Keeping our Community Safe

Pandemic Response

At Good Shepherd, we are shaping our pandemic response in co-operation with public health authorities and with the leadership of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. Below, we have listed some information on our current situation. We have also posted our plans for a gradual re-opening of public services. You will also find links to helpful sources of information on COVID-19 from public health agencies.

Guidelines from the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa

Throughout the pandemic, the diocese has been consulting with public health officials as it formulates its pandemic response. To help with this, it has hired an epidemiologist to provide guidance to churches on how to maintain safe practices. They have been posting regular updates on the diocesan website. You can access them by visiting the site here. The site includes regular updates, so please visit regularly for the latest news.

Please pay close attention to the “In This Together” document, which outlines the diocese’s plan for church re-openings. This plan includes stages of re-opening, spanning Red, Amber, Yellow and Green stages. Each stage includes special guidelines to allow for a safe return to worship, depending on the degree of risk. You can find a copy of this document here. This is the document which will guide Good Shepherd’s re-opening.

Our Current Situation

Good Shepherd is now in stage red of the diocesan re-opening plan. This means we are currently not permitted to offer public services of worship. We continue to offer services online for the benefit of the parish and anyone else who might be interested in listening in.

Good Shepherd still provides pastoral care for special needs, including funerals, hospital visitation and counselling. We are keeping the church office open through the summer, but following social distancing measures. Our church secretary physically present at the church on Mondays. She works remotely from home on the other days of the week. Fr. Stephen is usually present at the church from Tuesday – Saturday, and also works from home.

We have also suspended church rentals. We currently do not allow the building to be used by outside groups.

Good Shepherd’s board of directors has convened a pandemic response committee. Its task is to prepare for our gradual re-opening. Sandy Holmes and Father Stephen are leading the committee. It will follow the steps set out by the Anglican Diocese in the “Checklist for Parish Leaders”. You can find a copy of this document here.

We will stay in this current stage (the red stage) until at least September 6th, 2020.

Preparations for Autumn 2020.

We hope to enter the “Amber Phase” of the diocesan re-opening plan starting on September 13th, 2020. This includes public worship.

Our pandemic response committee is still working out the details of this phase for the individual needs of our parish. However, we will follow the basic guidelines below. These have been set for us by our diocese.

  • We will continue to offer online worship, even after we open for in-person worship.
  • We will resume our Sunday public worship, but with the following restrictions.
    • We will only accommodate 1/3 of our regular building capacity for worship. This is approximately 30 people.
    • Attendees must reserve a space in advance. This ensures we don’t exceed building capacity.
    • Attendees must sign-in when they enter the building, providing their contact information.
    • Singing is prohibited.
    • Attendees must maintain physical distance during the service, and must wear a mask. People living in the same household can sit together.
    • We will celebrate the Eucharist, but only wafers will be used (i.e. no wine, and we cannot used home-baked bread).
    • Coffee hour, Sunday Club, Youth Group, and Nursery will not be permitted to meet in-person.
    • The building will be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly after each service.
  • We will re-open the church building for small in-person meetings, provided that health and distancing guidelines are followed.

Preparations for Winter 2021 and Beyond

Currently, we cannot be certain when we will move beyond the Amber Phase. We will do so only when directives from public health officials and our diocese allow it. Once we receive the directive from the diocese, Good Shepherd will move to the Yellow and Green Phases of the re-opening plan.

These phases will allow the following:

  • Larger groups can attend worship.
  • Fellowship events, such as coffee hour, will be re-introduced.
  • Sunday Club, Nursery and Youth Group will resume.
  • Singing will be re-introduced.

Other Resources

Many public agencies continue to provide resources and information for churches and the wider public. Please visit the following for regular updates on the COVID pandemic:

Ottawa Public Health

Government of Ontario COVID Information


Pandemic Response