Bishop Susan has issued new guidelines for our ministry and worship—the biggest shifts since we resumed worshipping in person. These guidelines are carefully based on the best science and public health evidence available, and both we as the Church of St John the Evangelist and the whole Diocese of Niagara continue to have everyone’s safety as our first priority.
We want to make sure you’d know what to expect for Sunday services.
The requirement to wear masks has been paused for the time being, acknowledging that there may be a need to return to this measure should there be an increase of infections with new wave of COVID-19 virus or variants of concer.
While no one will be required to wear a mask, all may, and you are encouraged to wear a mask if you are at greater risk of infection or more severe outcomes. You are encouraged to do what it right for you.
Masks will be worn by all communion ministers while the communion is being distributed.
Bread and wine will be distributed at Holy Communion, both from a standing station as we have done recently. The priest will offer instuctions when it is time to receive. The clergy will be happy to bring the sacrament to any one in the pews who is unable to come forward.
The church has had a long-held teaching that to receive the Holy Communion in one kind only is to receive Christ fully. That has not changed. It you are still uncomfortable receiving the wine at this time, then simply pass the chalice by.
If you are wondering in if the Common Cup is safe, you are not alone. We encourage you to read the article by the Rev. Michael Garner (MSc, MDiv), The Common Cup and SARS-CoV-2 Infection Risk. Michael is a priest and a former long-serving infectious diseases epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada. This paper offers a careful scientific overview of the studies that have been done on the Common Cup over many years, and why the risk from exposure to COVID-19 is "extremely low."
It is again permitted to physically exchange the Peace again. However, please remember that everyone will have different comfort levels when it comes to this. During the pandemic our feeling and needs around personal space have changed.
It will be important for us to see and assess other people's body language and choices and to use our words to explain what we are comfortable with. If you are not ready for a handshake you may which to put your hands together in front of your body and simply acknowledge the other person with a simply bow. For the next while the clergy will offer a simple reminder to be senstive about passing the Peace.
Throughout the summer we will continue to offer the opportunity for fellowship outdoors following the service with the choice of lemonade or icewater. We will have the wonderful opportunity to connect with one another outdoors.
We will continue to do our best to broadcast the Sunday services on the parish website and YouTube channel. Please use the link to the online version of the Order of Service as the screen overlays with the liturgy and hyms will not be available over the summer.
If you need to be in touch with your priest over the summer please do reach out. While David will be on vacation for part of the summer he enjoys nothing more than being in touch with St John's parishioners, especially those who need special pastoral support.
Office hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
We acknowledge with gratitude and respect that our parish is located on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. We are located in the Lower Chedoke Watershed.