Minister: Rev. Gregory Daly
33 East Road, Scarborough, ON M1N 1Z9
Tel: 416-694-4081 Email:
June 12, 2020
To all members and adherents of Birchcliff Bluffs United Church
We hope that you and your loved ones are in good health and spirits in these extraordinary and challenging times.
We are writing with an update on our congregation’s emerging plans for the summer and fall of 2020. Much still remains uncertain. While Ontario has begun a staged approach to reopening the province, it remains difficult to predict which stage we will be in when September arrives. Indeed, with this uncertainty we may experience unique conditions, requiring distinctive responses for the various activities that are part of our ministry in Southwest Scarborough. Context will matter.
Nevertheless, we are acutely aware of our community’s desire to plan for the future, just as we are conscious of the many different concerns and priorities that we must balance in making future plans. Accordingly, our planning has focused on three guiding principles: promoting health and safety, engaging in meaningful worship and programming, and meeting the needs of our community – our staff, our members and adherents, our program participants, and the broader community.
Three Guiding Principles
1. Health and Safety
Birchcliff Bluffs United Church is preparing for a gradual, safe return to our building, with as much on-site activity as is practicable, sensible, and safe. Betty McCulloch has agreed to lead this initiative, working with our minister Rev Greg Daly and Doug Bellamy as well. We welcome input from all of you. As Birchcliff Bluffs United Church develops its plans, we are committed first and foremost to the health and safety of our entire community. To that end, we are following the advice of public health authorities. The church is currently developing guidelines in a variety of areas (cleaning, distancing, timing, and content considerations among others) to assist in understanding areas of worship, programming, meetings, and more. These guidelines will be shared broadly with the Birchcliff Bluffs community over the coming weeks. We do not have all of the answers yet, but in the face of a tremendously complex and constantly evolving situation, we will need to be agile and responsive. Our community’s health and safety remain our highest priorities.
2. Meaningful Worship and Programming
We anticipate that there will be a mix of smaller worship and program experiences with a continued emphasis on remote (online) worship, check-in’s, programs, and spiritual care support in the immediate to near future. We are benefiting from the experience and advice of our staff and volunteers who are most familiar with specific needs and required supports. We continue to engage the skills and creativity of ministry colleagues, and broader church structures (both Shining Waters Region and the United Church of Canada) to devise opportunities that are flexible and adaptable, accommodating and mobilizing, that will offer various modes of engagement. We believe the possibilities for meaningful worship and programming experiences can be made available in this context. In all of this we believe Birchcliff Bluffs United Church can continue to live our faith as an Affirming welcoming community.
3. Our Community
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the value and importance of an understanding, welcoming, caring community. We have all worked together, albeit at a distance, to care for each other. As we begin to consider ways to be together – virtually or physically – we will continue to collaborate, to interact, and to help one another adjust and adapt. We will dedicate ourselves to making sure that, regardless of any hurdles we face individually, every member of our community will be supported: we are not alone.
As we look forward together, we know this will take time, faith, patience, and resilience. There may be setbacks and surprises along the way. But we look forward to continuing to be the church here in Southwest Scarborough in faithful, meaningful, supportive ways. We will do so safely, pursuing faithful engagement in worship and spiritual support as we understand God’s mission for us here at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church.
If you have ideas and/or would like to speak with us about these plans we welcome your participation.
Betty McCulloch Rev. Gregory Daly