Covid-19 Response

CURRENT SITUATION: Updated Covid Protocols

The Corporation of St. Augustine’s met on Wednesday, May 11 to review Covid protocols. The following decisions were made:

  • We continue to ask all who are experiencing symptoms of Covid to join us via livestream and to avoid in-person church activities.
  • Masking, while still strongly recommended will no longer be mandatory.
  • Sides people will no longer be seating parishioners in specific places, instead, people are free to choose their own seats.
  • Priests will continue to take precautions while preparing and serving the Holy Eucharist (veiling the elements, for example). Lay-Assistants and Altar-Servers will still be required to mask while assisting with the Eucharist.
  • Communion will continue to be offered in both kinds by priestly intinction, or in 1 kind (bread only). We will not be returning to the common cup at this time.
  • Children will now be invited to gather at the front for the children’s focus at the discretion of their parents.
  • For now, we will continue to practice a distanced passing of the peace.
  • Other more minor changes may be announced in the weeks ahead as volunteer teams are ready.

The following rationale are offered for these changes: 

  • The past two plus years have been especially challenging for parish volunteers as they have worked hard to enforce a variety of frequently changing protocols and mandates coming from the provincial government, the civic government, the Anglican Diocese of Calgary, and the Parish Corporation. While Covid is definitely still a concern, we now believe the situation to be stable enough to put more onus on individuals and reduce the stress on our dedicated volunteers.
  • A large majority of churches in Alberta returned to protocols similar to the above way back in March. We felt that additional caution was advised, but are now ready to take the next step into the “new normal.”
  • We offer 2 smaller services each week (Thursday at 9:30 AM and Sunday at 8 AM) which are attended by a relatively small number of people (typically around 20). These can provide an ‘extra-safe’ space for any who are concerned about attending the larger service.
  • We continue to offer a high quality live-stream of our 10 AM service.
  • The situation over the past two years has only increased our admiration for the people of this parish. We anticipate we will continue to be responsible and loving in our interactions with others.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of the clergy or any other member of Corporation should you have additional questions or concerns.

 
BACKGROUND: On March 13, 2020, St. Augustine’s formed a COVID-19 Response Team in anticipation of the needs of our parish at this time. Soon after, a protocol of physical distancing was adopted by the Anglican Diocese of Calgary, leading to the suspension of in-person meetings and services at St. Augustine’s. During that time our Response Team studied the options and developed a plan for public worship that observed safety protocols. During the summer of 2020, the Province of Alberta approved public worship and religious meetings that follow strict guidelines. This led to the resumption of in-person worship at St. Augustine's for a short time. However, the threat of mounting COVID cases over the Christmas holiday saw public worship suspended into the spring of 2021, including Lent, Easter and beyond. In April, the Diocese announced rigorous new restrictions on worship services, limiting total participation to five people. June 2021 saw a welcome increase in vaccinations and a corresponding drop in infections and hospitalizations, leading to the relaxation of restrictions throughout the province. At the end of the summer, however, the rate of illness and hospitalization climbed once again leading to a return to restrictions on in-person worship. At the end of October 2021 COVID cases reduced enough to encourage the resumption of in-person worship, with some restrictions, along with gatherings like choir practice and youth meetings. However, the appearance of the Omicron variant later that fall and its spread through December led to a decision by the Diocese to once again restrict all gatherings, effective January 9, 2022. These restrictions were lifted the following month with in-person events resuming on February 10 followed by further lifting of restrictions on May 11.
 
LIVESTREAM WORSHIP CONTINUES: Although official restrictions have come and gone throughout the pandemic, some people are not yet ready to participate in public worship. Others are not able to attend for various reasons. Therefore, St. Augustine’s continues to record and “livestream” services of prayer and worship. The church has invested in audiovisual equipment that allows parishioners to watch events on a home computer or mobile device. Livestream links for Sunday worship and The Daily Office are posted on this website approximately 15 minutes prior to each event. Go to this page to view live and recorded events.