Planning for the reopening of church buildings in Huron

Bishop Todd Townshend’s letter to clergy and wardens in the Diocese of Huron

May 15, 2020

Dear friends,

Thank you again for the leadership you are offering our communities during this time.  What you expected you would be doing when you were ordained, or agreed to take on the role of churchwarden, did not include caring for a church and its people during a pandemic.  I continue to be both grateful for and impressed by the way in which you have risen to this challenge.

Many of us find hopeful the tentative steps announced yesterday toward the gradual re-opening of the province; others of us find it a bit nerve-wracking. For many, we swing between those two poles daily, or even hourly.  All completely understandable and acceptable.

As we move toward the possibility of gathering again in small numbers and the gradual reopening of our buildings, there is much to consider as we prepare to gather again, particularly for worship.  It is important that we do so responsibly, safely, and wisely.  Diocesan guidelines are being developed in consultation with other dioceses in the province and will be shared as soon as they are ready. These detailed guidelines will be organized in stages or “phases”. I want to assure you that no parish will be required to open their buildings or gather for worship together just because the government or diocese has given permission.  Once allowed to do so by government and health authorities, and following the minimum guidelines provided by the Diocese, each of you may make the decision about when to regather or when to reopen your building that seems most faithful and wise in your own context.

If you have any questions, or suggestions, for the guidelines being developed, please send them to Archdeacon Tanya Phibbs at [email protected]

I continue to pray for you and for those you serve.

Bishop of Huron