Friday, July 16th, 2021 5:00pm
The Ontario Government has announced that it will ease restrictions for weddings, funerals and religious services across the province. These changes come into effect on Friday, July 16th.
For weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies:
- all people attending the gathering must comply with pubic health guidance on physical distancing
- people must wear masks or face coverings when
- they are in an indoor area at a business or facility that is open to the public, with limited exceptions
- they are within 2 metres of another person who is not part of their household, with limited exceptions
- indoor and outdoor capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
Receptions are permitted indoors up to 25 people unless held at a meeting or event space, or a restaurant or other food or drink establishment.
Outdoor receptions permitted up to 100 people unless held at a meeting or event space or a restaurant or other food or drink establishment.
Beyond the letter of the law, as people of faith, we are called to uphold the whole community and contribute wherever we can to well-being and safety. After such a long time of being apart, we understand the desire to quickly come together for worship. Although the provincial government has eased restrictions, it is important for communities of faith to assess for themselves whether they are able to offer in-person worship safely, and have protocols in place to maintain capacity limits. For all church employees and volunteers, we continue to strongly encourage you to work remotely from home unless it is essential to be on site.
This is an encouraging development in what has been a long period of lockdown — and needing to be creative in how we worship. We are mindful of all the ways communities of faith have continued to be the church, even while not being able to gather.
We continue to hold all of you in our prayers.
Shining Waters Regional Council Staff
Employment Guidance for Communities of Faith during COVID-19 PLEASE READ THIS DOCUMENT FIRST Updated March 9, 2021
GCE Extends Temporary Amendment of ByLaws re: Pastoral Relations for urgent decisions related to call or appointment. Updated August 27, 2020 GCE web page for original decision Temporarily Amends Pastoral Relations Policies
ADP United in Learning Webinar, 04.14.20 Slides from webinar.
Lay Leaders Zoom Meeting April 14, 2020 View the recording of the information session with lay leadership in the region and Shining Waters Staff and General Secretary Nora Sanders. View past sessions on our YouTube channel.
Dale Hildebrand, Pastoral Relations Minister
Phone: 416-231-7680 | 1-800-268-3781 Extension: 6261
(South of HWY 407)
Todd McDonald, Pastoral Relations Minister
Phone: 416-231-7680 | 1-800-268-3781 Extension: 6235
(North of HWY 407)
CanadaHelps and The United Church United in Learning Webinar May 28, 2020
United Church of Canada Emergency Support April 27, 2020 Information on denominational ways to bridge the financial strain on communities of faith and link to loan application form.
Governance in Congregations during COVID-19 April 16, 2020
Toronto United Church Council TUCC COVID-19 April Update includes the Investing in Ministry Fund, camping ministries, Innovative Ministry Centre, the Centre for Church Development and Leadership and property management information. April 13, 2020
Generosity in Unprecedented Times Practical, recommended, tools to invite an ongoing commitment from the Philantrhropy Unit, March 28, 2020
Governance during COVID-19 Pandemic, Shining Waters Regional Council, March 20, 2020
Ways Churches Can Offer Connection and Care During Social Distancing A resource to share from The Presbyterian Church in Canada, Summer 2020
Outline for a Zoom gathering at the time of death, shared by Karen Hilfman, April 28, 2020
Grieving and Remembering at Home, ideas from Susie Henderson, April 28, 2020
Moderator Asks to delay funerals March 24, 2020
6 Tips to Avoid “Zoom Fatigue” in the Age of COVID-19, by Leah D. Schade April 3, 2020
Talking with Children about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Talking Points from Jeffrey Dale, Shining Waters Regional Council March 20, 2020
How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus Pandemic by Alan Wolfelt at the Center for Loss and Life Transition, March 19, 2020
Things That Matter YouTube Channel by Diane Strickland
Pastoral Care for Grieving Families A Google Doc from our partner church in the U.S. The United Church of Christ
Responsive Prayer Model for On-Line Funeral Google Doc from the United Church of Christ
Reopening: Shining Waters Regional Council
- Moving Forward: Living Faithfully! Recommendations from Shining Waters Regional Council to assist communities of faith in planning for the safe reopening of their buildings and in-person continuation of their ministries May 26, 2020
- Letter to Premier Ford on reopening churches in Ontario May 21, 2020
Reopening: Wider United Church Resources
- Reopening Churches Safety Considerations from The United Church of Canada
- Making Faithful Decisions on Re-entry Part 1 Part 2 This two-part video resource produced by The United Church of Canada with Rev. Diane J. Strickland is about making faithful decisions about reopening buildings that are pastoral, that conform to regulations, and are trauma-informed. July 31, 2020 (54 minutes) Risk Assessment Process Handout, to accompany the process described in Part 2.
- More on Opening Our Buildings PDF of Slides from United in Learning Webinar June 4, 2020
- Reopening Checklist Template for Communities of Faith a resource shared from Antler River Watershed, Western Ontario Waterways and Horseshoe Falls Regional Councils, July 2020
- Considerations for Reopening Churches PDF of Slides from United in Learning Webinar May 28, 2020
- A Discerning Process for Reopening from Living Skies Region a resource for groups to walk through a decision-making process, June 1, 2020
Reopening: General Articles
- Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic The Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship and Sacraments. Includes detailed guidance on all aspects of liturgies including baptisms and communion.
- ‘You don’t want to be the priest that kills off your congregation’: Is Ontario opening houses of worship too quickly? Toronto Star article by Bruce Arthur, June 11, 2020
- Does singing spread coronavirus? Choir outbreaks raise concerns CTV News, May 17, 2020
- NATS Panel of Experts Lays Out Sobering Future for Singers: “No Vaccine, No Safe Public Singing”. The report of a panel assembled by the professional singing teachers and choir directors. May 6, 2020
- Why Reopening a Church is Different Article from Lewis Center for Church Leadership by Alex Shanks, May 27, 2020
- So Your Church is Opening Up After COVID-19 Closures? It won’t be what you’re hoping for. The Rev. Erik Parker
May 26, 2020
Public Health Links
- North Simcoe – Muskoka, Updated Dec.21 2020
- Peel, Updated December, 2020
- Toronto, Updated Dec.8, 2020
- York Region, Updated Dec.26, 2020
As Ontario prepares to enter Phase 2 of reopening, ministry personnel and Communities of Faith naturally have questions about how to safely be together once again. One of the many concerns that has surfaced is whether Communities of Faith can require worshippers and staff to be vaccinated before returning to in-person gatherings.
Yesterday the Ontario Government announced enhanced public health and workplace safety measures in the COVID-19 pandemic in effect for all of Ontario.
This year’s season of song will be remote but relevant. Choirs across the region are offering the gift of gorgeous music—virtual and pre-recorded—as a healing balm in these hurting times.
GS 81 Extension of Temporary Amendment of Bylaws re: Pastoral Relations; Temporary Amendment re: Congregational Annual Meeting At its meeting on November 26, 2020, the Sub-Executive of the General Council passed a motion to: temporarily suspend the requirement in...