Important Community News [2022-01-04]

Update from the GCGCNY Covid-19 Response Team, Jan 4, 2022.

Dear brothers and sisters:

Wishing everyone God’s peace and grace in the New Year. 

Thank you for following all public health guidelines to control Covid-19.  Thank you to everyone who have worked faithfully to enable our re-opening. 

In our last update from Dec 19, we asked everyone to be prepared for a possible shift to online meetings only in the near future.  With the continuing onslaught of Omicron and the doubling of new Covid infections every 3 days, the time for that shift has come.

We have made the difficult decision to immediately stop all in person meetings and pivot to virtual meetings only until further notice.  This includes all worship services, prayer meetings, Sunday School, cell group meetings, KLS, the Missions Conference and all other meetings.  Pastors have the discretion to record their sermon and the worship service in their usual worship space with a minimum number of helpers.  Everyone must follow all the Covid guidelines.  Pastors and everyone also have the discretion to offer in-person pastoral care if the benefits outweigh the risks.

We are relieved to report that on the Sunday of Dec 26, although 3 attendees in Mandarin worship, 1 attendee in English worship and 1 attendee in KLS developed symptoms after and were found to have Covid on testing, no one became infected on Dec 26 at our church.  This showed the effectiveness of our 7 layers of protection for all attendees: screening, at least double vaccination (>12 years old), masking, 2m physical distancing, air filtration, cohorting and sanitizing.

Despite this reassurance, we want to be extra cautious in protecting the health and safety of everyone.  That is why we made the above decision.

Please complete your Covid vaccinations and get your third dose of Covid vaccine ASAP.  With the increased availability of Covid vaccines, we will be requiring everyone eligible to be fully vaccinated with the 3 doses in a few months’ time unless a valid medical exemption certificate is shown.

We will continue to monitor the course of the pandemic in the GTA closely and give further guidance as needed.

The guidelines below have been revised from the last version that was effective Dec 19, 2021 and will be the defining version effective immediately.  All changes are in red.

Peace and grace,

GCGCNY Covid-19 Response Team

GCGCNY Covid-19 guidance. Updated Jan 4, 2022

  1. Our General Guiding Principles
  2. Requirements for coming to the church during any stage
  3. Church Re-opening Stages
  4. Specific guidance for each stage
  1. Our General Guiding Principles
  1. We will balance government recommendations with an extra margin of safety and caution and the principles and practices of our Christian Faith and our church.
  2. We will consider all health and occupational safety concerns.
  3. We will work within the law and government guidelines since these so far have not had areas of conflict with our beliefs.
  4. We recognize that our congregations are interconnected as a community of families which has members attending different congregations.
  5. The pastoral team will have input before we finalize any guidelines.
  6. We will take a proactive approach.  We will anticipate future developments rather than only react to present and past developments.
  7. We will be monitoring the course of the pandemic in GTA closely.  If infection rates start going up, we may halt the re-opening plan or go backwards in the re-opening stages.
  8. The Covid-19 Crisis Response Team welcomes everyone’s feedback, comments, suggestions and questions.  We strive to reflect our values of love, faith, hope, unity, truth and transparency in this process and in our decisions and implementation.  Our contact is:  (416) 499-0111 x 101.
  9. Each lead pastor may decide to implement each stage at a later date than this guidance’s earliest dates in accordance with the needs and resources in each congregation.
  2. Requirements for coming to the church during any stage

To ensure the safety and health of everyone and to follow government guidelines, whenever anyone comes to the church, we require that: