To all the members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Erbsville
Many within our two congregations are no doubt aware that communities lying outside the GTA have now been given the “green light” to move into Phase II of the post-Covid restart. This means that the province is now allowing the partial re-opening of churches. Congregations may gather at a level that does not exceed the 30% capacity of their respective sanctuaries. This is good news!
This past Tuesday, both of our Church Councils received a directive from the Office of the Bishop regarding the opening of our Lutheran churches. The gist of the letter is that the Eastern Canada Synod, in conjunction with Anglican House of Bishops, has decided to extend the current prohibition to worship in-person until September. We quote the words from the Bishop’s office:
“As such, it is my (that is, Bishop Michael Pryse’s) strong recommendation that our synod’s congregations not contemplate initiating in-person worship experiences within our church buildings until the beginning of September at the earliest.”
As member parishes of the Eastern Canada Synod family, it is necessary that we comply with this directive on this sensitive issue. The Bishop’s office is showing extreme caution and indeed, this is prudent, given the unique challenges that are posed by this contagion. Yes, while many have expressed hopes that the post-Covid restart could have occurred earlier, we need to embrace the Synod’s example of caution. As a result, all Lutheran and Anglican churches will continue to remain closed until September. Sunday worship will continue to be offered through our now-familiar digital means.
Yes, these are unfortunate times, but with fervent prayer and much Spirit-filled forbearance, I have little doubt that we shall experience a successful return to full congregational activity.
Peace and many blessings,
Pastor Olaf Poulsen