Eastminister United Church
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COVID Resurgence – Pastor’s Pen

16th December, 2021

The Covid-19 Resurgence & Omicron

Many of you are aware that the incidence of COVID-19 in Belleville has increased sharply over the past month.  The numbers are the worst we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic and we are far into the “Grey Zone” that would have resulted in a total lockdown during the first half of 2021.  On top of that the omicron variant is here and will spread at exponential levels.

The Management Team at Eastminster met yesterday.  The discussions were as follows but we are aware that situation is changing very quickly.

As a group, all were having some difficulty balancing the various risks with the value of vaccination and the usefulness of protocols that are already in effect.  We also are aware of the degree of COVID-fatigue felt by many and the lack of consistent guidance from political leaders.  As of today, the following applies to Eastminster.

  1. If possible, we would like Eastminster to stay open for Christmas and Boxing Day Services. Please check our website for up-to-date information eastminster.ca .
  2. Beginning with the Christmas Eve Service, all worshippers will be required to show proof of double-vaccination (or the Provincial exemption certificate). You will only have to show proof once (hopefully) and if you happen to be in the church-building over the next week, you can show your certificate to Diane in the church office and she will put a checkmark beside your name on our contact tracing records for Sunday attendance.
  3. All worshippers are asked to work together to continue observing social distancing, proper mask wearing, and hand-washing.
  4. There is a general sense that the incidence of the virus will increase further and we may find it necessary to close the church building again for a time this winter. The safety of the congregation is foremost in our thinking.  Please check our website, Facebook page, and weekly ConnecT for information related to Services or closures. If you are not receiving the weekly ConnecT via email and would like to, please call the office for instructions as to how to get ConnecTed.
  5. The Church Office will remain staffed but staff will endeavour to work from home where possible over the initial weeks of the new year.
  6. We will carefully monitor new policies and restrictions issued by the Hastings-Prince Edward Health Unit and the Province of Ontario.
  7. Small groups that use the building may continue but are asked to exercise caution and be diligent in following the protocols.

I would like to thank Brian MacLellan, Kathy Purcell, Eddie Chu, Jim Woolnough, Ralph Porter, Nicola Lupton, and Pat Hope for their continued guidance and work on behalf of Eastminster.

As Prime Minister Trudeau said yesterday, “None of us wanted this, especially around Christmas.”  We do however have to address the realities before us.  It is our joint hope that everyone exercise caution, stay healthy and enjoy the Christmas season even if celebrations are again somewhat more muted than we would like.


Pastor David