When I communicated with you at the beginning of this month, it was my counsel that all churches across our synod should pause their in-person worship until the end of January. I was encouraged to see that the vast majority of congregations chose to do so. Thank you for your continued commitment to the health and wellbeing of your neighbours and communities. This is, indeed, an act of love.
As the regulations within our four provinces begin to lessen, with children returning to school and businesses re-opening, I would encourage you to extend the pause of in-person gatherings for an additional two weeks. This will allow time for the projected peak of the Omicron Variant, and for the public health effects of the lessening of restrictions to become better known. As such, should current trends continue, I would recommend that congregations wishing to resume in-person worship consider doing so with a February 20, 2022 target date. As always, please be sure to consult with your local public health for regulations specific to your region.
I, and my colleagues in the office, remain available to support you as we navigate the days ahead. We are in the early stages of planning a Synod Wide Pentecost service (more information will be available soon); and have scheduled a series of zoom meetings with rostered leaders in the days ahead. Additional opportunities for lay and rostered leaders to gather virtually for learning and conversation are also available.
I am cognizant of the fact that this recommendation will bring relief to some of you and consternation to others. You are, of course, free to either accept or disregard my counsel. I do, however, feel compelled to provide it to you and do so with love, prayers and all best wishes for your continued health and wellbeing and that of the communities with whom you serve.
God’s peace be with you!