Having recently moved to Chilliwack from Ontario, I was surprised to discover that B.C. has no COVID-19 protocols in place for churches. As the B.C. government website explains, “There are no capacity limits or restrictions on indoor or outdoor and worship services.”
That means no need for masks…social distancing…vaccinations – nothing.
I know of no scientific or medical reasons why B.C. citizens are in danger of COVID-19 when shopping, going to school, attending a concert, going out to a restaurant, taking a bus, or countless other activities – yet can blissfully ignore all precautions when attending a faith-based activity. In many places of worship people stand next to each other, sit in rows with people three feet behind and in front of them, sing to their heart’s content, hug one another. How is this considered more “safe” than other social activities – safe enough to require no safety measures?
My conclusion? Maybe our leaders have “gotten religion” and believe that this keeps people safe when in a devout setting. Could that be? And yet, this seems in conflict with Alberta government findings that: “Faith-based group activities have been the setting of large COVID-19 outbreaks, and it is critical that leaders/organizers take responsibility for protecting their communities by following all COVID-19 precautions carefully.”
As a retired pastor I fully believe that God can keep people safe… but I also believe that He expects us to do our part in taking reasonable precautions. After all, even if we trust God for our safety we still look both ways before stepping out into the street. Wouldn’t it be reasonable for our government to set appropriate guidelines to help churches do the same thing when it comes to a pandemic which has affected so many?
Rev. Dr. Richard Kopanke
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