Like all communities and public gatherings we are paying close attention to recommendations from Public Health, the City of Hamilton, the Provincial and Federal governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thankfully our denomination, Mennonite Church Canada already has done some work on what the church’s role and responsibility is in situations like these. For info from Mennonite Church Canada about church guidelines for pandemic preparedness: CLICK HERE.
Here is some info specific to our little church community…
- UPDATE: As of Monday March 16th, 2020 we will be canceling our in person Sunday Gatherings and offering online gatherings on our Facebook Page as Live Video Posts. Subscribe and follow our Facebook page to keep up to date: https://www.facebook.com/commonshamilton/
- Our Sunday Gathering location is the 541 Eatery & Exchange social enterprise. If it is decided that 541 is closed, our Sunday Gatherings will also be altered or closed. 541 is currently adding hand sanitizing stations and following all public health guidelines to prevent the spread of germs. UPDATE: As of March 17th 541 will be closed until Easter. We will have to wait to see what our plans end up being for Easter Weekend closer to that time.
Plan for Gatherings: Once the risk assessment is brought down to a moderate level.
- The Commons is a small downtown church. We are often as small as 20 people on a Sunday with as many as 50 people on a busy day. As a small church we are not considered a large public gatherings.
- Not a good time for a visit, leave space for our regulars. If The Commons or The Meeting Place is not your home church community please don’t pick right now to visit. Part of our safety plan will be to remove about half the chairs to make space between people. Once things are back to normal we would love to have you visit.
- Say Hello with a nod! At all our gatherings we will be educating people about not shaking hands or hugging. We will also be reminding people to use the hand washing stations and to stay home if they are sick.
- Communion: When we observe monthly communion we will use individual cups and pieces of bread.
- Stay home if you are sick & tell someone. Church is not a show, anyone who is sick (including staff and volunteers) should stay home. If you do need to stay home make sure you tell someone from the Church. We don’t want people unsupported as they are getting better. Our Pastor (Randy) can be texted or called here: 905-379-3717.
- Feel free to stay home if you feel uneasy or at risk. If being at a gathering puts something like your health or job at risk feel free to stay home. Please do tell us if you are intentionally avoiding gathering (even if you are not sick) so we can make sure someone calls you to keep you connected in other ways.
- Watch online. Although we don’t usually stream our gatherings for people in self isolation we will Facebook Live Stream our gathering here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/616832968709656/
- Alternate Plans. If the need arises we will switch to smaller home churches and/or online gatherings. Our community is not homogeneous so we will not make this decision lightly. We have some people who can weather these changes easily and others (due to mental health concerns, homelessness, social isolation, finances, etc…) that need places of connection. No decision will be made lightly and every effort will be made by the community to connect with each person from The Commons to make sure they are supported through this ordeal.
Weekday Activities, Meetings and Events:
As of Monday March 16th, 2020 the following in person activities have been canceled.
- Music Practices have been canceled. In place of this at the same time we will be gathering through Facebook Messenger. Contact Matt Thompson or Randy Neudorf to be part of this.
- Wed Morning Prayer Meetings at 541 have been canceled. Contact Randy Neudorf if you would like to be included in an online prayer meeting. We will use Zoom or FaceTime on Messenger to do this.
- Chances are more events will be moved online. We will continue to post updates here.
Over All Event Plan:
- Most of our weekday prayer, social or music activities are in small groups of 4-10 people. Please use the same rules for these smaller gatherings as listed above for Sunday Worship Gatherings. Stay home if you are sick but let us know so we can be supportive. We will make adjustments and accommodations as needed.
Stay Connected: Yes there our medical risks to the COVID-19 issue, but their our also risks to being completely isolated. A core value at The Commons is “Shared Community.” We are a family not an organization or a service. In that spirit stay in contact with each other.
- Private Facebook Group: is a way for people who are a part of our church family to have a safe place to message and connect online. The name of the group is “The Commons Church (Conversations)” and it can be found HERE.
- Contact the pastor. Randy Neudorf can be reached at:
- Make sure your contact info is up to date. Send your phone, email, and home address to Pastor Randy to update our list.