Church and COVID-19   The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada has issued recommendations for gathering for worship during this time of heightened vigilance with respect to the COVID-19 virus.  

At present, we have not cancelled services at St. Luke's. If we do get to that point, we will notify people by email and through our website. Please check the website for up to date information.    

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34  

Not out of a spirit of fear but out of love and responsibility for one another, we will be following the recommendations of the Primate, our own Bishop and Diocesan staff, and provincial and local authorities, including Alberta Health Services. Many of these recommendations will lead to temporary changes in our usual practice and are meant to help greatly reduce the possibility of transmission of the virus. We will be doing our part to help slow the rate of infection and lessen demand on our health care system.  

Starting immediately in our church gatherings:  

No handshaking or hugging. We will use "no contact" versions of sharing the peace with each other. A smile with a slight bow or nod of the head conveys the same good wishes as a handshake or hug.  

If you must cough or sneeze, please distance yourself from others. Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow, then wash your hands or use sanitizer.  

Collection plates will be handled only by the sides-people and servers.  

Communion will be offered in one kind only. This means that during this time we will receive only the bread. Anglican Eucharistic theology teaches that the fullness of the sacrament is present in both the bread alone and in the wine alone.  

Use the available hand sanitizer.  

Pastoral and community services may need to be limited or suspended, depending on our situation.  

While the Province is not presently restricting gatherings for faith communities, we need to be prepared for the possibility that we could be required to close for a period of time.    

These considerations from Dr. David Dawson MD are general best practices in all we do.  

If you have a contagious illness, please stay home, and if required seek medical attention.  

Anyone travelling from areas with the virus or known exposure (within 14 days) should stay home and self isolate.  

Hand washing for 20 seconds with lathered soap on hands.  (Many people apply soap, put their hands under running water immediately and wash for 20 seconds.  Good technique is to apply soap, lather, rub hands together with lather for 20 seconds, with attention to fingertips, thumb, back of hand, then rinse, turn tap off with paper towel and use towel to open door upon exit).  

Authorities recommend hand washing frequently - ideally each 1/2 hour.  Use hand sanitizer if washing facilities are not available.  

Stay 2 meters from individuals who are coughing or sneezing.  

Disinfect commonly touched surfaces frequently - any common disinfectant such as dilute bleach works.  

If worried that one may have been exposed or have contracted the virus, don’t go to doctor’s office or hospital unless severely ill (e.g. short of breath) but rather phone for guidance.  HealthLink (811) is an option.  

The time is likely coming soon where we will need to help those who cannot or should not be out in the community by delivering groceries, doing errands, driving etc.  

There are excellent websites for Alberta (Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services), Canada (Health Canada), the US (Center for Disease Control) and the World Health Organization.  For other questions, I recommend calling HealthLink.