Return to Church Guidelines & Protocols

PHASE 2 – RETURN TO CHURCH SERVICES

As we move into Phase Two of our re-opening plans, the health and safety of our members, visitors, and staff continues to be our number one priority. Please read the following information carefully, as some significant changes in our Covid policies are in effect for Phase Two. As always, these policies will be reviewed and revised on a regular basis as directed by local case numbers, provincial regulations, and guidance from our regional health authority.

Vaccination Policy — At the most recent meeting on November 9, 2021, the Walton Council passed the following change to the church’s Covid vaccination policy:

Effective Monday, November 15, 2021 until Monday, January 31, 2022, Walton Church will require proof of vaccination for all indoor worship activities, group gatherings, meetings, events, and rentals.

This includes Sunday worship, Sunday School, Teen Talk, Youth Groups, in-person committee meetings, Bible study, etc. Exceptions are those not eligible for vaccination due to their age, and those with documented medical exemptions. Proof of full vaccination or medical exemption letter from a licensed physician must be presented each time to attend any of the above events.

Our current Covid protocols will remain for everyone’s protection: cloth or medical masks (medical recommended) worn correctly over the nose and mouth and physical distancing required at all times; advance registration and assigned seating for Sunday services and Sunday School; no group singing; enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces; all staff and visitors to complete health screening and sign in and out of the building.

As a church that is dedicated to being welcoming and inclusive, this is not a decision that was taken lightly. However, as we head into winter amid rising case numbers, the Council felt this step is necessary not only to protect our members and guests but also to create the safest working environment possible for Walton’s staff in these extraordinary times.

Council strongly encourages everyone able to get vaccinated to do so. For those who choose not to, and those uncomfortable attending worship in person, virtual services will continue to be offered.

Council will re-evaluate this policy in January in light of current case numbers, provincial regulations, and the direction of our regional health authority.


Topics
Phase Two guidelines at a glance
What will services look like?
What safety precautions are in place?
How to register online
How to register by phone or email
What if I registered but can no longer attend?
What if I have mobility issues?
What about children and youth?
What about Sunday School?
What if I want to book a wedding, funeral or baptism?
When will we resume choir, coffee hour, youth programming, etc?


Phase Two guidelines at a glance

• Phase Two begins on Monday, November 15, 2021
• Two Sunday services at 9:30 am and 11:00 am
• Services are 35-40 minutes long
• Proof of full vaccination at least 14 days prior to the service date or proof of medical exemption from a licensed physician is required for everyone age 12 and up
• A recorded service will still be provided for those who prefer to worship virtually
• Advance registration for services is required each week — online, by email or by phone. Registration deadline is midnight on Thursdays
• Reserved seating will be assigned in household bubbles by the church office
• Masks must be worn at all times
Health screening must be completed before coming to church (Note: You will not be asked to show proof of your Covid screening at the church – it is an honour system. A printed screening questionnaire will be available at the church for those or are unable to complete the online screening.)
• No supervised nursery in Phase Two
• No choir or congregational singing in Phase Two
• No coffee time between services in Phase Two

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What will services look like?

• In Phase Two, we will be offering two identical live services on Sundays, at 9:30 am and 11:00 am.
• These simplified services will include prayers, scripture readings, youth story, sermon, and offering at the doors, but will not feature hymns, choir, or congregational singing
• Services will be approximately 35-40 minutes long
• Children and youth will remain in their pews for the youth story
• Upon arrival at the church, please enter via the south-east Tower door across from the front lawn church sign (wooden doors), where you will be checked in and directed to your assigned seat
• Arrival times – When you arrive at Walton, the Tower doors will be locked until staff has prepared and sanitized the sanctuary. For the 9:30 am service, you can arrive anytime before the service. For the 11:00 am service, the doors will be unlocked at 10:40 am.
• Following the service please exit via the Allen stairs or the emergency exit in the choir loft at the west and east sides of the front of the Sanctuary
• Printed bulletins will not be available; all announcements, prayers, responses, etc. will be displayed on the screen or offered verbally by service leaders.
• There will be no coffee/social hour between services
• A recorded service will still be available for those who prefer virtual worship.

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What safety precautions are in place?

