In the first of the COVID-19 “statements” from the Canada West Mission Centre, I shared links to the then-current information on each of the provincial websites of the mission centre that I thought was relevant to us. As most provinces are beginning some kind of phased processes to “open up” again, it is worthwhile to be updated and reminded of the legal and societal situation in which we find ourselves. Here is a brief summary moving from west to east.
The Government of BC has published this COVID-19 Guidance to Faith-Based Organizations. It has not changed since March 31. Gatherings are limited to groups of 50 persons or fewer. This order is in place until at least May 31. All physical distancing and other measures to limit the spread of the virus are in place.
Similarly, the Government of Alberta has published this Guidance for Places of Worship. This has been updated within the last 10 days. It provides for maximum attendance of 50 persons, with proper exercising of physical distancing. Social activities such as lunches or dinners are not allowed. Interestingly, it specifically notes that “Congregational singing is a high-risk activity and is not allowed.” Alberta has also published Guidance for Day Camps – which does not generally apply to most Community of Christ activities (except Vacation Bible Schools), but this document carries the explicit statement that “Overnight camps are prohibited.”
The Government of Saskatchewan has provided guidance on Public and Private Gatherings. The maximum size of a gathering is 10 persons for any purpose. All the now-common rules around physical distancing apply. In “Phase Three” of their re-opening process the allowable size of gatherings will increase to 15 and in “Phase Four” to 30 people. “Phase One” has started as early as May 4. “Phase Two” is scheduled for May 19. No dates are yet identified for future Phases.
The Government of Manitoba is in Phase One of its recovery as of May 4. All public gatherings remain limited to 10 persons or fewer. “Serious consideration” to reducing group restrictions may occur in mid-May depending on disease activity. However, no larger gatherings or events are expected to be allowed until at least September.
We continue to look forward to a time when we can resume our local congregational worship services. I expect that we will receive updated advice from our First Presidency in the next week to ten days with direction for June and possibly the summer months. We have already made decisions about our camping and retreat programs which have been reported to you previously. Watch for news about plans for Mission Conference coming very soon.
In the meantime, stay safe, and be well.
Canada West Mission Centre President
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