Message from the Board January 6, 2022
As a result of the Province of Ontario’s recently announced increased restrictions, and in an effort to ensure the ongoing safety of our staff, volunteers and congregation, the decision has been made to continue with online services only at Grace United until further notice. The Re-Entry Committee in consultation with the Board, will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to the congregation as the situation evolves.
We are thankful for the ongoing support and flexibility of Helen and Michael, and our worship and communications volunteers, without whose dedication Grace would not be able to offer services.
Please note that all Grace sponsored events such as Line Dancing, Seniors Yoga, Tai Chi and Coffee Time will either occur online or be deferred during this time. External renters will continue to be guided by their external governing bodies, Ontario government guidelines and Halton public health regulations.
Message from the Board December 20, 2021
All of you are aware of the ever-increasing rise of the COVID variant Omicron. This has caused staff and volunteers alike to feel less and less comfortable with in-person services. Considering upcoming Christmas services that require significant preparation and an adequate volunteer base, an Emergency Board meeting was held after church on Sunday. A motion was put forward and passed that in-person services be canceled until after the first week of January. The Board will make a decision about subsequent services in the New Year.
We regret that we will not be able to celebrate the Birth of Christ together but the safety and well being of the entire congregation and staff are our first consideration. Virtual services will be available and you can enjoy them in the comfort and safety of your own home.
We wish you a safe and blessed Christmas.
Message from the Board November 3, 2021
It is with great pleasure that the Board and Re-Entry Committee are now able to welcome you back into the sanctuary at Grace. It has been a long 19 months since we have worshipped together in person, and we are excited to finally open the church doors.
We listened to feedback about our initial re-entry plans and after a Grace-FULL conversation with the Board and again with the Re-Entry Committee, the Board has approved the following Motion:
Motion: To enable re-entry to Grace United Church and to honour and respect all groups of our constituents, we move the following protocols be adopted for our move into ‘in-person’ Worship Services and all other Grace sponsored activities and events:
- Proof of double COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test result will be required from all who are eligible for vaccination
- If you show proof of double COVID vaccination you will be allowed to enter OR
- If you are eligible for COVID vaccination and cannot show proof – you will be offered a ‘rapid COVID test’ (free of charge)
- if the result of that test is shown as ‘negative for COVID 19’, then you will be allowed to enter OR
- If the result is ‘positive for COVID 19’, then you will be asked to leave and follow Public Health reporting and isolation requirements
- For those that are ineligible for double COVID vaccination (currently those with valid medical exemptions, and those participating in a valid COVID-19 clinical trial), they will be required to show proof of these exemptions and then will be allowed to enter the church. Children under 12 years are exempted.GUC will do what is required to ensure that we have a “Kid’s Program” for the children. However we will not require children to stay out of the sanctuary – but rather will encourage children to join the Kid’s Program.For clarity, children who enter the sanctuary will NOT be asked to leave as long as they follow the usual masking, distancing, and health & safety protocols.
- In all cases, we will require people who attend in-person Worship or Kid’s Program to register on-line for each Sunday to create a record of attendance until otherwise rescinded by Public Health.
This Motion was passed unanimously.
As you can see, pre-registration will be required to attend services on Sunday morning; the link is on the church website. Remember to have your proof of vaccine available on arrival. If you indicate on this form that you have not been vaccinated, please plan to arrive at the church 30 min early so that you can receive a rapid COVID test.
If you are aware of someone who wants to attend and does not have the ability to pre-register themselves, contact the office administrator and she will assist you.
With the requirement for proof of double COVID-19 vaccination to enter GUC, capacity limits no longer apply according to the Ontario government. Please be sensitive to those people who need a larger zone of personal space to feel comfortable.
Please do not expect everything to be the same as when you last attended a service. There still will be no coffee hour following the service. The choir has not returned and there are no congregational responses yet. Communion will be served individually wrapped but unfortunately, we were not able to obtain gluten free wafers. If this is a requirement, we ask that bring your own wafer or cracker. These aspects of the service will be reintroduced gradually. We are moving gradually and wish to ensure that everyone feels totally safe and comfortable.
