With decreases in the rates of COVID-19 infections across our Diocese and the approach of the holy season of Lent, Bishop Townshend has authorized some changes to our COVID-19 protocols. Reopening our Churches Lent 2022 may be found here.
These changes to our protocols, which come into effect on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd, include:
• Capacity limits for worship are now the number of persons that can be seated while physically distanced. (p.1)
• Worship services may now be up to 60 minutes in length. (p.1)
• The common cup may be re-introduced. (p. 2 and. p.11) For an epidemiologist/priest's perspective on the safety of the common cup, please see this article by the Reverend Michael Garner of the Diocese of Ottawa.
• For Lent and Holy Week 2022 only, (and may include Easter Sunday), parishes may institute a new worship service---outside of their existing and continuing schedule of services---that requires proof of vaccination to attend. (p.2)
• The officiant or presider at a service may greet the congregation following the service in a contact-less manner (p.9)
What has not changed:
• Facemasks must be worn at all times by those over 2-years of age who are physically capable of removing them.
• Serving and consumption of food and drink is not permitted except for food sustainability ministries. This restriction will be reviewed in April but for now, we prefer to be cautious in allowing instances where masks are removed. While many of us are greatly missing conversations over a cup of tea or coffee, this is a sacrifice we make to keep one another safe.
Protocols for the Imposition of Ashes, the Washing of Feet and the Veneration of the Cross may be found here.
Should you have any questions about the revised protocols, please do not hesitate to be in touch. May you have a holy Lent.
The Venerable Tanya Phibbs
Archdeacon of Huron