June 30, 2021
Hello Faith Communities of Deer Park and St. Andrew’s,
The June 11, 2021 communication update outlined our plan for reopening, beginning with a special in-person pilot worship service on June 20, 2021. We had representatives of both communities of faith attend as we celebrated and honoured Rev. Tom’s last Sunday preaching, as he retires on June 30. Overall this experience was very positive, and we are grateful that we had the opportunity to mark this special occasion in-person. As planned, following the service, members of the reopening committee gathered to review and evaluate our COVID-19 controls and processes. With this review completed, we are planning to reopen for in-person worship in August.
We have adjusted our COVID-19 controls and processes, ensuring that we reopen carefully and in respect of all persons. In August, we will continue with the previous Alberta Health Stage 1 Guidelines (reduced occupancy, masks, sanitation, social distancing etc.) in an effort to maintain a safe, stepped approach back. Individuals will have an opportunity to sign up for in-person worship closer to the date of each service, and we will also reserve some spaces for telephone sign-up as well. There will be strict adherence to the number of people allowed in the sanctuary. All of this will be communicated to you closer to the time of reopening.
We have also made a commitment to live streaming, so if anyone is not ready to return, is ill, or watching from faraway places, this option remains. Though we look forward to seeing everyone in-person, we recognize that situations can change quickly. We will continue to follow all Public Health orders established by Alberta Health and The City of Calgary and any of the recommendations from Alberta Health Services and Chinook Winds Region. Our stepped approach back will allow an assessment period to observe any potential adverse outcomes from the Provincial and Municipal relaxation plans.
As we look into the summer, we are also excited to welcome Cindy Christie-Brooks, who begins her appointment with Deer Park as Supply Minister on July 1, 2021. Cindy is a student at Atlantic School of Theology and will be on study leave until July 25 so she can complete the required coursework. She will be in the office beginning July 26, and her first Sunday with us leading worship and preaching will be August 1.
Over the month of July, the live-stream team is taking some much-deserved rest, and for that reason, we have some pre-recorded services. Rev. Hillary is away July 19 – August 8, and then August 15. While Cindy Christie-Brooks is on study leave, Rev. Hillary will be available to support the congregational needs of Deer Park, and while Rev. Hillary is away, Cindy is available for the congregational care of St. Andrew’s.
We are looking forward to the adventures summer holds and can’t wait to connect with one another.
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