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To the People of Hope:
 
Yesterday’s announcement from the Province of Alberta was aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our health care system. Increased restrictions will apply to all areas of our lives until at least January 12.
 
The measures—some new, some continued from before—that apply to our worshipping community are the following:

Mandatory restrictions for Places of Worship – Effective Dec. 13
 
Faith services are limited to 15% of fire code occupancy for in-person attendance:
   - Physical distancing between households must be maintained
   - Mask use is mandatory
Alternatively:
   - Virtual or online services are recommended
Additional safety measures:
   - Faith leaders and other speakers can remove their masks while speaking if there is a distance of 2 metres. The mask must be put on again once finished speaking.
   - Group performance activities, such as choir singing and playing music, are permitted if they are normal worship practices and not for the purpose of entertainment. Performers must wear masks at all times. 

You can find the full list of restrictions at the provinces website: https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.
 
At Hope we have done an excellent job of adhering to all restrictions that have been announced along the way, thanks to the work of Zena Kuziej, our Congregational (and now also COVID Response) Coordinator, along with the goodwill and willing care for the neighbour exhibited by all our members who have attended worship and events. Safety and wellbeing for everyone are topmost in our minds.
 
At this time we feel the most responsible thing to do that will safeguard the health of our members is to cease in-person worship until at least January 12.
 
We’ll continue to offer worship online, working hard to make that experience as connected and meaningful as we can for our members. Still, we miss being together, and we know how important it is to gather with the community for worship. We want to continue to stay connected to each other in the ways that we can. I invite you to reach out and call a friend that might be lonely. Reach out to the pastor or anyone in the church office if you’re feeling like you’d like to talk. We’re here for you.
 
May the peace of God be with you,
Pastor Kristian