June 12th Update:
Dear People of Parkdale United,
Greetings in Christ name.
These months of Pandemic lockdown have indeed been a challenge in many ways. Among other things we have missed worshipping and fellowship and studying and eating together.
I am sure that most of you have heard that Premier Ford has announced that here in Ottawa, places of worship can open up for worship services at 30% of capacity. Now we can imagine that so many of us who long to get back to communal worship, might be excited by this possibility, and that is understandable. We know that some will still have reservations for this kind of gather.
This news came without warning and so your Parkdale United Church Council held an emergency meeting last night, in order to discuss what we should do with this news. After our lengthy and prayerful deliberations, weighing the wisdom and health concerns in reopening, the Council passed the following motion:
“In spite of encouraging news from the province, the Council has decided not to open for Sunday, in-person worship until the Fall. The Council would like to resume in-person services as soon as possible, but we want to make sure that this is done in a safe and responsible manner in accordance with the Provincial guidelines.
This motion aligns with the wisdom and recommendations of the Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council of The United Church of Canada
2020-06-11_068 MOTION (L. Stronski/L. Suddaby) that the Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council Executive;
- a) strongly recommend that no churches reopen for public worship before Labour Day weekend;
- b) expects that every Community of Faith prepare guidelines for reopening and submit their plan to the Regional Council (wstrong@united- church.ca), two weeks prior to their proposed opening date;
- c) agrees to post and circulate the information and resources pertaining to safely reopening Communities of Faith;
- d) strongly encourage Communities of faith to be in touch with their local health units;
- e) expects that every Community of Faith create a separate plan with guidelines for reopening building to rentals and community activities or Community groups; and
- f) Continue to provide information, as developments require. Carried
While we look forward to meeting together in person at some point, we want to make sure that we will do so in a manner that ensures the safety of all to the extent possible. Towards that end, when we are able to resume in-person worship at Parkdale, we will still need to follow the guidelines with which we are all now familiar, such as staying at home if you are not feeling well. We will recommend the wearing of face masks and the use of hand sanitizer by everyone. Entrance to the building will be controlled and a distance of two metres between persons not in the same family or pod will be regulated at the entrance, in hallways, in the Sunday School and in the sanctuary.
As per the guidelines, we will keep a record of all in attendance at every service for contact tracing purposes. At the present time there can be no congregational singing. Social distancing will be monitored outside washrooms and washrooms and other high contact areas will be cleaned on a regular basis. We will not be able to hold coffee hour and we cannot mingle in the hallway before or after church. We are in the very early days of determining exactly how all this will be managed and there are many questions for which we do not have answers. We will continue to receive direction from the City and the province and the United Church of Canada. We will do our best to keep you apprised of decisions as they are made over coming weeks and months. While all of this sounds very different from the church that we are used to, we have to remember that the pandemic is not over and it is our responsibility to keep God’s children safe.
We are very aware that the need for additional cleaning and monitoring of social distancing will require more volunteers – at the door, in the hallway, outside washrooms, in the Sunday school, in the sanctuary. Please give some thought to how you can help make church a happy and safe experience when our doors reopen; we are counting on you to come, to grow, and to serve. We are grateful to God for accompanying us on this new reality. We will continue to provide the recorded worship services each Sunday. Let us continue to look out for one another, hold each other in prayer and support financially the ongoing ministry of the congregation
Rev. Anthony and Rev. Alcris
Changes to our schedule
There will be no services at the church until we hear that large gatherings are again allowed. We are streaming the Sunday morning services over the internet. These can be accessed on the church web site www.parkdaleunitedchurch.ca.
We are sending out a worship bulletin by email that you may use at home on Sunday mornings.
- There will be no groups or meetings at the church for the foreseeable future.
- Children, youth, young adults and IGNITE gatherings, activities and events have been cancelled until further notice.
- The meeting to receive the recommendation from the Search Committee for the new Minister for Youth and Young Families will be rescheduled for when church services resume
The church office remains open, and we welcome any calls for assistance (613-728-8656).
Buddy system: In these disconnected times, we have set up a buddy system for Parkdale people to remain connected to each other by phone. If you would like to be connected to a buddy, and/or to be a buddy to one or more people, please let the office know at 613-728-8656, or by email at email@example.com. We encourage everyone to have regular phone contact with church friends.
Email list: An email list is being used for regular updates. If you would like your email address to be added to the list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth, children and families: Parkdale’s youth, teachers and leaders will be offering live and recorded children’s stories, prayers and songs. Our family and children’s gathering will be Sunday mornings at 10am. If you would like to join us and did not receive an invitation to last Sunday’s Children’s service, please provide us with the best email address to send our invitation.
