White Oaks United Church Update – COVID-19
Sept 16, 2021 UPDATE ON IN-PERSON WORSHIP
The worship committee is pleased to announce that Council has agreed to the resumption of LIVE, in-person worship, in our sanctuary, effective Sunday Oct 3, 2021. Communion will be celebrated at this service.
As per current public health requirements for indoor gatherings, screening will be in place on entry, masks will be mandatory and social distancing will be practised. Our Council has also passed a motion requiring anyone entering our church building to be double- vaccinated with an approved Covid vaccine. Attendance lists for contact tracing will be maintained and hand sanitizer will be available in multiple locations. Singing continues to be classified as “high risk” so we will encourage humming.
The offering plates will be located at the sanctuary doors. There will be no collection of the offering.
Washrooms will be clean and available for your use, if necessary, and we ask that you read and follow the instructions posted outside the washroom doors.
If you are feeling unwell, have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, or have travelled outside of the province in the past 14 days, please do not come.
Sunday school will NOT be resuming at this time, as we continue to monitor the return of children to schools. Our Sunday School teachers have been in contact with our families and continue to search for and offer creative and challenging ways to engage our youngest members.
For those who are unable or do not wish to attend in-person, we will be recording the services LIVE on Sundays beginning Oct 3, and posting them on Sunday afternoon. Initially we will be working with the same static recording equipment we have been using, so please have patience as we experiment and move through yet another learning experience in the hope of maximizing the quality of the recorded product. We are also investigating a more professional and complex(!) system that may give us greater flexibility as the Fall progresses. Council will be presented with the details of this option at the October meeting.
Scouting, VON, and AA groups will be returning to share use of our building at this time. They will also be required to follow our mandated policies and to undertake extra vigilant cleaning after each church use. We will not be doing any private rentals until further notice.
Rev. Anne will resume office hours, at the church, the first week of October.
May the grace and peace of Christ be yours in these anxious times.
We are concerned about the effect that social isolation might have on our members and have and continue to put into place measures to help us stay in touch with one another. This includes communication by telephone to check in with one another, and also some form of Sunday worship made available through the internet and/or phone.
We ask you to continue to practice good hygiene such as hand-washing (saying the Lord’s Prayer while you wash gives you the recommended time), coughing into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, and social distancing (1-2 metres) when you are with others.
We also hope that you will continue to hold one another in your prayers and take the initiative to be in contact with each another – especially those who are in self-quarantine or in lock-down at a long-term care facility.
I am holding you in my prayers and sending virtual hugs.
A Letter to the congregation at White Oaks United Church
Dear White Oaks Church Family.
Given that we are reaching the end of the summer, this is usually the time when we try to gear back up for the beginning of a new school year and a return to worship in the fall. However, like much of our lives things are not quite normal. So with that, we thought it best that we provide an update as to what has gone on over the summer and what we might expect in the fall. This summer has been busy for a number of us and it is only appropriate that all of those who have been working on various tasks be thanked for their dedication to our church. You will see below information from numerous committees, all of whom have put in many hours to ensure positive results as we move forward.
From The Worship Committee
After extensive discussion and review of Government, Health Unit and United Church recommendations, the Worship Committee has recommended to council that we continue with outdoor worship on Sept 12th, 19th and 26th. Masking and social distancing will be required. In the case of inclement weather, we will worship indoors, with all health and safety protocols in place.
As the month progresses, we will carefully monitor the Covid 19 trends and hopefully be in a position to make a decision about LIVE INDOOR worship moving forward in October. As well, we will resume the recording and posting of services in October. We continue to investigate alternate technologies that may allow for a more inclusive experience.
As an additional note, Council has adopted a policy requiring complete, double COVID vaccination to attend indoor worship.
From The Ministry and Personnel Committee
Administrative Assistant Recruitment
White Oaks Church council has approved the recruitment of the Admin. assistant role. This is a part-time position with a minimum of 8 hours a week to start, with a possible increase in hours up to a max of 15 per week. A key part of the role is to prepare the weekly service materials and Sunday screens, supporting the minister and music directors. Experience in office admin. is preferred. If you are interested or know of someone who might be interested email email@example.com and a role description will be sent to them. Deadline for applications is Sept. 15.
From The Development Committee
Over the last few months the Development Committee has bee working with The United Property Resource Corporation of the United Church of Canada in moving forward on phase 2 of the development of the church property. We have signed the Letter of Intent (LOI) with UPRC and have also sent this information to Antler River Watershed our Regional Council for approval. UPRC have been working over the summer and we will be meeting with them in September. As things evolve and progress we will keep the congregation informed.
From The Search Committee
White Oaks United Church is very happy to announce that Rev. Michelle Owens will join our Community of Faith as our new Congregational Minister effective January 1, 2022.
Michelle received a BA Degree from Queen’s University in 2002 and a Diaconal Ministries Diploma from the Centre of Christian Studies in Winnipeg in 2007.
Michelle began her career as the Youth Minster at Kincardine United Church from 2002 to 2007 then became the Minister at Atwood Pastoral Charge from 2007 to 2012. She was the Personnel Minister for London Conference from 2012 to 2017 and she is currently the Principal at the Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg since 2017.
We feel blessed that she has chosen to share her gifts, experience, energy and creativity with us. We anticipate her arrival with great excitement.
As you can see even though we are unable to function in our normal way we are still making progress towards getting back to a normal church life. Hopefully this will happen soon, however as we all know things are constantly changing, we just have to be patient and adjust as needed
From Dave Thompson, on behalf of Council
Our Worship theme for the next few months will be Reconciliation with indigenous people, and Rev. Anne will be leading us through a series based on the Seven Grandfather Teachings of the Anishinaabe people.
This is one of the musical responses we will be using. The syllables in the chorus are called “vocables”, which are non-lexical syllables meant as vehicles for praise.
Enjoy, and be blessed, always!
Here is a spiritual practice for today.
Saturday, September 18th
Your word of love
to fill my heart.
Scripture: Psalm 119:169-176
Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
Let my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
My lips will pour forth praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
My tongue will sing of your promise,
for all your commandments are right.
Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
and let your ordinances help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.
Hymn to Accompany Scripture
VU 409 Morning Has Broken
Let my cry come before you, Holy One, the cry of my heart:
(Speaking one’s heart cries to God)
Give me understanding.
(Being with God)
Let my lips pour forth praise.
(Prayers of gratitude and praise)
Where my path has diverged from yours,
and I have gone astray, bring me home.
(Prayers of confession)
I praise you for your gracious presence and your mercy,
and commit myself anew to the way of Love.
I pray for all who are grieving…
for those living with cancer…
for those with chronic illness or pain…
for those living with depression…
for the people of Alberta, especially those in health care…
I pray for people affected by natural disasters…
by violence or war…
by abuse of any kind…
O Love, I lift into your light
my church family…
my country as we vote in the federal election…
I pray for other issues about which I care…
Use me, O Love, as a word of love,
and as a presence of love.
In Jesus’ name I pray and in his word:
Love and laughter,
hope and humour,
joy and generosity
be mine and mine to share,
today and every day.
Be kind. Keep connected. Give thanks.
With love and prayers,
Sunday morning worship is at 10:25 where we seek to connect God’s ways with our lives through scripture, music and prayer. Sometimes with presentations of video, drama, and liturgical dance.
Our active Sunday School grows the children of our younger families and teaches the Way of Jesus.
A well-equipped and professionally staffed nursery is available for children age 3 and younger at any point during the worship service.
Refreshments and Fellowship Time follow the Service.