Dear friends in Algoma and Moosonee,
Every day in the news we are hearing more about the Province of Ontario’s plans to open up in stages, and yesterday Premier Doug Ford made an announcement regarding houses of worship being able to resume services at 30% capacity on June 12th this year. The release of this news has resulted in a flurry of emails from excited and anxious Anglicans who are wondering what the implications of this are for us in Algoma and Moosonee.
There will be no changes to our plan to take a summer break, and to use the time well to plan for the reopening of our churches the first Sunday in September. There will be no corporate worship or meetings within our buildings over the summer months. Five people may gather to broadcast or livestream services of worship, and buildings may be used for food security programs or other essential outreach programs.
Questions have been asked about the possibility of outdoor gatherings with ten people or less and this is under consideration and will be dependent upon the group wishing to gather to have a well thought out plan in consultation with the Deanery Officials.
However, no such gathering is expected to take place until we can provide guidelines for such assemblies. Our aim is to do so by the end of June.
The House of Bishops in Ontario, in conjunction with the Executive Officers of our dioceses, and in consultation with epidemiologists, are in the final stages of crafting a document which will describe the three stages in the safe reopening of our church buildings. It will be up to individual dioceses to determine what the specific details of each stage look like, depending on our own contexts. A small writing group has formed in Algoma to begin working on such a document, and a similar group will be formed in Moosonee within the next few days.
I will be holding regional gatherings via zoom in late June to fill you in on the progress being made and answer any questions you may have about the specifics of the reopening in Algoma and Moosonee.
This letter comes with gratitude for your understanding, patience, and care of each other as we seek the common good in the cautious and careful reopening of our facilities.
Yours in Christ,
The Most Rev. Anne Germond
Archbishop of Algoma and Moosonee