As COVID-19 has now (March 11, 2020) been declared a global pandemic by the WHO, we are taking the opportunity at Crossroads to communicate clearly on the subject with the congregation and all ministry participants.
United Church congregations in British Columbia received guidance from our Regional leadership on March 7, 2020, identifying the recommendation of the Health Ministers of British Columbia and Canada:
“There has been notable transmission of COVID-19 at events, such as religious gatherings. As a result, we recommend social distancing and forgoing usual greetings. As an alternative, we recommend considering virtual online gatherings.”
Crossroads United Church ceased our practice of “passing the peace” with actual skin-to-skin contact (a handshake) on Sunday, March 1, 2020. We continue to invite our congregation to avoid hand-contact during worship services.
We will not celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion until Holy Week (April 9, 11 and 12), and will assess the risks involved at that time. Since our tradition includes a practice of using cut pieces of bread and small individual glasses of juice, rather than a common loaf and cup, we will likely use that practice at upcoming services.
We suggest the following practices:
- Please practice good flu season hygiene:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick
- Cough and sneeze into your sleeve and not into your hands
- Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others
- When you attend worship, consider wider seating spacing
- Please monitor your health if you have been travelling (especially if you have been on a cruise ship) and if you have any symptoms at all (even if they are mild), stay home.
- Please stay home and get medical help if you are experiencing ALL THREE of the following symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever, cough, and difficulty breathing
We will, of course, continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the Fraser Health area, and stay engaged with practices that protect the health of all people, but especially those who are vulnerable to more severe infection. Further steps may be taken at Crossroads as time goes on, and we will make every effort to support the health of our congregation and ministry participants, by adapting practices as the situation evolves. We will continue to inform the congregation as decisions are made, and we encourage our members to reach out and ask for support if they are feeling isolated or worried.