On Wednesday, June 17, the Diocese of Huron issued a template for the safe reopening of church buildings accompanied by Bishop Todd Townshend’s letter to the faithful in Huron.
“As we contemplate reopening safely, we offer a common template for Anglican dioceses in the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, to be adapted locally as pandemic conditions in our communities warrant the safe reopening of our church buildings”, says the Bishop in his letter reminding that the provincial House of Bishops has decided that church buildings will not be reopening for in-person worship until at least September.
The template sets up three stages of the reopening – red, amber and green – and the Diocese of Huron is currently in the red stage of the document which means that corporate worship continues to be livestreamed or prerecorded and available online. In this stage small weddings, funerals and emergency baptisms are permitted as well as on on one, in-person essential pastoral care by clergy and pastoral visitors.
A decision to move forward from one stage to another, or back to an earlier stage, will be affected by the course of the pandemic, which is dynamic, warns the Bishop adding that as things unfold, the bishops “will meet and consult regularly and will seek counsel from our advising epidemiologists: The Reverend Michael Garner (Public Health); Dr. Rob James (Consultant); and Dr. Bill Gardner (Research).”