Covid-19: For Congregations

In recent weeks the number of Covid-19 cases have been rising significantly. Health officials recommend congregations meet virtually or online. Faith leaders urge everyone to take precautions out of our concern for each other and so that the current pandemic does not overtax the health care system. See a statement focused on the Edmonton area signed by Edmonton-based faith leaders, including Tim Wiebe-Neufeld and Donna Entz.(link to separate document)

New requirements for worship services include the following:

  • --maximum of 15% of fire rated capacity
  • --physical distancing of people not of the same household
  • --mask use required at all times

This is in addition to all existing health requirements for all indoor and outdoor locations.

See the full provincial restrictions here: https://www.alberta.ca/restrictions-on-gatherings.aspx.

In discerning how to meet during these pandemic times, the following guidance may be helpful:

  1. Look to err on the side of caution. Seriously consider putting in-person worship on hold until meeting in person is safer. Note that health standards are minimum requirements and while they do reduce risk they do not ensure Covid-19 will not be spread at an event.
  2. Take time to discern together. Speak caringly and respectfully, being especially attentive to the voice of the vulnerable or those who may have difficulty expressing their perspective. Pay attention to the energy levels of those most impacted. How might the load be shared?
  3. Be creative in addressing concerns such as isolation and loneliness. While maintaining physical distancing takes away an important way in which we experience faith in community, there are ways we can continue to connect—whether it be online, by phone, through notes/package drop-offs, etc.
  4. If you decide to offer in-person worship:
      1. Ensure restrictions such as the 15% limit and distancing requirements are understood and committed to by all.
      2. Take the time to ensure readiness before opening. There are many physical distancing, extra cleaning, safety protocols, and other modifications required for reopening. Aspects such as singing, visiting in the foyer, and sharing meals are also impacted. Guidance is found here.
      3. Share the work. Implementing safety procedures and ensuring they are followed takes a lot of time and energy. Setting up a team spreads the burden rather than having it fall to one or two individuals.
      4. Share the responsibility. Distancing and other measures take the support of everyone. Commit to these together before coming together.


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 https://mcab.ca/about-us/staff) . There are numerous other supports and resources available on the MCA website, mcab.ca.