Faith’s mandate of making disciples for Christ from all nations continues to work itself out through our values of faith, multi-cultural /multi-generational community and servanthood. COVID- 19 has put these values to the test and our leadership and members are creatively engaging to move us forward into the opportunities God is setting up for us. We want to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and so FFBC will strictly adhere to the guidelines and recommendations from BC’s Provincial Health Officer. We have been praying and seeking God’s wisdom about our plan to re-establish our gatherings and ministries.
The situation around COVID-19 is continually evolving, and as new information emerges, our plan may change also. Updates will be provided as needed by email, social media and on our FFBC website: https://faithvancouver.ca/. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 604-321-6134.
Gathering Together is the clear preference for the New Testament Church. The Greek word for Church is the Assembly or the Gathering. Most of the activity of the church is spoken of as “love one another,” “serve one another,” and “encourage one another”. Each of these activities presupposes a coming together in worship, prayer, fellowship, preaching and hospitality.
Our sister church, El Redentor, has been meeting in the building in gatherings of 50 or less throughout the week for the past 3 months. They have practiced physical distancing and hand hygiene when gathering. We are grateful that no one in either congregation has been infected by the virus. Our New Hope childcare is up and running and also has no incidence. Community transmission seems to be low at the moment, although we do not want to become complacent. One of the reasons that FFBC has been slower to reopen is that we have many seniors in our community who are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19, which may require hospitalization and intensive care.
While these are exceptional times, the health directive suggests limiting the size of our gathering and we have done that as a sign of our respect for authority and as a witness to our community. We continue to believe that the spiritual health of the body is of ultimate importance in managing fear and fostering hope. Wisdom is needed and we trust this plan fulfills what is needed to nurture Faith’s family. The Lord Jesus alone is head of his family and we seek to bring glory to him.
With schools heading back to full occupancy and with travel restrictions loosening there is a clear shift in public policy toward a broader level of community interaction. The following is our FFBC plan for reopening:
Beginning in September we plan to have two community gatherings:
1) Saturday evenings from 6-7 pm we will have a family service geared toward children and youth (limit 50 including staff and volunteers). Families will sit in groupings. Child management will be under parental supervision and discretion.
2) Sunday mornings from 10:00-11:30 am we will have a service open to anyone over age 20 (limit 50 including staff and volunteers). Chairs will be physically distanced in the sanctuary. We will also continue to have Sunday services live streamed for those not able to attend in person.
The following will be adhered to at all FFBC gatherings:
Please stay home if:
1) You have any of the following symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, chills, new or worsening cough, runny nose, headache, new loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, nausea and / or vomiting, sore throat or painful swallowing, loss of appetite, muscle aches, increased fatigue, or pink eye;
2) You have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with lab confirmed COVID-19 in the past 14 days; or
3) You have travelled outside of the province or country in the past 14 days
If someone gets sick with COVID-19 after a church service at Faith, please inform the church office immediately (604 321 6134).
UPON YOUR ARRIVAL:
Please arrive 10-20 minutes early to avoid long line ups and waiting times at the entrance. Signage reminding individuals of physical distancing and of health standards before entrance will be posted. Orange arrows will be on the ramp outside and on the carpet inside to provide traffic direction. All volunteers will wear masks or face shields to ensure personal protection. Markers will be designated on the ground outside the church to indicate 2 meters distance for people waiting to enter the church.
• There will be one entrance to the building through the laneway ramp door and exits out of the north front of the auditorium, one courtyard door, and the 49th main door. A plexiglass barrier will be erected to protect volunteers tasked with processing attendees.
• You are asked to sign in upon arrival. Visitors not known to the church are required to share their contact information (name, address and phone number.) All these data serve to allow contact tracing in case of contracting the disease. The sign in sheets will be kept for four weeks and then destroyed. A set of health questions will be asked of you upon arrival.
• Before entering, a temperature scan may happen and a record of contact information will be secured – temperatures and negative responses to health concern questions will be recorded with a check mark and a numerical value.
Personal: All attendees will be offered masks upon arrival. Medical exceptions (asthma etc.) will be noted and face shields will be provided. Practice good hand hygiene (hand washing, avoid touch your face, sneeze into your sleeve or elbow if needed. Wash your hands if you need to use the washroom.
Volunteers: All volunteers will wear masks or face shields to ensure personal protection. They will ensure hand hygiene is practiced before entering and leaving the building.
Greeting rituals: No physical greeting such as hand shaking or hugging (Please greet one another with a friendly wave or smile.)
Distance Rules: Attendees will keep a physical distance of two arms lengths (unless living in the same household) from others and follow signage as they enter, worship and exit.
Set up in the Sanctuary: The chairs are set up with the required two meters (6 feet) distance. People living in the same household can sit together.
Building: All high touch surfaces will be cleaned before and after gatherings. We encourage individuals to use their washrooms at home if possible, but the facilities at the church will be available and will be regularly cleaned. We ensure good ventilation by keeping the windows and doors open when possible.
Singing: At this point, out of abundance of caution, singing will not be permitted without a mask. The worship team will be physically distanced. There is a higher likelihood of virus transmission during singing.
• Attendees should reserve a space ahead of time by contacting the office at 604 321 6134 or at email@example.com. Walk-ins will be permitted if there are insufficient reservations to fill the quota.
• Live stream: All services will be live streamed to allow those not able to attend to follow the service. Tech persons, ushers, worship team members and hygiene volunteers will be included in the total of 50.
• Communion: Communion services will happen online. We are exploring safe options to include communion being served in person.
• Meals and Coffee: There will be no coffee, tea, water or other refreshments served in the building at this time.
• Collection: No formal collection will be taken although a donation box will be available for drop off contributions.
• Conclusion and Fellowship: Attendees are requested to exit the building upon the conclusion of the service and to continue their fellowship outside the building.
Please go to the following BC Centre for Disease Control website for more information about protecting yourself, your family and your community from COVID-19:
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) states that “Older people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are at higher risk of developing more severe illness or complications from COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 recover; however, people with chronic diseases are also at higher risk of death if they become ill.” Those who are at higher risk of developing severe illness or complications from COVID-19 are advised by BC CDC to: 1) Wash hands regularly and avoid touching your face, 2) avoid large gatherings and 3) stay away from other people who are ill. People who attend a larger gathering (e.g. 50 people) at FFBC need to consider their own health risks and the risks to the health of people they are in close contact with.
Thank you for your ongoing support, participation and encouragement as we continue to work out details for our community worship and fellowship.