in front of the pastor and choir will remain in place for the time being.
• Sunday School will resume. Here’s how it will work. Youth will remain with their family during the first part of the service and during the “kids’ time” with the pastor. Then they will leave the sanctuary for Sunday School. Older youth will be downstairs, and the younger group will be in the Fellowship Hall.
• During the service, we will not pass around an offering plate; instead, there will be donation boxes for those who are not giving electronically.
• There will be no nursery care (yet), but we’re working on it!
• There will be no Fellowship Time/Coffee Hour after the service (yet). We need to walk before we can run.
• The live-stream will continue as a worship service option.

In addition, groups who meet at the church will be able to function without physical distancing, but they will continue to use masks.

We recognize that many people are at different levels of comfort with respect to what they want to do. Some are eager to “get back to normal.” Some remain very cautious. Some are somewhere in the middle. We respect this. In terms of Sunday morning worship and Sunday School, only come if you are comfortable. For some, this will be right away. For others, it will take time. That’s okay.

As always, we move forward with faith in God, prayer, caution, and with the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual needs of the community in mind.

As an interesting note, March 13th—the day when this new plan comes into effect—marks exactly 2 years since we first went into lockdown. For the first time in two years, in-person worship and Sunday School can resume without preregistration for those who wish to come.

Pray and think about what you’re comfortable with, and proceed in faith. As it says in 2 Chronicles 13:12: “God is with us; he is our leader.”

Things are opening up.


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