President’s Message for September/October 2020
HELLO, Good friends ...
... and supporters of the Danish church in Toronto. We are learning to cope with COVID, which still has a major impact on our lives, and my hope is that you and your families and friends are all healthy and safe. Although it seems we are slowly winning the battle, it is too early to celebrate. We have to continue to follow the public health rules, and the more we all do our part, the sooner we can return to some form of normalcy.
By the time you read this, it will have been almost six months – half a year – since we last met for a service and coffee at the church. Although we are very lucky and grateful that Simon and Brigitte and the production team were able to keep us going with their weekly service videos, I know most of us would like to get back as close to normal as we can under these conditions.
The church board met recently to review the possibility of re-opening. With proper care, cleaning, safety equipment and respect for the COVID rules, we felt a carefully staged service complete with coffee afterwards could be managed. We have listed procedures that need to be followed to allow this "re-opening" to happen for our participants' safety, many of whom are in the higher risk group.
The first open service will be held on Sunday, Sept 13. We are anxious to try this and hope that all goes well. Please make sure you follow all the steps involved to participate, especially to pre-register. We will repeat this for two more Sundays, Sept 20 and 27. However, if at any time during these three "test" dates, we have any issues that we cannot deal with, we will have no choice but to close down again until it is safe for all to re-open.
The board has also notified the various activity groups that use our church that they are welcome to try some sort of re-opening – BUT – they must all respect and follow the same COVID rules for everyone's safety. Because of social distancing and limited acceptable activities, this does prove very difficult for most of the groups. They may choose to wait a bit longer until conditions improve in their favour. Check out the calendar and website on a regular basis for any changes or updates as this is now a very fluid time for these events.
Events in the fall
Even though rules are slowly improving for group assemblies, etc., it will still be very difficult, if not impossible, to plan for some of our usual fall events. We still have to have our annual general meeting (AGM) at some point, and it is hoped that confidence and processes will have improved enough to have the AGM on Sunday, Nov 8. That will still have to be confirmed at a later date.
At this time, we cannot see the possibility of having a Thanksgiving Dinner. We will be grateful to have a Thanksgiving service on Sunday Oct. 11, but the annual dinner is cancelled. Also, with the Fall Bazaar looming in the distance, again, we will not be able to have 400 – 500 people milling about the church that day. Instead, for Sat Nov 21, we are planning to continue with the on-line import order system that has previously worked very well. And we are also planning to add a pre-ordering, on-line system for our famous smørrebrød sandwiches which can only be picked up that day. More information will follow.
These events are meant to help with ongoing fundraising for the church, which has obviously been greatly affected by COVID. Many of you have sent donations via mail or e-transfer or as part of the last lottery draw. All those efforts and contributions have helped to keep us going and are gratefully appreciated. With that in mind, enclosed with this newsletter is the 2021 membership renewal form. We ask that you sign up again as members for a $15 per person levy (which is tax-deductible) and perhaps add a bit more as a donation to help our cause. Remember that we are an independent self-funded church, with no financial support from Denmark.
Stay safe!! Have a wonderful early fall, and remember – we are here to serve you.