RE: Update on resumption of in-person worship

June 11, 2021

Hello St. Andrew’s and Deer Park Communities of Faith,

Over the past few months, our leadership have heard your desire to resume in-person worship and we have been reviewing our re-opening plans ensuring priority is given to the health and safety of our staff and community. We know that the provincial government has announced their summer re-opening plans, and Chinook Winds Region encourages churches to consider slow and careful plans for re-opening.

June 20, 2021 is Rev. Tom Melvin’s last Sunday preaching before he retires after 16 years of service to our community of faith. This is an important milestone to honour and celebrate.

After careful consideration the Councils of Deer Park and St. Andrew’s approved a recommendation from the Re-Opening Committee, to conduct a special in-person worship service where we will pilot our re-opening strategies. This will take place at Deer Park United Church for June 20, 2021, in compliance with Stage 1 of Alberta Health Service Restrictions and Re-Opening Committee Guidance Plan.

Due to current provincial and re-opening committee guidelines a restricted guest list was chosen to have representation from both our communities of faith, including Staff, Council members, Deer Park M&P members and their families, as well as Rev. Tom Melvin’s family and colleagues.

A review by the Re-Opening Committee, in consultation with the ministerial staff, will take place in the weeks following this service to make plans for next step forward. The province has a plan to ease public health measures in the coming weeks. Our communities of faith are continually monitoring changes to restrictions as they occur, however, we will not be implementing any changes until we have completed a review for our community. As a result, there will be certain changes that will likely lag behind the province in order to confirm their effectiveness and sustainability.

We acknowledge that this has not been an easy decision and our responsibility as communities of faith is to act with an abundance of caution; trusting God’s guidance in the process. It has been a very long and challenging road through this pandemic and we’re all tired. We are hopeful that the number of Covid cases will continue to decrease, vaccination rates will increase and that we will be back together soon for in-person worship.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we continue to navigate these times. Our blessings and love are with each and every one of you!

Peace,

Jocelyn Gelinas, Deer Park United Church Council Chair

John Palmer, St. Andrew’s United Church Council Chair

Donna Betts, Re-Opening Committee Representative for St. Andrew’s United Church

Anne Morgan, Re-Opening Committee Representative for Deer Park United Church