May 17, 2023
At the Official Board meeting today, after noticing a decline in mask use both in church and in the wider world in recent months, it was decided to discontinue the practice of "strongly encouraging" mask use during worship. Hand Sanitizer is still readily available at all churches. People are still strongly encouraged to stay at home (or wear a well-fitted mask) if they present with any symptoms of Covid-19 (even with a negative test), and to stay home if they test positive for Covid-19.
July 21, 2022
In March, 2022, the provincial government lifted the Mandatory Order which lifted all Covid-19 requirements. We are aware, however, that Covid-19 is still very much a reality in our communities, and we also know that there are some people who are more vulnerable to infection.
As it has been throughout the pandemic, loving our neighbours, especially our most vulnerable neighbours (in the way that Jesus teaches us to do) is our guiding principle. We are continuing to strongly encourage mask wearing during worship, and hand sanitizer is available at the entrances to our churches. Each church has a couple of designated "Physical Distancing Pews" for anyone who would like to ensure a bit of extra space around them during worship.
(For smaller group gatherings in the church - e.g. committee meetings, social gatherings - if all participants are comfortable removing their masks they may do so. If, however, even one person is more comfortable with masks, then the loving thing to do is for everyone to wear a mask.)
January 5, 2022
Due to the current Covid situation in New Brunswick and the Saint John Health Zone, today Session made the difficult decision to move our worship services to online-only. We recognize that there is a spiritual/ social/ mental health benefit to gathering together in-person, but with case numbers increasing rapidly and many families in this area dealing with Covid exposures, we felt that this was the wise thing to do. The provincial government is encouraging all of us to keep our contacts with other people to a minimum right now, and by gathering online instead of in-person, this will save all of us one gathering a week.
You can find our livestream gatherings on our Facebook Page every Sunday beginning a few minutes before 11:15am (Atlantic Time).
We sincerely hope that this will be a short-term change, and that we will be able to return to our buildings before too many weeks pass. We will be monitoring the situation on a week-to-week basis.
Blessings to you and your loved ones as we keep each other safe and journey this path together (even as we are physically distanced).
September 16, 2021
On September 15, the Official Board discussed the Government of New Brunswick announcement about proof of vaccination for indoor organized gatherings. The Official Board decided that the wise and loving thing to do at this time is to require people attending indoor church gatherings (including worship, committees, and groups) to show proof of vaccination, even though faith gatherings were not explicitly named in the government announcement. This will help to keep our more vulnerable members safe, including children, people not able to be vaccinated for medical reasons, and people with health conditions that limit their body's ability to produce a good immune response even when fully vaccinated. This will come into effect on September 22, the date announced by the provincial government.
If you would like to read the full letter sent to the pastoral charge, including the theological reasoning behind this decision, you can download it as a PDF file here:
July 21, 2021
At this time, the Provincial Government is moving towards the "green" phase of re-opening, which is scheduled to happen once 75% of the province has both doses of the vaccine as long as case numbers and hospitalizations remain low. At that time, the state of emergency will end, and all mandatory restrictions will be lifted.
A letter has been mailed out to the congregation outlining how we, as a church, plan to transition to "green." You can read the full text of the letter below, but here is a brief summary:
Removing most of the physical distancing barriers within the sanctuaries; however each church will continue to have a "Physical Distancing Zone" for those who are more comfortable with increased physical distancing.
Bibles and hymn books will be returned to the pews, and singing in worship will return.
Masks will no longer be mandatory; however anyone who is more comfortable wearing a mask is very welcome to continue to wear their mask.
Everyone is encouraged to communicate around physical distancing and contact - before reaching out to hug someone or shake their hand, make sure that the recipient is comfortable with hugs/handshakes.
Hand Sanitizer will continue to be available at the church entrances. Everyone is still encouraged to stay home or wear a mask if you are sick to avoid spreading illnesses (Covid-19, colds, or the 'flu).
We will continue to livestream our worship services from Westfield United Church every Sunday at 11:15am on the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook Page.
September 21, 2020
Covid-19 has changed how we do many things around Two Rivers Pastoral Charge. Since mid-March, 2020, we have not been worshiping in our buildings, but have shifted to a livestreamed service on the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook Page. Other programs shifted online as well - weekly bible study and committee and board meetings shifted to the WebEx platform, and daily community check-ins have also been happening using Facebook Live.
In July, the Official Board approved our Covid Operational Plan that outlines safety procedures that will be in place as we gradually re-open our buildings. On September 27, we will resume in-person worship in our buildings, while continuing to livestream the service at Westfield United Church on our Facebook page each Sunday at 11:15. In-person gatherings (e.g. meetings, bible study) are also gradually resuming at this time.
Covid Operational Plan (pdf document will download)
Returning to Our Church Buildings (pdf document will download)