COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update at Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church – March 13, 2020

Message dated: March 13, 2020

We are all watching as events unfold globally regarding the spread of COVID-19 and various initiatives to contain the virus that causes it. I want to let you know about our plans at Guildwood, while at the same time reminding you that Canadian public health officials continue to indicate that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still considered low in Canada.  

Sunday worship and activities throughout the week continue at Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church, with the following measures being put in place:

  1. Our caretaker is being extra diligent in ensuring that washrooms are properly supplied and that surfaces throughout the building are cleaned regularly with disinfecting cleaning solutions.
  2. Hand sanitizer and tissues are available throughout the building, and everyone is encouraged to make use of them.
  3. Signage is in place encouraging hand washing and describing proper hand-washing methods.
  4. We continue to monitor members of our congregation and members of the groups who use the church for any concerns.

We do remind everyone of the various measures each one of us should take to help prevent the spread of disease:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • if you sneeze, use a tissue and dispose of it immediately (and wash your hands); if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into your elbow or your sleeve, not your hand.
  • If you are feeling ill (any kind of illness) please stay home so as to not endanger others.
  • If you feel you have been exposed to someone who is ill, please remain home — even if you are not exhibiting any symptoms.

In terms of church activities, the Presbyterian Church in Canada has posted these guidelines [Editor’s note: guidelines updated on March 14, 2020] for all congregations. At Guildwood, we are strongly suggesting that handshakes and hugs not happen during the passing of the peace, replaced by non-contact gestures such as prayer-hands or bowing.  Groups and committees continue to meet, but no one should feel obligated to attend these meetings if they feel uncomfortable doing so. Congregants are encouraged to leave extra space between each other in the pews on Sunday mornings.

If circumstances change and the session decides that it is a risk to hold worship services and other activities, we will reach out in a number of ways

  • by posting information on this, the church website
  • by email to the list of Tidbits recipients (Tidbits is our weekly email newsletter). If you are not on mailing list for Tidbits and wish to be, you can signup online.
  • and by telephone based on our latest phone list.

The church remains sensitive to the social and pastoral needs of our members and adherents.  If you are feeling uncomfortable about attending church or have decided to self-isolate and want to talk with someone, please reach out to any of Elders, any member of the Care Team, or contact the church office.

Pray for all those who are being affected by this outbreak, and for the leaders and health care workers who are helping to keep it contained.

Bruce Morrison – Clerk of Session