On May 11th, 2020, a letter endorsed by 250 congregations from across Ontario was sent to Premier Doug Ford, requesting the government lift restrictions on gatherings in church buildings — despite the recommendations of health officials that in-person worship continue to be suspended.
This letter does not speak to the position of The United Church of Canada, nor Shining Waters Regional Council. From the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, our commitment to communities of faith has been that we will follow the directives of local health authorities.
This afternoon, Shining Waters Regional Council has sent a letter of response to the Premier:
“We will reopen our buildings. We will reopen when we can do so safely and responsibly. Those faith groups who can tend to the needs of vulnerable populations with precautions in place are continuing to do so. Sometimes the ways in which we gather and offer service have been altered to adhere to physical distancing. Our deep and profound need for face-to-face human connection does not suspend the responsibility we have to our faith communities (and our wider communities!) to do everything we can to curb the spread of this virus.
These are the ways in which we are choosing to live out our commitment to loving God – because loving God means loving our neighbour, even if it means we must physically stay apart from our neighbour for a little while longer.”
You can read the full letter of response HERE.
Bri-anne Swan (she/her)
Minister for Social and Ecological Justice and Network Support
Shining Waters Regional Council
1-800-268-3781, ext. 6773