Logistics for In-Person Worship during Pandemic
During this season of Advent, the special time in the Christian year when we focus on waiting, we are especially cognizant of the desire of some of you to return to in-person worship. We have been waiting since the middle of March for some indication that the pandemic is letting up; we continue to wait, but we wait in hope.
As part of a phased approach for a re-opening, we are beginning to offer the ability to pre-register to attend particular services in-person. Of course, the in-person worship experience will be somewhat different. Your health and safety are very important and we will be operating in full respect of all COVID-19 guidelines. Here’s what that will mean for in-person worship:
General Rules for Your Health and Safety
Our local Health Units are reminding us that we need to continue to be vigilant as it is so easy to unknowingly transmit the COVID-19 virus even when we think we are being so careful. Now is not the time let down our guard.
- You are encouraged to use Ontario’s self-assessment tool or the Ottawa Public Health screening tool. If you have and use a mobile phone, we also encourage you to download the Canada COVID Alert App to your mobile phone; this app is a tool to help break the cycle of infection by providing a notice of possible exposures before any symptoms appear.
- If you are not feeling well (including having a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat), have travelled internationally in the last 14 days, or if you have had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days please do not come to church; our on-line service will still be available here.
- Clean, properly fitted masks are mandatory and must be worn for the duration of the service and at all times in the building.
- We will practice physical distancing at all times (2 meters or 6 feet), holding off on hugs and handshakes. We can greet each other safely by waving, nodding, or bowing from a distance! Please also do not pass items to other congregants outside of your party.
- Follow good respiratory practices at all times. These include coughing and sneezing into the elbow or a tissue, discarding tissues into a lined garbage bin, and washing hands or using a hand sanitizer afterwards.
Pre-registration Required & Information Collected
- Because there is a maximum number that can be accommodated due to social distancing requirements, you will need to register in advance for each service at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When registering, we ask that you please provide the following information, which we will keep and use for the purposes of preparing a seating plan and for contact-tracing: your name, contact information (email and phone number) and the number of persons in your party for that specific date.
Arriving at the Church
- It will take more time than usual to enter the church, check in, and be seated, so please arrive at least 15 minutes early for the service.
- The only door used for entering the church will be the accessible door at the top of the ramp in the Gladstone parking lot. If the Gladstone parking lot is full, consider the lot at the former Knights of Columbus building on Gladstone. The Parkdale parking lot will still be available for parking, but it would be necessary to walk around the outside of the church to reach the Gladstone lot and the entrance at the top of the ramp.
- Upon entering the building through the entrance at the top of the ramp in the Gladstone lot, you will be asked to proceed to a check-in station (there will be arrows and a greeter to direct you), where you will sanitize your hands and have your temperature taken; your name will be verified against the list compiled via the email registration system. You will also be asked to answer the self-assessment questions with which we have all become quite familiar:
- do you have any symptoms of COVID-19?
- have you travelled internationally in the past 14 days?
- have you had any close contact a confirmed COVID-19 case?
- You will then follow directional arrows to the sanctuary and be directed to your assigned seat by an usher.
During the Service
- There will be no congregational singing, nor will there be any live choral singing.
- Please remain in your assigned seat in the sanctuary, without “visiting” or moving closer to others. The seating plan will be designed, and certain pews will be roped off, to ensure proper distancing between congregants.
- Children must remain seated with their families during the service; there is no separate Sunday School or Nursery.
- In order to minimize spread through handling, you are encouraged to continue to give through PAR, Canada Helps on the website or cheques through the mail. An offering plate will be available, however, at the exit of the sanctuary to receive monetary offerings.
Following the Service
- You will be asked to follow the directional arrows, sanitize your hands and exit the church via the Gladstone door, except for those who require the use of the ramp, who may exit via the ramp door.
- There will be no coffee hour or fellowship after the service inside or outside the sanctuary.
We hope by following these measures we can safely start this first phase of the in-person worship at Parkdale. We look forward to the day when we are all able to worship together. Meanwhile, we continue to show Christian care, compassion, and love towards one another by following the safety guidelines from public health. Online worship services will continue to be posted on Parkdale website.
We wish you all a blessed Christmas.