COVID-19 – Original Updates

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Precautions

DECEMBER 24 2020:
Dear Shoreacres Family,
These trying times have been difficult, but thankfully we can say our hope is in the Lord!
Southern Ontario will be entering a second lockdown starting December 26th at 12:01 AM. Under this lockdown Shoreacres Bible Chapel will revert back to our Zoom formatted meetings.
 
Here are the Zoom meeting instructions: 
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6866746174?pwd=enRpQUJOb2RzRWtTUkl0R1JCa2wxdz09 
Meeting ID: 686 674 6174
Passcode: 369955

Optional dial in number if joining by phone:
        +1 587 328 1099
 
If you have further questions, email us : mail@shoreacres.ca
September 15 UPDATE:
Dear Shoreacres Family,
These trying times have been difficult, but thankfully we can say our hope is in the Lord!
Our modified mode of operation has tried to follow the guidance from various health agencies as much as possible to ensure we put the health of our Shoreacres family first. There are actually three laws which currently govern our meetings specifically related to COVID:
1.        O. Reg. 364/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 3 (link)
2.        THE REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF HALTON BY-LAW NO. 47-20 (link)
3.        City of Burlington By-law 62-2020 (link)
The summary of these laws is that we must not exceed 30% of the building capacity, we must practice physical distancing, and non-medical masks/face coverings must be worn indoors. We will continue to follow these laws, while praying that the situation will improve so that we can remove these restrictions.
We would like to reiterate that physical distancing means we must stay 2 metres apart at all times. This means all forms of physical contact must be avoided (shaking hands, hugging, etc) Congregating in the lobby before and after the service should also be avoided to ensure we maintain physical distancing.
At this time we feel comfortable to make two changes to our mode of operation:
1.        Singing will be permitted. (Masks must be worn during singing)
2.        We will start to meet in person on Wednesday evenings for our midweek meeting starting on Sep 16th at 7:00pm
The elders and deacons have prayerfully discussed these matters at length. If you have any questions or concerns we would love to talk more with you, and look forward to worshipping our savior this Sunday together.
On behalf of the Elders and Deacons
If you have further questions, email us : mail@shoreacres.ca
July 12 UPDATE:
Dear Shoreacres Family
Shoreacres Bible Chapel re-opened for services on July 5th, 2020.
Our plan is to continue to meet in person at the chapel for Sunday morning services. Beginning on July 12th we will make a change to our protocol with respect to masks.
Here is an excerpt from the Halton Region guidance document for places of Worship referenced below:
 
Require the use of face coverings or non-medical masks
  • Require anyone entering the premise to wear a face covering or non-medical mask while inside the facility.
  • Please note that those who are under the age of two, are unable to remove a mask without assistance, or have trouble breathing should not wear a face covering or non-medical mask.
  • Encourage the proper use and disposal of face coverings and non-medical masks.
  • Remind congregants, volunteers and staff that even when wearing a face covering or non-medical mask, it is important to continue to follow other public health direction such as practicing physical distancing, washing hands frequently and staying home when ill. 
 
Based on this guidance the elders and deacons have decided to modify our protocol to require the wearing of non-medical masks for those who choose to attend the service in person.
Here are some relevant FAQs which can now be found in the re-opening protocol:
  1. Do we have to wear masks? Yes. As recommended by our local public health unit, non-medical masks should be worn in places of worship
  2. Can we bring our own masks or do we have to use the masks provided? You may use your own mask if you would like, or use one of the masks provided
  3. If I have a medical condition that does not allow me to wear a mask (asthma, etc.) will I need to provide proof of the condition? No, we will rely on the honor system. If you have a legitimate reason to not wear a mask we trust that you will follow the other protocols such as social distancing and hand hygiene to protect yourself and others.
We recognize that you may not agree with this decision. At this time we believe it is the best decision for our testimony and to show our care for all those who attend the meeting in person. If you have specific questions or concerns please reach out to one of the elders or deacons.
 
On behalf of the Elders and Deacons
If you have further questions, email us : mail@shoreacres.ca
July 4 UPDATE:
Dear Shoreacres Family
As mentioned previously we intend to re-open the chapel for in-person meetings on July 5th. It is important to note that things are not back to normal though. This email will outline the following topics:
  1. Governing Principles for re-opening
  2. Procedure for Sunday Service:
  3. Before the meeting
  4. Order of Service
  5. After the meeting
  6. Miscellaneous items
  7. FAQ

