Barb Wirsta
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February 8th, 2021  

Dear Brothers and Sisters,  

After much prayer and consultation we have decided to allow our buildings to reopen for services effective February 14th, 2021. Please note that the priest-in-charge and the Wardens have the authority to choose to keep their Church building closed. No Parish is obligated to open.  

According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) directives, places of worship can be open only for worship, not for meetings, Bible studies, social activities, or for other organizations that would normally meet at those locations.  

There is a variety of opinions on opening or closing, and they are reflected in our congregations and communities. We need to hold our own opinions and expertise lightly and respect those of others. Some may not yet feel safe or comfortable in gathering for public worship and this is a matter where we must respect each other’s conscience and avoid guilt and heated and futile argument.  

We remain very concerned by the numbers of Covid-19 cases in our province, especially in areas of our Northern communities, and insist that every provincial government guideline be safely implemented to guard against the transmission of the virus. 

On opening, all SHA health directives must be adhered to. The most recent directives from the Provincial Government are attached to this letter. It is important that all who enter our buildings for worship are aware and comply with them as outlined.

Public Worship  

The maximum number allowed in the church building for worship is 30 plus the clergy leading the service. 

  • Masks are mandatory.
  • Singing only with masks on.
  • All in attendance must register with their contact information.
  • Those who are particularly vulnerable, who are ill or feeling unwell must stay home.
  • Church buildings require special and regular sanitizing, particularly of hard surfaces and contact points (door handles, handrails, pew edges, communion rails etc.).  This must take place between every use. 
  • Hand sanitizers must be available in more than one location in every Church building.         
  • Handshaking in all church buildings is forbidden until further notice.         
  • Physical distancing must be respected.
  • The serving of any food or drink in any diocesan church or building is strictly forbidden.
  • All those leading worship must wash their hands thoroughly before every service.
  • Congregation collection will not be “taken up” instead collection plates should be placed in the back of the Church. These do not need to be brought up to the front/altar but if necessary, direct physical contact with others and plates avoided.
  • Six feet/two metres of social distancing is required between those of different households. This means that individuals or families must maintain six feet between them (in front and back and to the sides). 

Seating in pews will need to be staggered and special care and time must be taken to allow people to move safely in the aisle(s) especially at Communion.  Our Canons assign to the Wardens the duty of maintaining good order in the church during Divine Service and we ask them or their delegates to ensure that the limits on numbers in the building, safe distancing and movement be observed. The authority of the Wardens and any one they delegate must be obeyed.   

Holy Communion

  • All those administering communion must use hand sanitizer or wash their hands again at the offertory and must completely avoid touching their face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Communion will be offered in only one kind (the consecrated bread) until further notice.
  • Intinction is forbidden.
  • Communion will be administered at the priest’s discretion either at the rail with six feet of separation between communicants or standing at the centre of the rail or nave with six feet of separation between communicants.

Please continue to pray for those who are sick, for our health care workers, for those who are grieving, for those who are lonely, for those unable by conscience or illness to join us for worship, for all who are in any anxiety or distress. Keep Bishop Michael in your prayers as he takes this time to rest and undergo various tests. We trust that his health will be fully restored and that this time will help enable this.

We thank God for the ministries that also continue virtually throughout the Diocese, for your continued care for each other and your ongoing support, in prayer and gifts of our mission and ministry.

May we be renewed in the love and power of our ascended Lord and in the devout appreciation and enjoyment of the communion and fellowship of His body. The Lord is faithful. He has Bishop Michael and indeed all of us and this time in His hands.  

                                                                           In Christ,  

                                                                                                                                                      Archdeacon Andrew Hoskin,

(Commissary to Bishop Michael Hawkins)

 Bishop Adam Halkett