Worship protocols can be found on the website if you would like more information.
If you wish to watch the service online, note we are now live-streaming service on Sunday morning. Rolling announcements will be shown starting at 9:50 and the service will start at 10 a.m. If you cannot watch at that time, there may be a delay in the posting of the recording following the conclusion of the service but don’t lose faith. The service will be there for you to watch.
Anyone wishing to book a room for a meeting or an event should contact the office administrator to book the space and complete a user agreement.
Update From the Re-Entry Committee October 17, 2021
This Sunday marks the first time since March 2020 that a Worship Service is being held in the Sanctuary at Grace. While this first service is a test, (and in fact was recorded earlier), we are hopeful that within a few weeks we will be able to permanently transition back to live services which will be both taped and live streamed. This means that very soon, Grace members will be able to choose whether they want to attend Worship Services in person, or continue to attend virtually, depending on their particular circumstances.
In the next week or so, details will be shared with everyone on the re-opening of live services at Grace, so please stay tuned.
All of this would not be possible without the dedicated work of a host of committees and volunteers, nor the ongoing patience and support of our congregation. Thank you to everyone for your continued efforts over the last 18 months.
Part of those efforts included a special congregational survey conducted in the summer of 2020 asking the congregation, among other things, under what conditions they would feel comfortable returning to live activities at Grace. You told us that in order to return, you wanted the following:
– Full vaccine availability, flattened curve, widespread testing and treatment availability.
– Government mandated safety protocols in place.
– Willingness of the congregation to be pre-registered for contact tracing.
When this first survey was conducted, none of the above was in place, and we had no idea if and when a vaccine would become available, so we indicated that at some point in the future we would likely re survey the congregation. Thankfully, a year later, we have all of this and more in place. As a result, we are able to re-open our Sanctuary for live Worship Services.
We know that some people in the congregation have been asking when the next Re-Entry survey will be issued. Given that we are now Re-Opening for live Worship, we have decided that a follow up Re-Entry survey is not required.
Again, thank you to everyone who has contributed to our ability to re-open Grace, and we hope everyone enjoys their choice of Worship options.
Co-Chairs, Grace United Church
Re-Entry Update for Grace United Church September 24, 2021
It has been 18 months since we have been able to worship together at Grace and now that things are opening up in Ontario, many of you are asking when we can expect to do that again.
First and foremost, Grace United Church is a Vaccine Friendly place of worship. As stated in our Core Values, inclusion is at our core. Our Re-Entry Committee in partnership with the Board, has been developing the appropriate governance to support this. Our commitment to inclusion and providing a safe place for spiritual growth remains firmly intact.
There is compelling evidence that vaccinations are the most effective way to protect our congregation, communities and ourselves against COVID-19 and we encourage and support COVID-19 vaccination for those who are eligible.
Health and safety protocols at Grace will continue until further notice and under the guidance of our government health professionals. These protocols continue to be available on our website. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to provide updates to our re-entry process as we evolve our protocols within the context of Government Health and Safety guidelines and our Core Values.
Currently we are waiting to have the new AV equipment installed that will allow us to have in-house services while continuing to maintain an on-line presence. There has been a delay with the provider and until such time as we can commence services in the church with the proper AV support, we will continue our services online through YouTube.
We know that our renters and organizations that we partner with may have their own COVID-19 policies, and we will continue to work with them to ensure that our Renter/User Agreements comply with them and meet the safety needs of our congregation.
As always, we respect your choice to continue participating in Grace activities in person or remotely as circumstances warrant.
Thank you to our Minister and staff, and members of our Board, Committees and congregation, who have worked tirelessly to help Grace continue to do God’s work in our community.
Dale Martin & Heather McGavin, Co-Chairs of the Board of Grace United Church