• Full vaccination at least 14 days prior to the service is strongly encouraged for anyone attending in-person services
• Masks are required at all times in the church building for everyone age 3 and up
• Attendance will be capped at a maximum of 30% capacity so booking early is the best way to ensure you have a place
• Seating will be pre-assigned by household bubble, using every second pew to ensure physical distancing
• Windows in the sanctuary will be open for ventilation
• The church sanctuary, washrooms, and high touch areas such as handrails, doorknobs, etc. in the building will be cleaned between services
• Everyone in attendance must complete the provincial government’s online Covid screening onilne before coming to church, or you can download, print and complete the self-assessment form.
Note: You will not be asked to show proof of your Covid screening at the church – it is an honour system. A printed screening questionnaire will be available at the church for those or are unable to complete the online screening.

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How to register online

• Advance registration is required for all in-person services each week.
• Registration will open on Monday mornings at 9 am and close at midnight on Thursdays.
• Each week by 9 am Monday a link to register for services will be posted on our registration page. Simply click the link and follow the instructions provided
• Please include all members of your household bubble who will be attending in a single registration, so that we may seat you together
• You will receive an email confirming that you are registered, or advising that you have been placed on a waiting list
• If you are unable to attend, you must cancel your registration online, or notify the church office by phone or email to ensure those on the waiting list have the opportunity to attend

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How to register by phone or email

• Advance registration is required for in-person services each week
• Registration will open on Monday mornings at 9:00 am and close at midnight on Thursdays
• Please email the church office or call 905-827-1643 to register. You can leave a message on the answering machine with the details required.
• Provide your full name, phone number, the time of the service you wish to attend (9:30 or 11:00), and the full names of everyone in your party.
• Please include all members of your household bubble who will be attending in a single registration, so that we may seat you together
• You will receive a phone call or email confirming your registration or waitlist status.
• If you are unable to attend, you must cancel your registration online, or notify the church office by phone or email to ensure those on the waiting list have the opportunity to attend

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What if I registered but can no longer attend?

• If you are unable to attend the service you booked, you MUST notify the church office to ensure those on the waiting list have the opportunity to attend
• If you registered online, please cancel your registration online via the same link
• If you had registered by phone or email, please notify the church office of your cancellation

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What if I have mobility issues?

• The accessible Allen entrance (off the parking lot at the rear of the church) and the elevator will be available for those unable to use the stairs
• If registering online, please check the box indicating that you require the elevator
• If registering by phone or email, please mention that you require the elevator
• When you arrive at Walton, go to the Allen Entrance (at the rear of the building) and press the doorbell. The elevator attendant will come to get you when the elevator is available.

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What about children and youth?

• Masks are required inside the church building for everyone age 3 and up
• Proof of full vaccination at least 14 days prior to the service date or proof of medical exemption from a licensed physician is required for everyone age 12 and up.
• Children and youth will remain in their pews during the youth story
• Individually bagged kids’ activity packs will be available for parents to pick up when entering the church. These may be taken home or placed in the baskets provided at the exit following the service
• Our virtual Sunday School At Home program will continue, with a weekly lesson sent out by email. Please click here to subscribe
• In-person Teen Talk (Grades 9-12) will be postponed until January 2022.

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What about Sunday School?
Sunday School will be offered at the 9:30am service, beginning on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

• All teachers and volunteers must be fully vaccinated
• Children age 12 and up must present proof of full vaccination each week to attend in person
• Masks and physical distancing required indoors at all times
• Proof of Covid screening check must be presented at check-in
• Sunday School will be held in Bronte Hall
• Parents/guardians will drop off children outside the exterior doors to Bronte Hall, facing Lakeshore Road, and then proceed to the tower door to enter the Sanctuary for the 9:30 service. Pick up at the same location.
• No parents/guardians are permitted in Bronte Hall or the foyer.
• All grades from JK to Grade 8 will gather in Bronte Hall and will be separated into small groups by age.
• Sunday School activities will include age-appropriate music, games, crafts, and Bible study
• Advance registration is required each week. *More information coming soon*
• In-person Teen Talk (Grades 9-12) will be postponed until January 2022.

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What if I want to book a wedding, funeral or baptism?

• Special personal services such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms can be accommodated with restricted numbers and certain guidelines in place
• For more information or to book a special service, please contact the church office

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When will we resume choir, coffee hour, youth programming, etc?

• With the Covid situation continuing to evolve on a weekly basis, we cannot provide a firm date for the resumption of normal activities at this time
• During this time we will closely monitor the back-to-school process, local case numbers, and any guidance from our regional public health authorities to make an informed decision about moving forward in the safest way possible

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