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Dear friends in Christ,
On June 1, the Most Rev'd Anne Germond, Metropolitan of Ontario
wrote on behalf of the Ontario House of Bishops to advise that
Anglican churches in the province will not be returning to in-person
worship before September, regardless of the provincial government
re-opening plan. The Ontario Government’s June 8 announcement
introducing Phase 2 of lifting restrictions granting permission for
places of worship to re-open to 30% of building capacity and for
gatherings of up to 10 people does not impact the decision made by
Provincial House of Bishops. We will not be returning to in-person
worship until September at the earliest.

During the summer, church leadership in the Diocese of Ottawa will be working to develop a staged
plan for the reintroduction of public worship that will observe public health protocols and directives.
Please see Bishop Shane Parker’s remarks enclosed with this letter for more details about how things
will progress in the coming months, and why our buildings and our grounds will remain closed for the
time being.

I met with the Corporation and Treasurer last week via Zoom video conference to discuss the impact
of this decision, and I am grateful for their counsel and input. People have asked about support to
the Meals-to-Go program and I am pleased to say that it is currently well funded. St. John’s is in a
reasonably strong financial position thanks to you, the parishioners, continuing to financially support
the parish through the general operating budget, even though we cannot gather together in person.
That support is vital and I thank you so very much for your faithful generosity.

We will continue with our current offerings of worship (Liturgy of the Word live at 10am Sundays via
Facebook, on our website soon afterwards and rebroadcast at 8am & 1pm on Cogego Cable the
following week; 9pm daily Compline via Facebook). Phone calls to parishioners will continue. On-line
bible studies, seminars, fellowship via Zoom teleconferencing, and offerings of music are all going to
be explored in the coming weeks. The mission and ministry of the church goes on in new and
creative ways even as we are apart.

While other denominations may choose to open their buildings before us, please know that the
difficult decision to refrain from in-person worship has been made with the safety, health and wellbeing of parishioners and the community in which we live, work and serve topmost in mind and
heart. We will do the right thing and we will get things right so that we can safely and sustainably
continue to be the church in the world Christ loves.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact myself or the wardens. In the
meantime, be safe, care for one another and continue to follow Jesus’ call, seeking and serving
others, and respecting the dignity of every human being.

I remain your servant in Christ,
The Reverend Canon Catherine Ascah
[email protected]
(613) 859-4962