We want to exercise reasonable caution and help bring awareness of how to determine what practically applies in your church or ministry during the COVID-19 outbreak. We also recognize that this is a fluid situation and that an appropriate and reasonable response may change quickly.
BC’s Restart Plan was announced on May 25, 2021. The current province-wide order given by Dr. Henry limits personal indoor gatherings to five people or one other household. Outdoor personal gatherings of up 10 people are allowed.
A variance to the order was issued on June 15, 2021 that allows for in-person indoor worship services with 50 people present, or 10% of fire code occupancy, whichever is greater.
An updated variance to the order was also issued on May 26, 2021 that allows for outdoor in-person worship services with 50 people present.
Pastors may continue to visit the home of a church member or congregant to provide spiritual care.
The order and variances will be kept in place until further notice based on the direction of the Provincial Health Order.
See the current Church Gathering Restriction Guidance for more information.
We encourage all of our church pastors to discuss with their Board of Elders, staff, and leaders ways to follow the government’s directions in these matters. Our continued prayer is that churches will be beacons of hope and life in their communities during this time as this is a moment for us to truly be the Church.
Pandemic Restrictions and Civil Disobedience: The CPD Position
The statement released on December 16, 2020 by the District Office on our position in this matter can be read here:
Pandemic Restrictions and Civil Disobedience: The CPD Position
An updated statement on the CPD position from March 5, 2021 can be read here:
Updated Position on Pandemic Restrictions and the CPD
Contacting the District Office
District staff can be reached by email or phone during our usual office hours. Any meetings that were scheduled to be held in person at the District Office will be reviewed and may be moved to virtual meetings or postponed.
As a reminder, if you are the person in your church office responsible for employment or Human Resources and aware of any employment changes, please complete an Employee Data Form as soon as possible. Filling this form out informs the District Office and helps us to support employees with benefits changes, licensing changes, and pastoral care. If your employees are affected by a temporary work stoppage, this should also be recorded on the form. For any questions on employment changes or support, please contact Dwayne Toews.
For general inquiries, please email email@example.com.
For any finance matters, please contact Aaron Chan.
For any benefits matters, please see Benefits Updates and contact Nicki Lundrigan.
We encourage you to pay close attention to updates and information as well as understand and follow all government precautions.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has created multiple helpful resources:
The BC Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the BC Ministry of Health also have multiple resources and regular updates:
- BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan
- BC’s Restart Plan
- Guidance for Holding Low Risk Worship Services
- BC CDC COVID-19 Information
- Healthlink BC COVID-19 Information & Advice
- Online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool
- BC CDC – Event Planning
We suggest that you also consult your local health authority for any region-specific information.
Here are several practical considerations for churches to consider during COVID-19:
- communicate how people can connect with the church for services or pastoral care
- communicate steps that your church is taking to ensure the well-being of your church family and community
- communicate information on practical steps people can take to prevent the spread of infection, including physical distancing
- take the weekly offering via an online means
- thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting your church building and especially high contact surfaces for any staff or guests
- refraining from customary greetings like handshakes or hugging
- regular hand washing and avoiding touching your face
- covering your mouth when coughing or coughing into a tissue or your elbow
- encouraging those that are ill, even mildly, to stay home
Here are several resources to assist you in preparing your practical response:
Church Guidelines & Communication Resources
- Church Gathering Restriction Guidance June 15, 2021
- Province-Wide Restrictions – Provincial Health Order
- Outdoor Worship Service Variance – May 26, 2021
- Indoor Worship Service Variance – May 27, 2021
- Guidance for Holding Low Risk Worship Services (English) May 28, 2021
- Guidance for Holding Low Risk Worship Services (Chinese) May 28, 2021
- WorkSafeBC Protocols for Faith-Based Organizations
- CPD Crisis Communication Resource for Churches – COVID-19
- C&MA in Canada COVID-19 Guide
- Coronavirus Church Guide
- Organizational Resilience Checklist
- Christianity Today Coronavirus Guide for Churches
Church Annual General Meeting
- Church Annual General Meeting During COVID-19 January 18, 2021
- BC Registry COVID-19 Society AGMs Advice
- Simply Voting online voting platform
Finances & Employment
- CPD Memo – Economic Response to COVID-19 July 22, 2020
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- Employment Insurance and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) Plan
- Alliance Retiral Fund Contributions and ARF
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- COVID-19 and the Workplace from WorkSafeBC
- COVID-19 Guide to Workplace Law for Employers & Employees
- Employer Guide to Managing COVID19 in the Workplace
- BC Housing Temporary Rental Supplement Program
Facilities & Risk Management
- A Guide to Safely Reopening Your Organization During the Pandemic
- COVID-19 Sample Screening Questionnaire
- Cleaning & Disinfecting Your Premises
- Post-Coronavirus Facility Checklist
- Keeping Idle Buildings Safe
- Protecting Idle Property
- Maintaining Your Church Property During COVID-19
- CPD – Moving Church Online
- Article on Zoom Fatigue – A Body of Work
- Church Online Platform– a free online platform for churches
- Vidflex Faith – 3 months of free video hosting/streaming services that integrate with online giving
- How to Capture Sunday Services Online
- Facebook Live for Churches
- ProPresenter Free Trial
- Video Pastor Quick Tips
Ministry Response & Resources
God is our refuge in times of trouble! If you have a prayer request, we encourage you to contact our office to share this with our team of district intercessors. All prayer requests are kept confidential.
International Workers (IW’s)
An update from Global Ministries (GM): We are very thankful to the Lord that currently all IW’s are well and we have no reported Covid-19 cases. Weekly meetings are taking place with the GM Leadership Team to monitor all places where IWs are residing with frequent and direct connects with IWs to ensure they are well supported. A GM Prayer Room has been launched that has gathered the global team together twice a week for an hour of praise and focused prayer. As many countries are on full lockdown with borders closed, GM personnel are responding in line with local authorities as well as following the resources provided by Member Care. The overall posture of our global team is that they are home, in the places God has strategically placed them, for such a time as this.
Here are helpful resources as you consider a Christ-centred response:
- Digital Mission – Introduction of the book by Bryce Ashlin-Mayo that endeavours to help churches and leaders understand digital culture, create an effective ministry methodology, and design a customized and implementable digital ministry plan. The book is available for purchase at a discounted rate through the Canadian Bible Society until October 30th.
- Leading Through Crisis – video podcast with Doug Balzer & Doug Doyle
- C&MA COVID-19 Resources
- Arrow Leadership COVID-19 Toolkit
- Church Resources from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
- Crisis Leadership, Christian Leadership and the Coronavirus Epidemic
- Coronavirus, Christians, and a Christ-Centered Response
- Global Family & the Coronavirus
- Alpha Online
If you have any questions, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.