All AUC in person meetings and programming has been suspended until further notice. We continue to monitor the situation, and we pray that actions taken now will alleviate or prevent suffering amongst our communities.
Commissioners of the 43rd General Council will consider moving General Council 44 from 2021 to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 11th, 2020, a letter endorsed by 250 congregations from across Ontario was sent to Premier Doug Ford, requesting the government lift restrictions on gatherings in church buildings — despite the recommendations of health officials that in-person worship continue to be suspended.
People who work or volunteer in outdoor ministries are sharing creative and positive ways to ensure that the overwhelming joy of camp will continue in some way despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dear AUC Friends,
The Covid-19 emergency is unprecedented and is forcing us to look at how we operate as a church and to take extraordinary measures to ensure our viability. We see a combination of reduced work loads for some of our lay staff as well as a need for financial belt-tightening. Therefore, Aurora United Church Council been forced to make the difficult but necessary decision to temporarily lay off three of our lay staff.
The United Church joined with Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) and Nobel Women’s Initiative in a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francois-Philippe Champagne, urging the Canadian government to ensure that humanitarian assistance is not impeded by economic and political sanctions during this unprecedented health crisis.
Early on in this time of “lockdown”, the Moderator and I had a conversation (electronically of course) with representatives of community ministries from across Canada. It was a listening time for us, we were not there with any advice or announcements. It was a humbling experience.
The United Church is accepting donations to help support Mission & Service partners around the world as they work to meet the needs of these communities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late February, Shining Waters Regional Council prepared the following statement on the Wet’suwet’en crisis. Although its release has been delayed by regional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement has been sent to the offices of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.
You are invited to join a Zoom conversation with Dr. Katharina Manassis, author and psychiatrist (who specializes in children and youth). She will answer questions about how to navigate this time with young people. Link: https://united-church.zoom.us/j/94789649272
Overnight, the normal flow of life has changed at the Jellinek Society’s Recovery House in Edmonton, a Mission & Service‒supported 17-bed residence for men in the early stages of the addiction recovery process. Ed Fox, Jellinek Society’s Executive Director, is more concerned about those struggling with addiction living outside the residence than those living under its roof; you can read the full story here.
Community ministries serve the most vulnerable people in our society and are working tirelessly as they seek to meet increased demands with fewer resources.
At the first worship service of 2020 in our congregation, everyone received a piece of paper with a word on it.
My word was “praise”.
It wasn’t immediately clear to me what I should do with that word. Was I to be more grateful? Was I to sing more? (Not my strong suit!). Was I to to be more public about giving thanks to God?
Praise is a good word. But I wondered why it was my word.
Hello from my basement room which has become my office now, site of countless Zoom meetings and email exchanges. I feel like I have adapted a lot in the past two weeks. It’s odd to work so busily with colleagues that are in the same city yet never in the same building with me. Yet the changes in my working life are small compared to the amazing ways that those in pastoral ministry have responded to the need to serve communities of faith in ways that they would not have imagined a month ago.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 80 ecumenical and interfaith leaders across Canada have come together and added their names to this message of hope, including Moderator Richard Bott. You can read more about the statement here.
In a historic joint pastoral statement, the World Council of Churches (of which the United Church is a member) and Regional Ecumenical Organizations affirmed the urgency of standing together to protect life amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the news piece and statement here.
The National Indigenous Elders Council, appointed at the National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering in August 2019, has offered the whole church its wisdom and assurance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Elders advise us all to take care of each other, to heed medical advice, and to continue to engage in prayer and ceremony even as we are unable to come together to do so.
In Ontario, church buildings (other than some community services that may fall under the social services category) have not been named as essential, so Ontario church buildings must be closed. We interpret this as not allowing even a small number of people in the church to provide virtual worship.
Lessons from Ministry in the Midst of a Disaster by Matthew Crebbin – Disaster Relief, lessons from a minister who attended the community after Sandy Hook. 18.03.20
Offering Support in Anxious Times Pandemic Practicums By Rev. Diane Strickland. Diane is a Certified Community and Workplace Traumatologist & Critical Incident Responder and in this article offers advice to church leaders as they continue to serve their communities during COVID-19. 18.03.20
Pandemic Practicums #1 Everyone’s Response is Unique by Diane Strickland. She has launched a YouTube channel, Things That Matter, to help us respond to the situation.
Pastoral Care for Grieving Families A Google Doc from our partner church in the U.S. The United Church of Christ