This is an update on topics of interest for the congregation. As always, please approach any member of our Visionary Board if you have any questions or concerns.
The increasing rate of transmission in our community is concerning for all. We have a good plan in place right now that complies with the current provincial guidelines. In addition, we have been careful about what we do and have gone above and beyond what is required of us. Our spaces are regularly cleaned and we have imposed obligations on our tenant and user groups that have been complied with. We are always thinking in terms of “what else should we be doing?”
We understand that there is always a possibility of suspending services again, whether by public health order or upon our own assessment of the safety of our members, tenants, and user of our facilities. What works today may not work tomorrow, and we are prepared to act quickly and clearly.
In the event that we are unable to carry on with in-person worship, we will continue with streaming our services, as described below. One way or another, we will carry on.
We are now underway with live streaming our Sunday services. If you go to the church web page, you can access our YouTube Live page. Or you can search YouTube for Lakeview United Church Regina Canada. The broadcast can be accessed by clicking on the icon that is labeled the date of the Service (i.e. this Sunday would be November 15, 2020). The same service is saved as a recorded video and can be accessed at a later time via YouTube.
Closed captioning should be available for the recorded version (although this is still a work-in-progress). If it happens that we have to suspend in-person services, we anticipate the ability to still stream services (to an empty Sanctuary) but with a worship leader and Nathan’s music. Not ideal but a workable alternative.
Sunday School is alive and well. Children are expected to wear a mask, as does our teacher Katie Elliot. It would be helpful — not mandatory — if you plan on bringing your child to Church, to let Katie know so that she can plan to manage the Sunday School space with social distancing in mind.
We continue to be eligible for Government of Canada support, although our eligibility for support has been reduced because the difference in our receipts year over year has been reduced. With the return of our tenants and user groups, our income has been coming from those sources that have historically provided support. This is a good thing. With all things considered, we hope to be on track to a much smaller financial impact than we had originally feared.
Increased revenues compared to reduced discretionary as well as fixed cost spending, have greatly improved our position over the last few months.
We expect to have approval from the Living Skies Regional Council as to our “profile” to be posted on the United Church website's “Church Hub”. This will then allow any prospective minister to see us, and likewise, we can identify any minister who is looking for a new appointment. How this moves forward in the current environment is a good question. It might make a difference to when a new minister can be hired (when they might be prepared to accept an appointment), but this is something that we will be better informed on as we go forward.
During this process, we will continue to engage with local licensed worship leaders (as we have to date), guest speakers, and music services. We have access to excellent leaders, and while there is always a preference for the full-time ministry that we have enjoyed over the last six years, the current leadership is well qualified and has been well received.
It is almost a certainty that we will not be holding a family or an evening Christmas Eve service this year. To do so, in the face of current events would entail unnecessary risk to all ages and thus should avoid. In its place, we are actively contemplating a live streamed service, either live or pre-recorded, that we think we can present in a pleasing and effective format. The full details of this remain to be determined.
These last few months have been a challenge for us all. As people of God, we are optimistic. We are hopeful that we will successfully weather this storm, and come out on the other side in a better place. We have good volunteer support, we have good leadership for our Sunday Services, and generally, we think we are making good choices that will keep us safe. As things change, or as we know more about any of these topics, we will try and inform you as soon as we are able.
Wash your hands, wear your mask, stay safe!
Chair, Lakeview Visionary Board