COVID-19 & the Church

September 9, 2021

We desire to exercise reasonable caution and help bring awareness of what practically applies in your church or ministry setting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Important Notices

BC’s Restart Plan was announced on May 25, 2021.

Interior Health Region

Due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Okanagan region, the Interior Health region is under restrictions on gatherings and events. Indoor and outdoor organized gatherings (including weddings, funerals, and any seated events) are limited to no more than 50 people and must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place. Worship services are exempt from the 50-person gathering restriction.

The Interior Health mask order was repealed on September 1, 2021 and churches are now under the provincial mask order.

Northern Health Region

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the Northern Health region, restrictions on gatherings and events are in place as of September 7, 2021 for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings. Worship services are exempt from the new order.

Province-Wide

There are currently no capacity limits or restrictions on indoor or outdoor religious gatherings and worship services for churches outside of the Interior Health region.

All worship services (and receptions following services) are exempt from the mask mandate and the requirement for proof of vaccination. In addition, any public meetings held in faith-based settings that have a worship component, such as youth groups, pastoral meetings, essential services like NA/AA group meetings, warming and cooling centres, ESL classes, or providing food to people in need, are also exempt from the mask mandate and proof of vaccination requirement.

Organized events such as a wedding or funeral reception or other events that do not have a worship component do require attendees to provide proof of vaccination and wear masks.

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.

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 general inquiries, please email cpdoffice@pacificdistrict.ca.
For any questions on employment changes or support, please contact Dwayne Toews.
For any finance matters, please contact Aaron Chan.
For any benefits matters, please see Benefits Updates and contact Nicki Lundrigan.

Government Resources

We encourage you to pay close attention to updates and information as well as understand and follow all government precautions. The BC Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the BC Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada have multiple resources:

We suggest that you also consult your local health authority for any region-specific information.

Practical Considerations

Here are several practical considerations for churches to consider during COVID-19:

  • 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
  • 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 to stay home

Resources

Here are several resources to assist you in preparing your practical response:

Church Guidelines & Communication Resources

Church Annual General Meeting

Weddings

Finances & Employment

Facilities & Risk Management

Media Resources

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:

If you have any questions, please contact our office at cpdoffice@pacificdistrict.ca.
This post will be updated as information becomes available.