Congregational Letter ~ March 10, 2020

March 10, 2020    

Dear Penticton United Church Community,

I wanted to update you on Penticton United Church’s plan regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the steps we’re taking to make sure we minimize risk at the Church. 

You may be aware of the recent statement issued by the Health Minister of BC and the federal health minister in which they made the recommendation: “There has been a notable transmission of COVID-19 at events, such as religious gatherings. As a result, we recommend social distancing and forgoing usual greetings. As an alternative, we recommend considering virtual online gatherings.”

The measures we’re adopting have been developed following best practices advice from health officials, the Pacific Mountain Region, and The United Church of Canada.

Penticton United is implementing the following changes, on an interim basis, to some of our practices and rituals in response.

Most important:

  • If you are not well, please stay home. 

Changes to Sunday Service:

  • Greeters and ushers will be instructed to welcome people with a warm greeting, yet will not be shaking hands or giving hugs. 
  • One of the popular rituals in our service is the closing circle. We will continue to do the circle, but will refrain from holding hands.
  • Pastoral care volunteer visits will be put on hold for the time being. 
  • We will be making changes to how we host fellowship, as needed.
  • A reminder: if you are using the dishwasher in the church kitchen, it needs to be run through once before loading, in order to bring the water to the correct temperature.
  • Hand sanitizers will be available throughout the building.
  • Signs have been installed in the washrooms with instructions on proper hand washing. 

Our response is based on our commitment to honor and respect everyone who is part of our community. You may need to make a judgement for yourself, based on your personal health needs, as to whether you come to activities at the church. We will continue to monitor the situation and update procedures and practices as necessary. 

If you have any questions or concerns or if you require pastoral support, please contact Joanne Scofield, Minister, at 250-492-2684.

With blessings,

Joanne Scofield

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