COVID-19 Update #15

Thursday June 25, 2020
Friends, your Church Council met for a Zoom meeting on Monday June 22, 2020 from 7-9pm. Highlights of our meeting are outlined below.

The goal of our meeting was to put in place an overall plan for September 2020 that ensures the health and safety of all members of our church community while nurturing each person’s spiritual growth and needs for connection to others.
Showing Gratitude: Time was taken to express our gratitude for several acts of generosity and kindness over the last month. These are listed separately in this week’s What’s the Buzz.  Thank you.
Financial Update: We continue to appreciate the ongoing financial support we are receiving from members of our church community. As mentioned, rental and fund-raising income are not coming in as budgeted. However, to date we are pleased to have received the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy from the Federal Government for March and April which covers approximately seventy-five percent of our staff costs.
Looking Beyond Covid-19: As noted above, our goal for the meeting was to get a solid plan in place for September 2020. Our overall priorities in doing this planning continue to be:

  • Ensuring the health and safety of all staff, volunteers and members of our church community
  • Nurturing the spiritual needs of members of our church community
  • Continuing efforts to keep regular contacts and connections within our church community
  • Ensuring physical distancing and abiding by maximum government established group guidelines
  • Providing a safe and clean environment for whatever occurs within our building

Over the past six weeks, Carol Hickmann has coordinated our work to get re-opening ideas and plans from all our committees and user groups. This information has been pulled together in a  23-page document that formed the basis of a number of the following motions that were discussed and passed by Council.

  • MOTION: Planning for September 2020: That the church-wide plan created by committees and user groups be approved as a guide for planning, beginning September 2020. This can be accessed through this link
  • MOTION: Modified Re-opening with Health Restrictions: Based upon the present guidance from the provincial government, we move forward with planning for a Modified Re-opening with Health Restrictions beginning September 1, 2020 as outlined in the church-wide plan.
  • MOTION: Building Use Expectations: That the Mill Woods United Church Building Use Expectations document be approved as the basis for all building use beginning September 2020. This document is an overview of everyday procedures for entry of the church building, Sunday morning worships procedures, and user group expectations. This can be accessed through this link
  • MOTION: 4Point Taekwondo: That 4Point Taekwondo be given the go-ahead to begin programming as of June 29, 2020 based upon the understanding outlined in their “Return to Training Protocol.”

Background: Our contract with 4Point Taekwondo was to begin on June 1, 2020 but   because of government restrictions that did not happen. However, as of June 9, 2020 restrictions have been eased and 4Point Taekwondo has developed a plan that meets all the expectations outlined by government.
4Point Taekwondo would only use the outside entrance that goes directly into the stairwell. Property will be putting locks on doors from the stairwell to both the main floor and balcony. Kitchen, nursery, storage areas and furnace room in basement would be locked. 4Point Taekwondo will be responsible for the cleaning of all of their area and washrooms (as outlined in their contract), as well as the stairwell area until August 31, 2020. The elevator would not be accessed by 4Point Taekwondo prior to September 1, 2020.

  • MOTION: 4Point Taekwondo Temporary Rental Agreement: That 4Point Taekwondo be given the opportunity to re-establish their business by being provided free use of the basement space until August 31, 2020, with the understanding that full rent will begin September 1, 2020.

Background: While 4Point Taekwondo wants to re-start programming beginning June 29, 2020 they will not be working at full capacity. The long-term success of Mill Woods United Church and the long-term success of 4Point Taekwondo are inter-connected. By providing free rent for these two months, Mill Woods United Church would be making an investment in the long-term success of 4Point Taekwondo and acting consistently with the spirit of Federal Government initiatives related to renter and rentee working relationships.

  • MOTION: User Group Usage of the Church Building Prior to September 1, 2020: That there be no access by groups to the Mill Woods United Church building prior to September 1, 2020, with the exception of day-to-day work of staff and volunteers, Sunday morning live-streaming of worship, and use of the basement by 4Point Taekwondo.

Background: Your council chair pulled together a small group of people directly related to the use of the building on June 15, 2020 to discuss building use issues. After a lengthy discussion the group made this recommendation. They felt that to re-open our building safety and responsibly it would be best to have no user group use during the summer months. This would allow processes and expectations to be put into place to ensure a safe return to more regular building use. To date, we have only had one of our user groups request use during this period. This information will be communicated to all user groups.

  • MOTION: Communication Plan: That a communication of our overall plan for re-opening be shared beginning the week of June 29, 2020 through What’s the Buzz, the website and direct written contacts to all user groups.
  • MOTION: Communication Plan: That a communications update be shared beginning August 1, 2020 providing updated details on our re-opening for September 1, 2020 and that this be done through What’s the Buzz, the website, direct written communications to user groups, and through our all-congregation phone-out during the month of August.
  • MOTION: Property Summer Projects: That council provide the Property committee the go ahead to pursue the following projects, based upon the estimates provided.
  • Replacing flashing and check for leaks on steeple
  • Replace fire detectors on roof of sanctuary and steeple light repair
  • Repaint and fill crack on the wall/ceiling line of sanctuary and repair water damage on ceiling
  • Replace exterior steeple lights

Background: These projects have been identified over the past year as priorities that should be completed. While the church building is not being used by user groups, having this work done now seems reasonable. Council has previously given the Property committee the authority to spend up to $1000 a project without seeking council approval. At present there is approximately $61,000 in the Capital Fund and each month we receive between $600-700 through offerings.

  • MOTION: Emergent Summer Issues: That council give the chair and chair-elect the authority to make decisions on emergent issues between now and our September 2020 council meeting and that any decisions be shared through email during this period and formally at the September council meeting.

Background: This motion is presented each June and will only be used if a very quick decision needs to be made. As needed, the chair or chair-elect also may either call a Zoom meeting or hold an email vote during this period of time to deal with emergent issues.

Further information and Committee Updates:

  • A Schedule for Council Members to welcome the congregation at the beginning of each Sunday morning worship service in September and October was created.
  • An overview of plans for live-stream ONLY Sunday morning services and who would be leading and participating in these during July and August was presented. This is outlined in a separate item in this week’s What’s the Buzz.
  • Congregational Care continues to take the lead on phone calls out to congregational members and this will continue during July and August on a modified plan.
  • Exciting new children’s curricular materials have been purchased for use in the fall
  • Property, as well as taking the lead in projects mentioned above, is involved in a number of smaller projects including placing door locks in stairwell area, installing a number of hand sanitizers, connecting exterior taps, and weather-stripping front doors.

And a few light-hearted thoughts to finish the meeting!

  • Atheism is a non-profit organization.
  • Don’t let your worries get the best of you – Moses started out as a basket case.
  • Plan ahead – It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
  • We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

Our next Church Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday September 22, 2020 at 700 pm. However, as note above we may call a special meeting prior to that as needed.

Beginning next week, we will begin our communications regarding plans for the fall – as we see them today!
Our wish is for each of you to have a wonderful summer and that this time brings you much happiness and good health. If you have any comments or questions about anything your Church Council is doing, please let any member of council know.
Rob McPhee, Council Chair