Thank you to all of you who continue to take care of our churches, communities and each other through this pandemic. The situation is evolving day by day. We wanted to provide an update in the context of some of the most recent news.
Based upon the increased level of new cases and the comments of the medical officer of health, it appears likely that Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington will be moved to the ORANGE stage in the next few days. ORANGE is described as “Restrict”, bringing intermediate measures, avoiding any closures. If you wish, view further detail on each of the five colour coded stages (Green, Yellow, Orange, Red and Grey).
As of today Leeds Grenville and Lanark has joined Hastings and Prince Edward in the Yellow (Protect) Stage. All three regions are seeing rates (incidences of positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 people) increasing. We expect that there will continue to be changes as authorities respond to changes in the pandemic in each Health Unit.
We continue to review our guidelines and protocols with medical experts and health officials. We have not been asked or directed by the province or health units to close or further restrict our churches or worship. Moving to the ORANGE stage will not change this at this time. There are a number of aspects where our guidelines are more strict than those of the local or provincial health units. This has been out of an abundance of caution in order to minimize the risk to those that worship and take part in ministry in our churches. We continue to advise our churches to ensure they are following the guidelines and exercising caution which is appropriate to the risk and impact of this deadly virus. Most churches made a decision, developed a plan and applied for authorization to re-open in Sept/October. As conditions have continued to change, several churches have decided to close again for a time after Christmas. These are choices made in each church and the diocese fully supports them.
Every day brings news of the vaccines and the hope that they bring for wide protection against the virus. We will remain cautious and take every precaution we can to protect everyone while still being able to continue with our buildings open, in person worship and the ministries our churches bring to each community.
Blessings to all through Advent as we prepare for the coming of the greatest hope of all, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Bishop Michael Oulton
Diocesan Executive Officer Alex Pierson
Archdeacon for Ministry and Program Wayne Varley