Indoor faith services to return as part of B.C.'s restart plan
VANCOUVER -- Consultations are finishing between the province and faith leaders to return to in-person worship in the coming days.
“This has been such anticipated and hoped for news,” said senior rabbi Dan Moskovitz with Temple Sholom in Vancouver. "Our congregation, our community and I’m sure all faith communities are just so relieved to know that there’s a path forward and we’re going to be able to start to return to in-person worship, outdoors and indoors.”
A new order is coming this week from public health that will outline protocols for indoor, in-person faith based gatherings, such as capacity limits and safety regulations, as part of the first step of B.C.'s newly unveiled restart plan.
“I’m really excited just, for a number of reasons, it’s a measured response,” said Christopher Pappas, dean of the diocese of Christ Church Cathedral. "It was exciting to hear today that these are going to begin loosening up.”
While a few churches in the Fraser Valley continued in-person gathering throughout the pandemic, despite health orders, the vast majority closed their doors and turned to worshiping online.
Moskovitz said consultations have been going on for months between faith leaders and the province.
“I’m most looking forward to not having to pray into a computer screen anymore, and actually to be able to pray into the faces, and with the faces, of my congregation,” said Moskovitz.
“We can be church without the building, you could demolish the building and we would still be the church,” said Pappas. "What this pandemic has done has kept us from coming together as individuals that form the community.”
Until the new order comes out later this week, the province said faith communities can continue to gather for outdoor worship services with up to 50 people and can refer to the existing order for more details.