During the pandemic, our board and staff have been striving to meet the spiritual needs of our congregation while also protecting the health of everyone attending. In July we were able to gather again in person without any restrictions on Sunday worship services. On November 30th, Dr. Bonnie Henry (PHO) announced new restrictions for worship gatherings as we enter into the winter season. The board met on November 30th and discussed the implications of these restrictions and how best to proceed.
There are two new restrictions for faith gatherings in regards to capacity limits and masks, however, they will have minimal impact on us.
The first is in regard to capacity limits. The orders state that "If all participants are vaccinated as determined by the worship service leader, there are no capacity restrictions on worship services and choirs. If participants are not all vaccinated, worship services and choirs are limited to 50% seated capacity."
The board passed a motion that we will follow the 50% capacity option. This is very good news for Central. Our seated capacity is 700; 50% is 350. Over the last several months, our average attendance on Sunday morning has been under 300. In the event that attendance increases while the order is in place, the board and staff team will find a solution that has the least impact on meeting together.
The second order is in regard to masks. Masks are now mandatory at all times, except when partaking in communion, or leadership from the stage through speaking or singing. People with a health condition who are not able to wear a mask and children under the age of 5 are exempt. We are used to wearing a mask in all public places, and now this has been extended to Sunday worship services. Please bring your mask and wear it all times when at Central (exceptions noted above). If you do not bring a mask, one will be available in the lobby.
The board and staff place high priority on the safety and comfort levels of our church family. We will continue to offer multiple avenues for joining the Sunday worship service so that everyone can join according to their level of comfort. For those attending in person and feeling more cautious, we have a section of chairs on the left side of the auditorium that have more distance between them. The balcony is open and often there is a lot of space available. We will also continue to offer the Sunday morning livestream for those who prefer to join us from home.
You may be wondering about our Christmas Eve service. The board and staff are currently working on a plan and will inform you in the next week or two. Please pray for the church leadership as plans are made.
John Yakielashek (Board Chair)