Governing Principles for Re-opening

From Scripture:
We want to be “…diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3) Because, “…how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity…for there the Lord commanded the blessing.” (Psa. 133:3) 
We want to “…regard one another as more important and [ourselves];…not merely look[ing] out for [our] own personal interest, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 3:3,4) Because, Christ “…gave [us]an example that [we] also should do as [He] did for [us].” (Jn. 13:15
We want to “have regard for what is honourable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” (2 Cor. 8:21) Because we want to act “…in such a way that they may see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16
We want to “submit [ourselves] for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…” (1 Pet. 2:13) Because, “…such is the will of God that by doing right [we] may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1 Pet. 2:15
We want to “…love one another” (Jn. 15:12) Because, “…if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 Jn. 4:11)
There are also three official guidance documents which impacted our meeting procedure:
  • Halton Region àCOVID-19 Public Health Guidelines: Places of Worship (link)
  • Ontario Ministry of Health àCOVID-19 Advice: Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies (link)
  • Ontario Workplace Safety and Prevention Services àGuidance on Health and Safety for Places of Worship During COVID-19 (link)
The guiding principles from scripture will not change, but the three official guidance documents will change over time and our procedures will have to change likewise

Procedure for Sunday Service

 
Before the Meeting
  1. The meeting will start at 10:30am. Please arrive between 10:15am and 10:30am. Music will play in the sanctuary from 10:15-10:30am
  2. Enter the building through the back door (the one with the grey ramp). The ramp has been marked with tape to show 6ft increments. Please maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet from anyone who does not live in your household or is not part of your social bubble.
  3. Once you enter the building proceed directly to the welcome table in front of the sanctuary door. A greeter will walk you through the following steps:
  4. Interview: You will be asked the following questions:
  5. Do you have any symptoms which could be associated with COVID-19 including cough, fever, or shortness of breath? (Yes/No)
  6. Have you come in close contact with a person with symptoms of COVID-19 or someone with w confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days? (Yes/No)
                                                                 iii.       Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days? (Yes/No)
  1. If the answer is yes to any of these questions we would request that you not attend the service
  2. The greeter will mark down your name, so we can keep track of everyone who attends each service. This information will be used in case of an outbreak
  3. You will be required to sanitize your hands using the provided hand sanitizer
  4. You will be offered a mask for your personal use. Non-medical masks are recommended when physical distancing is a challenge. For different medical reasons, not everyone can wear non-medical masks
  5. You will be provided with a ‘communion packet’ which includes a wafer and juice to be used during the communion service
  6. An offering basket will be available for you to give your regular offering. Please make your offering on the way into the sanctuary as the basket will not be available after the service.
  7. After you complete the steps at the welcome table you will proceed directly to the main sanctuary. You must sit on the aisle of one of the pews with green tape. Pews have been measured to ensure that the pews marked in green are more than 6 feet apart to maintain physical distancing.  Seating is available at either end of each marked pew.
 
Order of Service
10:30am – 11:00am – Breaking of Bread service
  • Same format as the virtual Zoom meetings
  • The service will be pre-arranged. Brothers will pray and share thoughts. There will be songs played, but congregational singing is not permitted at this time
  • The emblems will not be passed around, but rather we will partake using the individual communion packets
11:00am – 11:10am – announcements, prayer requests, introduce speaker
11:10am – ~11:45am – Message
 
After the Meeting
  • The chairman will give instructions to release each row to maintain physical distancing
  • Please exit the sanctuary promptly, through the back door
  • If you wish to congregate in the parking lot afterwards please ensure that you maintain physical distancing of 6 feet. We are an example to the neighbourhood, and it is important that we set a good example for those who may be driving/walking by.
 

Miscellaneous Items

  • All areas of the chapel building apart from the sanctuary and the pathway from the back door through the foyer are off limits. Do not enter the gym, or go downstairs to the basement
  • You are encouraged not to use the restrooms, but if required everyone should use the upstairs restroom near the back door. Sanitization equipment and instructions will be provided for before and after each use.
  • No nursery or Sunday school will be provided. Families with children are encouraged to bring the children in to the main service
  • We will continue to meet virtually on Wednesday evenings at 7pmfor prayer

