Greg Smith
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NOTICE: THIS NEWS POST IS NOW SUPERSEDED BY GUIDANCE PROVIDED BY SESSION.  INFORMATION REGARDING NEW GUIDANCE IS FOUND AT THE COVID-19 RESONSE - LATEST UPDATE (click here).

Dear Friends,

Varsity Acres Presbyterian Church is monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation in real time. We have a working group that is leading our response to the evolving guidance provided by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer. Our goal is to be in compliance with this guidance, adjusting congregational life as directed. Our initial concerns at the moment are making the facility safe for all users, public worship and congregational programs. What follows in this communication is our response to the most recent bulletin from the Chief Medical Officer.

What is Already in Place

On Wednesday of this week the following practices were implemented at the church:

  • Signage at the external doors - Stop - If feeling unwell do not enter.
  • Signage regarding hand washing and disinfection
  • Signage at each sink regarding hand washing
  • Additional hand sanitizer stations at each entrance
  • Daily 'Contact Cleaning' (switches, handles, railings, seat backs, table tops, counter tops, elevator)
  • 'After Use' Cleaning - Users of the our facility are required to carry out 'contact cleaning' after their meeting
  • Interface was made with all of our facility partners regarding compliance to these practices

Attendance at Worship and Events – Make the Best Decision for You

Varsity Acres has members in vulnerable populations (seniors and those with compromised health conditions). We also have members who interact with vulnerable people.  In cases where events and services are continuing, please make the best decision for yourself, your family, and those you interact with (in living arrangements, at work, and in general life) when deciding if you will or will not participate.

If you are ill or are a part of a potentially vulnerable segment of society, we advise you to comply with the coronavirus directives and not join in our various gatherings at church.

As a community of care, we seek the safety of all. Whatever decision you make is embraced, for whatever time period is best for you.

Worship on Sundays

We know that at this moment in time some congregants will desire to continue in public worship. Worship will be provided with some changes:

  • We will encourage “social distancing” whereby worshippers will sit approximately 2 meters apart from each other. To facilitate this every other pew will be roped off.
  • Hand sanitizers will be provided. We will encourage no handshaking, hugging, etc.
  • Hymnbooks and psalters will be removed from the pews with all text presented on the screen.
  • Offering will not be collected by passing plates. Rather, offering plates will be set out available for use.
  • The church school program will continue but in relocated spaces in order to ensure surfaces are clean and easily cleanable.
  • The sanctuary will be cleaned prior to, and after worship to reduce the possibility of virus transmission.  The Ebenezer Korean congregation will comply with these practices.
  • The guidance directs people who have returned from travel from any country (as I did this week) to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. I will be leading worship for the next two Sundays via the internet and projected on the screen.
  • There will be no coffee service during fellowship and all are encouraged to practice social distancing.

Stay Updated on Coronavirus in Alberta

To stay updated on the coronavirus situation, please visit the Government of Alberta website.

Staying Connected and Pastoral Care

To stay connected with your church, please reach out to your elder, your ministers or the office. You can listen to recorded worship services here. Rev. Rod and I will still be providing pastoral care. The care I provide will be by phone (403.589.9081) until my self-isolation period is over.

In addition to this newsletter, telephone calls will be placed today and tomorrow to those who might not have easy electronic access.  You can aid in this communication effort by sharing this information with others in our church family.

As a we check on one another, please ensure that you make us aware of any needs (assistance with shopping, appointments, loneliness).  Send an email to the office (office@vapc.ca) or call (403.288.0544) and we will get this information into the right hands.

Get Updates on Continuation of Events; Services

The latest updates will be available on our website (see the COVID-19 Preparedness Update news post) and we will share them through email with as much notice as possible, but as the situation changes in real time, notice may be short. 

Giving

If you are concerned about continuing your givings to VAPC, please contact our Treasurer (treasurer@vapc.ca) who can can help with additional ways of giving (Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR); Interac electronic transfer; cheque by mail).

 

We are blessed with a strong community during events such as this outbreak. Thank you for being a part of it and participating in a way that is best for you, your family, and your situation.

 

Rev. Peter Coutts
Varsity Acres Presbyterian Church
13 March 2020