Response to health concerns



Members of the Congregation of Christ Church Cathedral,

A group of key leaders at the Cathedral, including representatives of staff, Bishop and Chapter and our Health Ministry Team met this afternoon (Saturday) to consider an appropriate response to current concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’re thankful for leadership being exercised by government and its officials, the Bishop of Fredericton and others in our faith community and the media for keeping us all so well informed.

It is our intention, without delay, to act responsibly and appropriately and will continue to consider deeply the best information available to us in a situation that has proven to develop hour by hour over the last week.

Worship at Christ Church Cathedral will continue.

Conscious of the recent direction from our Bishop and the New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Department of Health, we are confident that for the time being the following will allow us to safely continue to uphold the care of one another as our top priority while implementing a reasoned set of precautions that will help contribute to provincial, national and global efforts aimed at controlling the spread of the virus.

CHANGES WE WILL MAKE

Worship at Christ Church Cathedral will continue. However, it is especially necessary that we take extra care to continue and further strengthen health and safety protocols now in place. We’ll be implementing additional precautions consistent with what our Bishop and health officials are recommending and what other government and public organizations are doing. Ultimately, being physically present for worship is your choice to make.

Here are some decision considerations:

1. If you have traveled recently, please do not attend.

2. If there is any reason you believe yourself to be vulnerable, fragile or your immunity is compromised in any way, please make the wise decision to stay at home.

3. We know it is possible to protect ourselves and others from being infected. However, the approaches are so ordinary that we underestimate how effective they can be: Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, be friendly but don’t shake hands, keep away from sick people, and stay home when you are sick. from “Should Your Church Stop Meeting?” (Christianity Today)

4. Our Bishop’s most recent direction is (13 March - COVID-19 update #2) the withdrawal of the common cup with Communion administered in one kind (bread only) and that there be no sharing of the Peace which involves physical contact. We add that recommendations for social distancing (two arm’s length away) should be followed whenever possible.

5. With the exception of worship events, we will curtail (cancel/postpone) all non-essential meetings and other gatherings for at least the next two weeks (16 - 28 March). This includes: studies (Lenten and otherwise), Godly Play, refreshment times associated with worship, Saturday breakfast and meetings of all Cathedral groups, committees and organizations. Conscious of our outreach commitments, the exception is Monday Morning Drop-in on 16 March, after which we will reassess that activity. We encourage leaders of all groups to explore ways making it possible to continue activity without physically meeting perhaps by using communication tools and technology.
Events affected will be marked in our Online Calendar with “MEETING PROTOCOL” in the title indicating cancellation/postponement. Participants should check with leaders about potential alternative arrangements.

6. Cathedral Office will remain open and staff will continue at their stations taking all precautions as recommended.

7. An additional commitment includes the intention to provide audio podcasts for ALL worship events in the immediate future. We’ll also be considering other possibilities for broadcasting worship as circumstances change. You’re encouraged to be part of our worship even if you choose to be physically absent. For some thoughts on financial implications and recommended options, see "But how do we give ... when we are not in church?"

8. We will continue pastoral care in hospitals and other facilities, following their guidelines.

Our group of key leaders will meet again next Saturday (21 March 2020) to reassess our situation, discuss changes and make further decisions as necessary. Your comments and suggestions are, of course, welcome.

Recognizing the significant disruption this will cause to our community life, thanks in advance for efforts to cooperate with the wider community for the spiritual and physical health and well-being of us all. Under the circumstances, while panic is inappropriate and unhelpful, being vigilant and aware, and continuing prayerful presence as best we can is important. Please pray for all who lead us that we will accomplish faithful service to God and those to whom we minister.

From our parish nurse - hands upNew Brunswick Department of Health (regular updates)
Bishop of Fredericton’s Message about COVID-19 (10 March 2020)
COVID-19 Update #2 Bishop of Fredericton (13 March 2020)
From our parish nurse - hands up (09 March 2020)
Should Your Church Stop Meeting to Slow COVID-19? How 3 Seattle Churches Decided (12 March 2020) D. Chin - Christianity Today

Geoffrey Hall
Dean of Fredericton
14 March 2020

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