June 17th

Dear Friends,

The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario in consultation with our Executive Officers, Chancellors and Health Care Advisors have today released the framework for a phased reopening of our facilities, resumption of ministries, gatherings and third party events. The weekly wardens, treasurers and clergy call this Friday, June 19 at 2pm will consider this document entitled “Loving our Neighbours: A Template for the Safe Reopening of our Church Buildings”.  We have begun to consider the means to implement this phased reopening plan within our diocese and we look forward to receiving input from those who will be on the Friday call.

Part of the process leading to implementation will be the release of a detailed document that will give practical effect to the points raised in the framework. To that end, a task force is now being struck which includes experts in the aspects of health care pertinent to the task at hand. Drawing upon the best available resources, we will have a detailed plan to present at the next Friday call on June 26 which will relate to the first phase of the plan (Red). Until that time, the Diocesan Guidelines continue in full force and effect.

The situation surrounding Covid-19 looks very promising within the region served by our diocese and for that I give untold thanks. The situation remains fluid however and the Provincial Government has today extended the state of emergency to the end of June at the earliest. It is my hope and expectation that following the June 26 meeting of wardens, treasurers and clergy, we will be in a position to enter the first phase (Red) of the reopening plan. The task force will continue their work on detailed planning for the Amber phase of the plan which, God willing, we will be in a position to implement on September 1 at the earliest.

Our approach continues to be one of acting with an abundance of caution, ensuring the safety of the people and communities within our diocese given into our care and stewardship. Please be assured of my continued prayers for all of you, along with my deep thanks and appreciation for all you do in service of the Ministry and Mission of Jesus Christ through these challenging days.

Yours Faithfully,

Bishop Michael

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