Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I hope that this letter finds you well and you have been able to enjoy the lovely weather we have been enjoying throughout the months of June and July. As we enter into the month of August the staff and leadership team is working hard to prepare our church space for a safe reopening in September. As you can imagine our space and practices will look quite different than before but everything we are doing, in line with the reopening guidelines prepared by the Diocese of Toronto, is to ensure your safety and the safety of our community as the world continues to wrestle with the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.
As of today we envision reopening the church for public worship on Sunday, September 13th 2020. To ensure the safety of everyone a number of measures will be implemented:
- Worship will be allowed at 30% of our capacity. This means that our worship services will be limited to 40-50 people, social distanced throughout the sanctuary. Pews have been moved and removed to facilitate this.
- Only the top floor of the church will be in use in an effort to limit high touch areas and greater sanitation requirements.
- Worship will begin as invite-only to ensure that every one who wants to attend can attend. Some space will be made available for newcomers or people that have not been contacted. Please see attached survey for more details.
- To accommodate worship requirements, we will be offering two identical worship services at 9 am and 11 am. These services will alternate between BCP and BAS to streamline Sunday mornings.
- No books or bulletins will be used. The whole service will be projected on to our screens to limit the need to sanitize high touch surfaces.
- For the time being congregational, and choral singing will not be permitted. However, music will still be part of our worship either with soloists sharing their talents or Rachel our music director.
- Communion will be slowly phased into our regular worship as per Diocesan guidelines.
- Virtual worship will be provided concurrently with in-person worship for those not comfortable returning to the church at this time.
- No coffee-hour or social time will be permitted following the service; members are encouraged not to congregate with people outside their immediate social bubbles. Greetings are still greatly encouraged but should be shared at a distance
- The church will be sanitized by a group of staff and volunteers after each service.
- Masks will be required to enter the church. If you do not have a mask, mask will be provided to you on entry
- Hand sanitation and signing-in will be required on entry. Attendance taking is required to ensure contact tracing can be done in the event of a positive COVID-19 test
We recognize that this is a lot to process and our space and our worship will not look as you remember, but we ask for your patience and your prayers as we navigate the new future that is before us. To help us facilitate the smoothest return to worship possible, please fill out the attached survey and return it to the Church office by Monday August 24th. The survey available at: https://gracechurchscarborough.com/survey/ Completed survey can be mailed, dropped off in our mailbox, emailed or dropped off in person during any of the drop-off times mentioned below.
St. Ninian’s Food Bank Needs Our Help
During the last five months St. Ninian’s Food Bank, a ministry we support regularly, has continued to provide food to the neediest members of our Scarborough Community. In fact, during the pandemic the need for Food Banks has increased as people have lost jobs or been temporarily placed on furlough. Additionally, regular donations of canned goods and other non-perishables that were typically collected by local churches have been reduced during the pandemic. As such we are asking for your help to bring canned goods and other non perishables to the church on these dates:
Friday, August 7th 7-8pm and Saturday August 8th 10-11am
Tuesday August 11th and Thursday August 13th 10-1pm
Tuesday August 18th and Thursday August 20th 10-1pm
Friday, August 28th 7-8pm and Saturday August 29th 12-1pm.
Donation In-Person Drop Off Dates &Times
I am very grateful for everyone who has continued to support the ministry of Grace Church through this challenging time. We are blessed by you and by the generosity of the Diocese, and as such we have been able to weather the storm which could have been devastating to our finances. We will continue to hold donation drop-off opportunities, dates listed below:
Friday, August 28 7-8pm & Saturday, August 29 12-1pm
Staff Summer Vacation
Reminder I will be taking the remainder of my vacation from August 10th -23rd.
We look forward to seeing you all in September, and gathering for worship as community. Even though everything will be little different, I know that God will still be with us and joy will still abound. Thank you all for your faithfulness and patience in this trying time,
Rev. Graham McCaffrey