Policies and Procedures for Re-Opening Our Buildings and Entering the Amber Stage of “Loving Our Neighbours”

“Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

~Philippians 2:4, NRSV


For most of Algoma’s congregations, our buildings play a valuable role in the life and ministry we share. Thus, while we have found ways to worship and serve during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of our buildings has been difficult for us. As we look to the possibility of reopening our facilities and gathering once more around word, font, and table, we must ensure we prepare adequately.

The resources provided in this post have been developed to assist you in this work.

Use and share the checklists and resources below as you prepare and maintain your facilities according to the guidelines for the Amber Stage issued by the Provincial House of Bishops. Please remember to compare the requirements and recommendations provided with those of your local health units, always following the guidelines that provide the most protection.

Remember, too, as conditions change and new information comes to light, protocols may be revised, and restrictions either lessened or strengthened.


Entering the Amber Stage of ‘Loving Our Neighbours’

This is the basic document for congregations to follow as we enter the Amber Stage. In addition to introductory material and helpful links, it provides checklists for preparing to reopen your building(s) and a checklist of minimum requirements for indoor worship. Please carefully read this first.


Useful Links in Preparing for, and Living in the Amber Stage

This document provides links to key government sites, local health units within the Diocese, and various resources you may find helpful.


Cleaning and Disinfecting – Before and During the Amber Stage

Routine cleaning followed by disinfection is a best practice to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  This short document outlines a two-step process and some general principles.


Amber – Parish Questionnaire

This questionnaire is intended to assist your congregation in confirming that you have considered all of the steps and decisions you will need to make to move ahead safely with the Amber stage of the return to our buildings. Please return this to your Territorial Archdeacon either by scanning the signed copy forwarding it by email, or delivering by post or in person. Congregations may not hold indoor worship services until this document has been completed and provided to your Archdeacon.


Amber – Contact Tracing Log Book

An attendance log for each service must be kept for the purpose of contact tracing. Contact information should be stored safely for a period of three years, maintaining privacy standards. The contact information of one person greater than 18 years of age from each household must be recorded, and of individuals of any age who are the only person present from their household. This may be done by filling out a log sheet such as this one, or by checking off names on an abbreviated parish list, using this log sheet for guests or new members.


Amber – Symptoms Checklist

You may find this helpful to put on your parish website and/or have posted for people entering the church building.


Indoor Worship Checklist – Amber Stage (incl. Eucharist and Baptism)

This is a longer, more-detailed checklist that you may feel your congregation needs or desires as it thinks through protocols and engages in common worship during the Amber Stage. It is a step-by-step process addressing many practical considerations, including those pertaining to needed alterations to ceremonial at this time. Be sure to consult this document before celebrating baptism for the first time after re-opening.


Outdoor Worship Checklist – Amber Stage

A short checklist considering matters related to services held outside.


Wedding Checklist – Amber Stage

A short checklist considering matters related to The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage.


Funeral Checklist – Amber Stage

A short checklist considering matters related to Funeral Liturgies in the Church.


Anointing and Indoor Pastoral Visitation – Amber Stage

A basic checklist to reduce risk for both clergy/pastoral visitors and vulnerable persons.


Amber – Sample Policy – Mandatory Face Mask

A Word document that you may find useful to adapt and post.


COVID-19 protocols for safe reopening of Synod office

A document we offer not only to inform, but also to serve as a sample you may wish to adapt for your parish office.