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Alberta Anglican church brings in proof of vaccination requirement to attend worship

The new rule for in-person attendance at services was a local church decision — not one that came down from the government

Alberta Anglican church brings in proof of vaccination requirement to attend worship
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At St. Matthias' Anglican Church, their website reads "You Are Welcome in the Worship, Mission and Fellowship of St. Matthias' Anglican Church" — however, that statement may not necessarily be entirely accurate.

An email sent out to congregants both past and present on January 7 from the desk of Reverend David Pickett, the priest at St Matthias' in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada noted that the new rule for in-person attendance at services was a local church decision, not one that came down from the government:

"There is no change to provincial rules, and the current position that the Bishop will support local decisions to offer in-person worship"

  • Beginning This Sunday January 9th, please bring your proof of vaccination to attend worship (kids excepted) Our goal is to be able to clearly reassure anyone who asks that, yes, everyone who comes to worship is vaccinated.
  • At The End of Worship, Please Wave And Go Home! Anyone want to be the heavy and interrupt conversation? So, it's the honour system, I think. We are all craving real life visits, but we just can't right now. While less deadly, Omicron is more contagious than previous variants. To be safe at worship (and out of respect for those who have no choice but to be present) we need to head home as soon as it is over. I don't believe in fate, but please don't tempt it. More accurately, don't give the virus any chance.
  • Communion in Cohorts Come up the centre aisle, distance sanitize, and let the stuff dry while you wait. Come to the rail on alternating sides as the one before you leaves. Put one hand on top of the other. Keep your mask on, then consume the host after the clergy have moved away.

Pickett's email was provided to Rebel News by a former member of St Matthias'.

The church website has also been updated to reflect the new vaccine carding requirement for worship services.

The vaccine passport requirement for participation in worship goes beyond the current COVID health restrictions on places of worship in Alberta. The current regulations, put in place September 16, 2021, dictate that capacity at places of worship is limited to one-third of fire code occupancy, mandates masks, and requires two metres physical distancing between households, or 2 close contacts for those living alone.

The Alberta government has garnered international notoriety for the treatment of pastors who do not follow COVID regulations. Pastor James Coates, of Edmonton's GraceLife Church, was jailed for 35 days, his church building was seized and his congregation was forced to hold underground services when he refused to enforce COVID rules on places of worship. Pastor Tim Stephens of Calgary's Fairview Baptist was arrested in front of his children and held for weeks for allegedly not adhering to public health restrictions. Pastor Art Pawlowski of The Cave of Adullam Church in Calgary was arrested and jailed three times for breaking public gathering rules by holding services, not permitting authorities to inspect his church during services and for attending a protest. Pawlowski was also repeatedly fined for feeding the homeless.

The bulk of the email from Pickett paid homage to the Christian feast of Ephiphany which marks both the coming of the Magi to the infant Jesus, the miracle at the wedding at Cana, and also the adult baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.

Pickett's email included a quote from Br. Lucas Hall, of the Society of St John the Evangelist, an Anglican monastic community, which describes baptism as "our birth into the church as a whole."

But now, entry to St Matthias' requires not just baptism — but divulging your private medical information to prove your cleanliness too.

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