Dear Friends and Members of Summerside Presbyterian Church:
As Prince Edward Island prepares to enter Phase 4 of the Renew PEI Together initiative, more restrictions continue to be lifted. As of June 26, indoor gatherings of 50 people will be allowed, provided that the essential requirements such as physical distancing, sanitizing, etc. continue to be followed. That would mean that there would be significant changes to many of the things that we are used to doing when we gather for worship, such as greeting one another, singing, sharing fellowship, just to name a few.
This upcoming change has provided an opportunity for churches across the island to consider the prospect of resuming gathering for worship. While some congregations have made the decision to meet for worship while adhering to the recommended guidelines, the Session of SPC has made the decision to not resume gathering for worship at this time.
After a prayerful discussion in which several different possibilities were explored, it was determined that, since our average weekly attendance is above 50, it was not feasible to hold public services at this time. The decision takes into account that the risk of a potential outbreak of Covid-19 remains, even (or perhaps especially) as borders begin to re-open and further restrictions lift. As Dr. Morrison reminded Islanders during her news briefing on Tuesday, “It’s more important than ever that we don’t forget to be careful”.
One of the recurring comments of our conversation at the session meeting was about how this pandemic has reminded each of us of what a blessing it is to gather together and to be able to worship together. We are all missing it! As good as online services are, we know that they will never be a completely adequate substitute.
However, we felt that for the sake of keeping members of our church family safe, continuing to worship online is something that we will gladly continue to do for the time being. We plan to meet again in early September to discuss any potential developments over the summer months that could influence how we will worship in the Fall.
While we know this is not ideal, we are thankful for your continued support as we attempt to navigate these unfamiliar waters. We ask you to continue to keep both our Session, and the congregation in general in your prayers.