Pacific Mountain Regional Council Update
I hope that you are enjoying the summer and that you are getting a break and experiencing a slower than usual pace of life. As I head into three weeks of holiday, I wanted to take a moment to write to provide a few updates.
I know many of you are beginning to think about the fall, and the possibility of a full return to worship, and some of you have already returned. In my most recent meeting with the Public Health officials, they indicate that there is no plan to return to province wide restrictions. Measures will be taken on an as needed basis to manage local outbreaks. While worship services are not subject to restrictions under current Provincial Health Officer Orders, there are many basic precautions that Communities of Faith can implement to keep their services a low risk setting for transmission. Many of the measures put in place during the pandemic still offer a level of protection and help to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Communities of Faith may choose to put precautions and requirements in place that are above and beyond what is in the Provincial guidance document. Encouraging or requiring mask use, physical distancing, and restricting activities such as singing or sharing food are all measures that reduce virus transmission.
The most important message is that staff and congregation members need to stay home when they are unwell. Communication about how important this is, as well to stay connected electronically will be important to facilitate this goal. Leadershift is offering workshops to help think about ‘hybrid’ offerings.
The national church advises us that we should not be asking people about vaccination status. We should, however, encourage people to be vaccinated in order to protect themselves, as well as those who are unable to be vaccinated. You may also suggest that people who are unvaccinated adults to wear masks at all times when in the building.
Dr Henry has expressed some concern about the potential for transmission when offering communion. As such, we are still recommending single serving communion. Pre-cut bread served using tongs or gloves, and individual communion cups served at the front (as opposed to passed along the rows) is recommended.
Online offerings, or opportunities to deposit donations into a receptacle upon entry or leaving is recommended.
Worksafe requires a contagious disease prevention plan. Please refer to the guidance here: file:///C:/Users/Treena%20Duncan/Downloads/communicable-disease-prevention-guide-for-employers-pdf-en%20(1).pdf
Key elements of this plan include:
- promoting hand hygiene by providing hand-hygiene facilities with appropriate supplies, and reminding people through policies and signage to wash their hands regularly.
- Maintaining a clean environment through routine cleaning processes
- Ensuring building ventilation is properly maintained and functioning as designed.
Regional Meeting follow up:
You will remember that we passed a proposal to actively engage in reconciliation work regarding the Alberni Residential School. Last week, in partnership with the Alberni Valley Communities of Faith, the Moderator and a delegation from our Region, we began the process of building relationship and conversation with the Tseshat First Nation.
In addition, we have established a Regional fund called “Residential School Reconciliation Fund” to support this work. If you wish to donate to this fund, donations can be received on our website, or cheques indicating it is designated for this work can be received at our office. This work will be ongoing, and not limited to Port Alberni. We are working closely with the General Council Office in this work.
Brenda Wolff, our amazing Pastoral Relations Coordinator, Office Manager and support to Leadershift is presently in hospital, and on medical leave, dealing with a new diagnosis of Granulomatosis Polyangiitis. Please join together in prayer for her recovery. Brenda, may you know and experience the love of God and all of us as you navigate this journey.
Welcome to Jane Dawson, who begins her work today as Regional Minister for Justice. We look forward to an increased focus on this area of our life together in the coming months.
Welcome back to Rev Victoria Andrews, Regional Minister for the North, who returns from sabbatical today. She has used her time for study and has taken time to relax and renew for her work in the years to come.
Kathy Davies, Regional Minister for Kootenay and Lower Mainland East is currently Mid-sabbatical and will be returning in Mid October. Kathy, we trust this time will be all you need it to be! Upon her return she will shift responsibilities and will be serving Kootenay and Okanagan. We will be posting a vacancy for a .5 Regional Minister in the Lower Mainland. Allison Rennie will be moving to part time, at her request, and focussing on Leadershift.
Rev Gail Miller, Regional Minister for the Island, begins her sabbatical in September and will be back with us in December. Gail, we wish you all the best!
We will be fully re-opening the Cliff Ave office after the labour day weekend.
Enjoy these blessed days of summer