Is your church looking for ongoing guidance (whether in restricting or re-opening phases)?
Our staff is currently working remotely to serve our ministries and leaders. We want to encourage you in these challenging times that you are doing valuable work in your neighbourhoods. This page will help provide support and information as we journey through this together. Please reach out to us with any questions or requests!
We have a new page for Church Resources During COVID-19 to help you as you minister in these challenging times.
Update Regarding Baptisms for New Brunswick CBAC Churches – March 12, 2021
The following is a statement from the NB government in response to questions around baptisms
Under the Mandatory Order, a church is required to take all reasonable steps to minimize risks related to COVID-19 and follow the directives and guideline of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and WorkSafeNB.
This includes the establishment of a COVID-19 Operational Plan that addresses, but is not limited to, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, hand and respiratory hygiene, and pre-screening for symptoms. It is the responsibility of a church to ensure they have a plan in place that outlines how they will manage the safe operation of their facilities. Where anyone admits patrons at which seating is offered for purposes of eating, drinking, socialization, celebration, ceremony or entertainment, or if anyone hosts, organizes or permits gatherings, they are required to maintain a record of the names and contact information of all persons who attend, and must make those records available to Public Health Inspectors. A ‘gathering’ implies common intent or purpose associated with socializing, celebration, ceremony or entertainment. This would include churches and baptisms.
The following additional advice has been provided by Public Health:
- Rituals requiring physical contact between people should be changed to maintain physical distancing; if this is not possible, increase hand hygiene and wear a non-medical mask;
- In-person baptism can occur provided that public health measures (physical barriers, wearing of a community mask, hand washing, cleaning and disinfection, etc.) are in place, including physical distancing (2 meters) between each individual or each family bubble;
- Where possible, outdoor religious services could be considered to lower the risk, but physical distancing and all other public health measures outlined in the operational plan should continue to be in place. The lowest risk continues to be through virtual services;
- The baptism of one person at a time by full immersion in a tank of water is acceptable if the pastor and all people attending the ceremony can maintain the physical distancing of 2 metres during the service, unless they are persons with whom they reside, caregivers for any member of their household, and any one parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild who requires their support, and any one other person per household who requires the support of someone in the household. If this is not possible, community masks must be used;
- For baptisms, the Minister must wear a mask and the person being baptized can remove their mask when they enter the tank. For the short period of time during the full immersion it is permissible for the person being baptized to remove their mask;
- Appropriate hand washing with soap and water must be performed afterwards;
- For baptism by submersion [immersion], if tap water/untreated water is used, the tank must be drained and cleaned between the baptism of each individual. In order to use the same tank of water for multiple baptisms/individuals, the water must be maintained at chemical levels deemed acceptable for swimming pools; meaning disinfection either by chlorine or bromine, and maintained appropriately (0.5ppm-3ppm for chlorine, 3ppm-5ppm for bromine). Cleaning and disinfection guidelines for COVID-19 can be found here.
- If the entities in question cannot meet these requirements, then they are not permitted to operate.
Remember to visit gnb.ca/coronavirus regularly for the most up-to-date and accurate information on COVID-19.
Update Regarding Masks for New Brunswick CBAC Churches
We have received several inquiries regarding the New Brunswick government’s mandatory mask order. We have been in contact with the NB Department of Health and clarified that masks are to be worn at all times in the service, unless you are medically exempt, or unless you are actively preaching or leading from the platform in some way (reading, singing, etc) (see this FAQ document). All other guidelines apply for those on the platform. After performing those duties, you must put your mask back on immediately.