Dear Friends:
 
On Wednesday, the diocese participated in a teleconference with Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Officer of Health. 
 
As you know, the World Health Organization has recently declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, and we have had our first confirmed case here on Vancouver Island. On our teleconference, we were asked to implement appropriately cautious and healthy practices – which we intend to do.
 
The situation is quite fluid, as evidenced by the prohibition March 12 on public gatherings of more than 250 people. We are committed to following the advice of public health professionals, and we will advise our people of any change in practice. 
 
Here is where we stand currently:
 
Sunday Services

  • We will continue to gather for worship
  • We will encourage social distancing. We will thus discourage touching (e.g. handshakes, kisses and hugs)
  • We also encourage people to sit as many as two arm-lengths away from each other.
  • The font will be emptied of holy water.
  • The collection plate will not be passed hand to hand. There will be baskets in several locations, and we encourage (and need) people to use them.
  • The common cup will be withdrawn for a time (and please remember that Christ is wholly present in either the bread or the wine, not half present in each!)

 
Hospitality and other Gatherings

  • For the time being, coffee hour after services is suspended
  • Shared meals, such as potlucks or other events where food is prepared off-site, or multiple people are touching shared serving implements, are suspended
  • In Conversation is a prime example of the point above, and is suspended until further notice
  • We should always be asking if we really need to meet, or if we can conduct our business in another way

 
Big Future Celebrations

  • March 29 – Forum on Primate’s Fund and Combined Service at 10.30 a.m. This forum will continue, but regrettably, we will not be able to serve a continental breakfast in advance of the meeting.
  • April 12 – Easter Day & a party for Bishop Logan. Clearly, with the new limit on the size of public gatherings, we will have to rethink our Easter celebrations. It will certainly not be possible to have a combined service at 10.30, nor to host a party.  Please monitor InTouch and the Cathedral web site for further details.  

 
Self-care
Many members of our Cathedral community would be considered “vulnerable” to COVID-19, either on account of age or underlying medical conditions. No matter how indispensable or committed you are to your Cathedral ministry, if it is in your best interests to stay away, please do. We will make do!
Anyone who is feeling unwell is encouraged – indeed, asked – to stay home.
 
Communication with the Cathedral community
The Cathedral wants to remain in touch, especially if meeting in person becomes a liability. We are working with our pastoral care team and investigating other ways of maintaining contact.  In the meantime, anyone who has email contact information, but has not provided it to us is invited to do so. Just send an email to [email protected]. And please, please, let us know if you yourself have been quarantined, or contracted the virus. 
 
Where to get good information
There is a lot of misinformation circulating. We have posted an informative short video about COVID-19 on our web site, by Dr Peter Lin (https://www.swhealth.org/dr-peter-lin-breaks-down-information-on-coronavirus-covid-19/.  In addition, Dr Bonnie Henry has pointed us to  www.bccdc.ca as an excellent source of reliable and frequent updates.
 
Our goal as a Cathedral community is to be a wise but non-anxious presence in this global reality. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with one of the clergy.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
 
(The Very Reverend) M. Ansley Tucker
Rector and Dean