If you are experiencing any Covid-like symptoms we continue to ask that you stay home and join us via livestream video. For those attending in-person worship:
- Masking is no longer mandatory.
- Sides people are no longer seating parishioners in specific places. Instead, people are free to choose their own seats.
- Priests will continue to take precautions while preparing and serving the Holy Eucharist (veiling the elements, for example).
- Communion is offered in both kinds by common cup or by priestly intinction, or in one kind (bread only).
- Children are now invited to gather at the front for the children’s focus at the discretion of their parents.
- For passing of the peace, people are now free to interact with each other as before.
BACKGROUND: On March 13, 2020, St. Augustine’s formed a COVID-19 Response Team in anticipation of the needs of our parish at this time. Soon after, a protocol of physical distancing was adopted by the Anglican Diocese of Calgary, leading to the suspension of in-person meetings and services at St. Augustine’s. During that time our Response Team studied the options and developed a plan for public worship that observed safety protocols. During the summer of 2020, the Province of Alberta approved public worship and religious meetings that follow strict guidelines. This led to the resumption of in-person worship at St. Augustine's for a short time. However, the threat of mounting COVID cases over the Christmas holiday saw public worship suspended into the spring of 2021, including Lent, Easter and beyond. In April, the Diocese announced rigorous new restrictions on worship services, limiting total participation to five people. June 2021 saw a welcome increase in vaccinations and a corresponding drop in infections and hospitalizations, leading to the relaxation of restrictions throughout the province. At the end of the summer, however, the rate of illness and hospitalization climbed once again leading to a return to restrictions on in-person worship. At the end of October 2021 COVID cases reduced enough to encourage the resumption of in-person worship, with some restrictions, along with gatherings like choir practice and youth meetings. However, the appearance of the Omicron variant later that fall and its spread through December led to a decision by the Diocese to once again restrict all gatherings, effective January 9, 2022. These restrictions were lifted the following month with in-person events resuming on February 10 followed by further lifting of restrictions on May 11, 2022. Since that time, all official restrictions have been lifted. We continue to follow only the most basic safety protocols (see above) but we remain vigilant.