Author Archives: Bishop Sid

Provincial Health Order (September 17, 2021) related to Faith Communities

With Fourth Wave COVID number escalating, The Provincial Health Authority has issued a Health Order that directly impacts our Faith communities. The text for the order is found at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/public-health-measures/public-health-orders#current-public-health-orders Please note the requirement to mask in worship spaces. Note also the exceptions relevant to faith communities listed in the text of the Health Order (with respect to those leading worship, those receiving communion, young children, etc.) For further questions contact: Rev Dr. Sid Haugen (Bishop Saskatchewan Synod- ELCIC): [email protected] Rev Dr. Ali Tote (Pastor and Epidemiologist): [email protected]

Fall 2021 Synod Guidelines for the Fourth Wave

Provincial Health Directives related to Faith Communities– September, 2021 The Provincial Health Authority has somewhat surprisingly, not provided revised Health Directives for the province apart from urging continued vaccination. Organizations are obliged to manage COVID protocols for their own communities. Sask Synod advice for the fall of 2021 Synod faith leaders met on Sept 8 in consultation to discuss potential synod guidelines or advice to faith communities during the emerging Fourth Wave of the pandemic. The Bishop’s letter-Sept 2021 provides faith communities with synod advice for Continue reading →

Summer 2021-Responding to the Removal of COVID Health Directives

Provincial Health Directives related to Faith Communities– July, 2021 The provincial Health Authority announced that, with vaccination goals being met and COVID numbers declining rapidly in response, as of July 11, all COVID related Health Directives will be removed. Sask Synod advice for the summer of 2021 following the July 11 opening Synod faith leaders met on June 30 in consultation to discuss potential synod guidelines or advice to faith communities in meeting this new open situation. The Bishop’s letter-July 1,2021 provides faith communities with synod Continue reading →

Breaking News about Pandemic Response in our Faith Communities

Two pieces of news for our faith communities today. The first is simply a reminder of the changes to Health Directives for Step 1 in the provincial plan. The second piece feels almost too good to be true. First the immediate news about Step 1 in the Provincial Roadmap. As of May 30, Step 1 in the Provincial plan does bring some openings to our faith communities. Step 1 allows 30% of seating capacity or 150 people, whichever is less, at all INDOOR ceremonial gatherings. Continue reading →

Guidelines for places of Worship during the Pandemic- May 14, 2021

Provincial Health Directives related to Faith Communities– May, 2021 As of May 14, Provincial Health Directives continue to allow for faith communities to meet in worship with a limit of 30 people (not including the worship leaders) while rigorously following Health Directives.  Non-ceremonial guidelines for worship spaces also remain unchanged. Synod supports the Provincial Health Directives for Places of Worship as a non-negotiable basic standard for our faith communities. The provincial government and health authority also released on May 4, a Provincial 3-Step Roadmap to Reopening based on vaccination Continue reading →

Annual meetings during a Pandemic

Happy new year, everyone. As annual meeting time approaches our congregations, church leadership across the synod is in the process of discerning how to conduct their annual meetings in pandemic times. It is particularly difficult task given the way the ‘world’ changes around us, and the way the Health Directives change responding to that world. For some congregations, it may still be possible to meet in person following Health Directives. For others, a virtual meeting will be necessary. For others, a hybrid of face to Continue reading →

COVID-19 and Phase 3 decisions re reopening worship spaces

With the provincial government’s announcement in June 2020 of re-open Saskatchewan phase 3, the decision regarding whether to reopen worship spaces has come to our congregations. Engaging that question brings with it necessary questions of what specific preparations are required of congregations considering reopening physical worship. Synod has brought in Rev. Dr. Ali Tote–a member of our roster and an epidemiologist– to consult with the roster of ministers and the roster of congregations and to produce with Bishop Sid. These guidelines are related to the Continue reading →

After Holy week

For each of the last three weeks, I have worked with the pastoral team to connect by video conference with about 70 of our pastors/deacons in active calls and contracts. I have been so impressed with the way the roster has supported each other in dealing with this so strange world we are facing. I have also been so impressed with our roster stepping up in their faith communities to minister in this time: both our congregational pastors reinventing worship and pastoral care in the Continue reading →

A lesson from The Last Jedi

When the temperature dipped below -30 last Christmas, Kathy and I decided it would be a good day to head out to the local Theatre. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was showing. Heading out to a Star Wars movie brought back some memories. Back in the first years of our marriage a friend had convinced us to give the first of the Star Wars movies a look. Neither of us were much for science fiction, so were reluctant participants. But we found that the special Continue reading →

A story told–once again

In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. The tax was in the newspapers everywhere. The foreign overlords, the Romans, were decreeing that a new tax would be paid, on the one hand, for the roads and aqueducts that the Empire was building; and on the other to pay for the occupying soldiers who kept the country under the power of the Empire. To enact the tax, the Empire decreed that everyone was to go back Continue reading →