FAQs

  1. How long will services run in this modified way?  We don’t have a definite timeline yet, and it is likely that the service will evolve over time as government guidelines change
  2. Do we have to wear the masks? Masks will be provided to anyone who wants one. They are not mandatory at this time
  3. Will the live Sunday meeting be streamed on Zoom? Not at this time. The future plan is to do video recordings of the Sunday messages and post them on YouTube for virtual viewing
  4. Will visitors be allowed to attend the Sunday service? Yes. They will need to follow the same protocol as regular attendees, but visitors are encouraged to attend as always
  5.  
On behalf of the elders and deacons
If you have further questions, email us : mail@shoreacres.ca
June 10 UPDATE:
Dear Shoreacres Family
As many of you may have heard on June 6th the provincial government made an announcement regarding re-opening places of worship, among other things. News release can be found here.
The relevant section states:
Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
While we are excited about the prospect of meeting together again, we want to make sure we take the next steps thoughtfully and prayerfully to ensure we maintain unity and uphold a Godly testimony in our community.
Our immediate plan is to continue with our biweekly Zoom meetings:
• Wednesday: 6pm for pre-recorded message. 7pm for Zoom prayer meeting
• Sunday: 10am for pre-recorded message. 11am for fellowship and breaking of bread service
Announcements like these from the government are typically followed by more detailed guidelines. Over the following days and weeks we will await these instructions, as they will shape our re-opening plan.
The elders and deacons met to discuss our re-opening plan last night to discuss what modifications would be required to how we regularly meet in order to comply with the physical distancing requirement. We likely will not have in person meetings in June, but will hopefully be ready in the summer.
Sincerely,
the Elders and Deacons,
If you have further questions, email us : mail@shoreacres.ca
April 18 UPDATE:
As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, we will continue to do our part to flatten the curve by keeping our doors closed for all regularly scheduled meetings and programs.
We have had some success with our Zoom prayer/fellowship meetings, and the pre-recorded messages/devotionals. Our plan is to continue these with a regular cadence.
Sunday Meeting: 10am
Wednesday Meeting: 7pm
Typically the meetings will involve a pre-recorded message which can be viewed from the Shoreacres website, and then a Zoom meeting for fellowship and/or prayer. Details for each meeting will be sent out roughly the day before over the prayer chain email.
While we long to see each other face-to-face, consider that if this pandemic happened even a decade ago we would not have had these options for virtual meetings. 
God really is good
Sincerely,
the Elders and Deacons,
If you have further questions, email us : mail@shoreacres.ca
MARCH 25 UPDATE:

The situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, and at this time there are no plans to resume meetings at Shoreacres. Access to the building remains restricted. At this time it seems likely that cancellations will continue until at least Easter weekend. For this reason we are planning to do an ‘online’ service for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The exact format for these services will be explained over the next few weeks

The elders and deacons have been meeting regularly (most recently using the Zoom video conferencing platform).  We have combed through an updated chapel directory name by name to make sure everyone has some form of contact with someone from the chapel. We love you all and miss seeing you face to face.

1. Online meetings and fellowship opportunities – We have started using the Zoom video conferencing platform to have Elders and Deacons meetings. We will roll out some instructions on how to use Zoom and if there is enough interest we may try to have some online meetings.

2. Offering – We are working to set up E-Transfers as an option for those who want to continue giving even while we are not physically meeting together – details to come.

3. Prayer List – A prayer list is being developed and will be posted online – another email will follow with the link to the prayer list. For any additional prayer items please reach out to one of the elders and the list will be updated

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MARCH 18 UPDATE:

Dear Shoreacres Bible Chapel

At the end of Paul’s life as he penned his last letter to Timothy he says ‘I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto him against that day’. These may be trying times, but we can echo these words.

With the recent announcement from the provincial government of a state of emergency we have decided to cancel all Shoreacres Bible Chapel functions planned until the end of March. This includes Sunday services on March 22nd and March 29th, Wednesday night bible studies and Awana. Other programs which use the church building will also remain cancelled during this time. As the situation changes we will constantly reassess the situation and send out regular updates, especially if there are changes. We long to meet together again soon.

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MARCH 12  

Dear Shoreacres Bible Chapel

In an effort to participate in our whole society’s efforts to squelch the COVID-19 outbreak quickly, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our services this coming Sunday ( March 15). All events planned for the next week at the chapel have also been cancelled (Camelot Center, BARC, Wednesday night meeting. The Ladies bible study at Pauline Wilson’s house will continue as planned at this time. We will evaluate future Sundays next week (with a possibility of more cancellations).

We know that not all churches have made the same decision. It was certainly a difficult judgment call in unprecedented circumstances. We decided to err on the side of love for our neighbours, and the unknown extent of the risk led us to this conclusion. This decision was made in part by following Health Canada’s ‘Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak’ guidelines. We have a vulnerable population at Shoreacres Bible Chapel due to the large percentage of elderly members in our fellowship. The activities we undertake during our services are also conducive to spreading viruses (singing, close conversation, sharing food in particular)

During this time, let’s avoid the trap of excessive inward focus and fear. Use every digital tool you have to connect and stay close when we need to engage in “social distancing.” Look out for the elderly and those with respiratory conditions. Share with those around you and avoid the temptation to hoard – love your neighbours!

Let’s remember the promises of God during this extraordinary season. Psalm 50:14-15 says “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” God is kind and caring, completely sovereign and in control of even this. He loves to hear our prayers. The church has always shined during the darkest times. Let’s use this time to let our light shine before people so they can see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

 

Sincerely,
the Elders and Deacons,

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