Ottawa is currently in a grey zone lockdown (as of April 3rd, 2021). During this time, church attendance is limited to 15% capacity meaning 35 people, plus the priest and cantors. To attend a given service in church in person, you must register by sending an email (preferred) or a text message to the pastor. Registration is first-come, first-served.
Grey Zone restrictions update from Pastor, April 2nd 2021
Starting at midnight in about 11 hours, Ontario enters the grey zone lockdown, which will last for 28 days or until further notice. During this time, church attendance is limited to 15% capacity.
Starting tomorrow, for our church, the capacity will be 35 people, plus the priest and cantors. To attend a given service in church in person, you must register by emailing a reply to this email or else by texting me at my cellphone number, 780-983-4895. I prefer email replies. Registration is first-come, first-served.
I announced this new registration requirement at yesterday’s Holy Thursday evening liturgy, so some people have already registered for the services on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. If you email or text me and do not receive a reply, that means that you have responded too late and will need to view the services via a livestream at home.
However, you could also drive to church, park in the church parking lot and remain in your car. You could then either stream the service using your mobile device in the car, or else you can tune in to FM frequency 91.1 and listen to the service that I will be transmitting from the altar using a low power FM transmitter. For divine liturgy, at the end, I will first distribute holy communion to the people in church. Once I’m finished with the people in church, I will come outside and distribute holy communion at the bottom of the steps in front of the church to those who have come in their cars. (If you choose to listen to the low power FM broadcast, please note that I have only one microphone that I can connect to it, so you should hear me well when I’m at the altar. The rest of the service may not be audible in high quality, however.)
I will respond to your emails in the order in which I received them. If you do not receive a response and you decide to come to church, you will need to stay in your car for the duration of the service as I outlined above.
Pastor’s Letter, June 20th 2020
The good news is that we are preparing to open the church to public worship under the guidelines in the attached document: RulesForAttendingChurchDuringCovid19. These rules describe how public worship will be conducted in church from now until further notice and call for volunteers in order to make it happen. Our parish is now preparing to admit a restricted number of people to participate in public worship in the church on Sundays. This is a big change in how church is conducted from what we are used to. Please take the time to educate yourselves in the new procedures and to carry out the preparation work before you come to church. If you’re not ready by Sunday, it is quite acceptable to stay home and view the livestreams of the liturgies until you are prepared for these procedures.
A particular group of volunteers from parish council have met to set up the church for the sanitation and physical distancing requirements mandated by the Eparchy during this time of the COVID-19 hazard. This setup process has determined that the permitted capacity of our church is about 30-35 households. It will likely be a bit fewer people than the stated 30% capacity, which stands at about 100 people. These past Sundays, for the 11:30 AM Liturgy, we still had plenty of leftover capacity with about half to two thirds our allowed occupancy, so please, if the absolute only reason not to come is our limited capacity, do not hesitate to come. These past Sundays for the 9:15 AM Liturgy, we had about a third of our allowed capacity.
Rules for attending church
If you are a member of a high risk group, which includes people over 70 years of age, those who are immunocompromised, or have any similar vulnerabilities, you are encouraged to stay home and view the livestreams of the liturgies, which will continue as before. If you have any flu-like symptoms, you are required to stay home.
Attending church will not be a return to normal. If you would like to attend church in person, you will have to subscribe to a set of requirements outlined in the attached document “RulesForAttendingChurchDuringCovid19”. For example, each household group must maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from any other household group at all times. This means that seating, as well as everyone’s movements, will be controlled by the ushers and ordinary things like entry into church will take much longer than usual. Come 30 minutes early. You will be screened. Everyone is strongly recommended to bring their own mask to church and to use it. If you don’t, surgical masks will be available at the entrance.
For those who wishes to come on Sunday, please also print the Household Covid-19 Screening Form and fill it on the morning of the Liturgy. There will be forms available for those who cannot print at home.
Call for volunteer ushers
We welcome volunteers to be ushers at the 9:15am liturgy and at the 11:30am liturgy. Their task will be to guide the faithful into the church before the service starts, to guide them up for reception of holy communion, and to sanitize the church after the service. They are to ensure that physical distancing requirements are maintained at all times during the service. Please see the attached document “UsherJobDescription” If you would like to volunteer for this position, please reply to this email or phone me at 613-723-1673. There will be other training session for ushers as needed. If we do not receive responses from at least 4 volunteers for each liturgy then that divine liturgy will not be publicly celebrated this Sunday, and public attendance of it will occur only after enough volunteers sign up and are trained. That is how important ushers are under these conditions.
We will have a couple of donation baskets at the entry into church, but we prefer that you continue donating as you have been doing since March, through e-transfers to the church email address, or by sending cheques in the mail. Your support has been wonderful and is very much appreciated.
The pews will be empty of all books
You may bring your own books from home to help you celebrate divine liturgy, but you must take them home with you afterward. If you don’t have such books, you can obtain a copy of the English language Anthology for Worship in return for a donation of $30 or more. This book also has daily prayers and is a very good support for one’s own personal prayer life. It is worth obtaining for this reason alone.
If anyone has questions, you can reply to this email, or phone me at 613-723-1673.
Documents to Read
Rules for Attending Church During Covid19 (pdf)
Household Covid-19 Screening Form (pdf)