Friends: In a news conference yesterday, February 15, provincial government leaders including the premier, health minister and provincial health officer announced a timeline for easing of provincial pandemic restrictions. The full details can be found at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions. Enclosed please find the updated diocesan guidance and protocols related to the same.
With the provincial transition to a long-term COVID-19 management strategy, and in consultation with the diocesan COVID-19 task force, I am pleased to announce that we are now in a position, based on the best available public health advice, to lift some of our restrictions for church-related events, including worship, social gatherings and meetings.
We recognize there may be some communities and individuals that do not feel comfortable returning to in-person gatherings. The pace of the return to full capacity will be at the discretion of parish leadership, if the provincial and diocesan requirements are met. Whatever decision is made, I encourage parishes, as they are able, to continue to use online tools to extend pastoral care and access to the liturgical rites and programs of the church.
This is a time to give thanks. I am grateful to all Anglicans of these islands and inlets for all that you have done, and the sacrifices you have made, over the last two years to keep each other and your neighbours safe. We have done remarkably well and have shown considerable resilience and creativity under very difficult circumstances.
At the same time, our personal and collective suffering and loss has been significant. Too many have died. The inequities of our society have been laid bare, with a disproportionate number of deaths being racialized people and those living in long-term care.
We will soon begin the season of Lent, a season of self-reflection, penitence and prayer. This Lenten season let us consider ways to acknowledge the grief and trauma we have collectively experienced and work together to build a more just and equitable society, in which all God’s children are safe and healthy. Our God is a God of resurrection and new beginnings.
In Easter hope,
Download a copy of this letter and the diocesan protocol update below.