Dear friends in Christ,
Peace and blessings to you all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. On September 8th, the diocese of Huron granted all parishes the ability to reopen their churches, provided that they had come up with a safe and effective reopening plan within the guidelines of the provincial government and each local health unit, and that the congregation was comfortable in returning to Church for Sunday worship. Like all other parishes, Christ Church formed a Reopening Committee, comprised of Sharon Boyce, Chris Griffin, Janet Price-Jones, and myself. During this month of September, the four of us have been busy getting our Church ready for our tentative reopening scheduled for Sunday October 4th, 2020. In all this planning, it was important to remember that if numbers of new infections within the province begin to climb quickly, the parish maintained the sensible right to postpone reopening until it felt comfortable to do so. I can not stress enough how important flexibility and patience are throughout these uncertain times.
As many of you know, at the beginning of this week on Monday, over 700 new COVID cases were reported within the province. As of yesterday, over 450 new cases were reported and as of today, Wednesday, 625 new cases of COVID 19 have been reported. New Ontario projections indicate that Ontario could be seeing 1,000 new cases per day in the first half of October alone!
Given this news and the overwhelming number of our parishioners who are uncomfortable returning to Church, our Church Reopening Committee recommended to Parish Council that we postpone our tentative plan to reopen on October 4th. A consensus of opinion from Parish Council agrees that we should delay our reopening until a future time until new cases of COVID are going back down in the right direction and people are feeling comfortable and ready to return.
As Rector of Christ Church Anglican Markdale, I have decided that it is in the best interests of our parish to postpone our reopening of our church for indoor worship until further notice. The matter will be reviewed in the days and weeks ahead by our reopening committee. It may also be the case that we may not be gathering for Harvest Thanksgiving weekend as well. This is a very difficult decision for me to make as your parish priest. Like all of you, I miss Sunday worship and seeing everyone where we want to be. However, I believe that it is above all important that our church remain a sanctuary where all feel comfortable and peaceful and not anxious nor uncertain in being there.
As the body of Christ, our Church remains united and strong. We continue to perform our various ministries and our mission to our local community. It is together that we will, with God’s help, prevail in this ordeal.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev’d Jeffery Kischak+