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.
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The Interior Health mask order was repealed on September 1, 2021 and churches are now under the provincial mask order.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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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:
- BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan
- BC’s Restart Plan
- BC Proof of Vaccination Requirements
- BC CDC Guidance for Holding Low-Risk Worship Services
- BC CDC – Event Planning
- BC CDC – Faith-Based, Spiritual, & Worship Practices
- BC CDC COVID-19 Information
- Healthlink BC COVID-19 Information & Advice
- Online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool
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 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
Here are several resources to assist you in preparing your practical response:
Church Guidelines & Communication Resources
- Provincial Health Orders, Restrictions, & Guidance
- WorkSafeBC Protocols for Faith-Based Organizations
- CPD Crisis Communication Resource for Churches – COVID-19
- C&MA in Canada COVID-19 Guide
- Organizational Resilience Checklist
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
- Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) Plan
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- COVID-19 Guide to Workplace Law for Employers & Employees
Facilities & Risk Management
- A Guide to Safely Reopening Your Organization During the Pandemic
- Cleaning & Disinfecting Your Premises
- Post-Coronavirus Facility Checklist
- Keeping Idle Buildings Safe
- Protecting Idle Property
- Maintaining Your Church Property During COVID-19
- Article on Zoom Fatigue – A Body of Work
- Church Online Platform– a free online platform for churches
- Vidflex Faith
- 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:
- 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 information becomes available.