Youth and young adults: We met and will continue to meet Sunday nights at 9pm. If you would like to join us and did not receive an invitation, please provide us with the best email address for upcoming gatherings.
Junior Youth: (grades 6-8) – will gather online Wednesday evenings from 7:30-8pm. Please contact Camille if you are interested and/or have not been receiving the children/youth emails.
IGNITE (ages 25-35ish) Please let Camille (email@example.com) know if you would like to join this group. We have a book club starting soon and are planning online gatherings.
As we continue with our ministries, and indeed as requests for help are increasing, we depend on donations from our congregation. We hope that you will continue to provide your offerings, even though we are not in church. We can suggest three ways of doing that:
- A donation through Canada Helps, indicating that the donation is to go to Parkdale United Church – Ottawa
-Go to our website: Parkdaleunitedchurch.ca.
-on the home page is a button/link that says “Donate Now through CanadaHelps.org”
-click on this button and it will take you directly to the form to donate to our church
- Sending a cheque in the mail (429 Parkdale Ave., Ottawa, K1Y 1H3)
- Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR)Givings can also be made directly through your bank account or credit card using Pre-Authorized Remittance (PAR). Givings are deducted automatically from your bank account or charged to your credit card once a month. Using PAR ensures steady, predictable revenue to support the church PAR forms and information can be printed from the church website (parkdaleunitedchurch.ca)
We thank all of you who have donated already via any of these methods and welcome your continuing support. Your numerous responses via CanadaHelps and PAR, and mailed in envelopes in the past week have been very encouraging.
North Street United Church
Our jars for North Street United Church in Jamaica are empty of course. If you can gather together anything for North Street, we would be happy to count it after the pandemic is over. In the interim, if you want to send a donation electronically using CanadaHelps, see the instructions above. In the ‘FUND’ box, choose ‘Other’ (the last one on the dropdown list) and in the ‘MESSAGE’ box enter “North Street – Jamaica”.
Continuing in Prayer and Support:
In these times, as in all times, we are trusting God to grant us wisdom, mercy and faith. As a community of faith and followers of Jesus we are reminded of the numerous times the Bible counsels us not to ‘be afraid’. Normally, this exhortation is accompanied by God’s promise to be with us. God being with us inspires and empowers us to be ‘with’ each other. We do this by praying for one another and reaching out by phone, facetime, Facebook, email, WhatsApp…you name it. Let’s just stay connected. We send love and wish everyone comfort and good health, and look forward to hearing from you. May God bless us all.
COVID-19: MessageS from Ottawa Public Health: How can you protect yourself and your family?
To reduce the spread of germs including the flu and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) we recommend that you:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands with soap
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
- If you are a return traveler (including travel to the United States of America) OR have MILD symptoms – you MUST self-isolate. Most people with MILD symptoms will recover at home with no issues. You are helping limit the spread of the virus by staying at home.
- Social distancingrefers to creating physical distance between ourselves so that we can limit the spread of the virus. Social distancing by all is IMPERATIVE to limit transmission in the community, to protect vulnerable populations and outbreaks in institutions. We must ‘flatten the curve’ so we don’t see spikes in cases. By this, I mean that we want to slow down transmission of the virus and lessen the number of cases in the community that happen at the same time, so that our health system continues to work properly. Having a sharp increase of cases in a small timeframe will overload our healthcare resources and have more severe impacts on our community. Social distancing is important for everyone at this time, but especially important for our older adult community (55+). Do NOT gather in groups of more than 10 people. Practice social distancing.
- Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if needed.
Case Management and Privacy
- We have received many questions from people who feel they are at risk, including many people expressing concern about being in the same location as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have symptoms of COVID-19.
I would like to clarify a few points:
- Given the transmission of COVID-19, we are all at risk. Social distancing, proper hand hygiene, not touching your face and self-isolation (when directed) are the best ways to reduce your personal risk at this time.
- A close contact of a case of COVID-19, is someone who has lived with, provided care for, or spent longer periods of time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Case and contact management is a role of public health to help identify who may have been in close contact with a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health will contact you directly if you have been identified as a close contact.
- OPH works closely with each confirmed case of COVID-19 to create a list of close contacts that require follow-up. If you have been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, follow the advice provided to you by the nurse.
- I have been made aware that certain residents have received a phone call asking for credit card information from Ottawa Public Health (OPH). OPH (or any health unit) will not ask you for credit card information. Do not give your credit card information out if you receive a call or message similar to this. Fraudulent activity during a situation like this is deplorable. I encourage you to report it to Ottawa Police Services.
- Thank you to all residents of the City of Ottawa for your ongoing patience and cooperation. We are all in this together, and we need everyone to do their part- whether providing an essential service or staying inside – to be able to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our community and protect our health system and loved ones who depend on it.
Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health