Dear Pastoral Teams and Church Friends,
In this celebratory season of Advent anticipating the Holy birth of Christ; we all desire to joyfully come together in-person and sing the hymns of Christmas. However, Covid case counts are up and some Pastors are receiving official letters/emails from local Health authorities, even some as recent as today. They are reinforcing current standards. As a new variant has emerged in Canada with too little known about it now, there will be ongoing clarifications coming from provincial and local health units over the coming days and weeks.
In the meantime I would like to address a common question that has emerged from congregations who have reopened within the existing mandates and guidelines.
Singing at in-person gatherings
The City of Toronto and other health sites do not recommend singing without or with masks. Their opening paragraph cited that many outbreaks originated through singing. An article in their July Houses of Worship info said singing is a "variable" risk due to the variety of masks, their fit, the exuberance of those singing and facial movements. Particulate projection is beyond 2 meters and floats. Multiple songs sung creates a flora of unsafe air exchange.
Therefore, in our current time of increasing cases I would not recommend singing. However, I will leave the decision to Pastors based on your local area health protocols. Let me emphasize that your geographical location is key in your decision making. There are 50 health units in Ontario. One in Eastern Ontario just tightened with increasing COVID numbers to limit church gatherings from 25, the current Ontario standard, down to 10. Caution is becoming more prevalent.
The other side to this is that we may think everyone in our gathering is practicing safe interactions, however every theoretical safe circle is constantly compromised at work, school, shopping, etc. throughout the day. When we gather, our supposedly known group is really the interactions of all those non-perfect connections of everyone over the past week.
Our current CEM protocol guidelines….
I recognize the collective impact of these standards we are upholding still at this time of year. Thank you all for your wisdom in the decisions you make to protect the vulnerable. There may be further updates in the coming weeks.
Hope this helps you make your decision.
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community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537
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