Phase 2: Reopening Strategy for Congregations

Greetings! In these past months of physical distancing, it has been challenging to be the church. The way we gather has changed dramatically. We have discovered ways to continue to be God’s people, whether it be through online worship, phone calls, or other means of connecting while reducing health risks. At this same time, we yearn for the day when we once again can worship together in person!

Now in Stage 2 of Alberta's relaunch strategy, MCA encourages caution, careful assessment, and preparations before congregations decide to reopen.

  1. Take time to discern together. Reopening is not an easy decision. Just as moving services online meant adjustment and extra work, reopening means a lot of extra work as well—for pastors, volunteers, and for the whole congregation. Pay attention to the energy levels of those most impacted. Also, consider the reality that vulnerabilities or distancing requirements may mean the full congregation may not be able to gather together.
  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.
  5. If you decide to delay reopening, give space before revisiting the decision. It is especially exhausting for pastors and other church leadership to be constantly questioning whether to open or not. If a decision is made to stay closed, set a date for several weeks or months down the road, and wait until then to revisit the question.

If you or your congregation have questions, need resources, or simply would like to connect please feel free to contact me. There are numerous supports and resources available on the MCA website, mcab.ca.

Blessings to you as we continue to be the church together!

Tim

 

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