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Reopening Task Force Looking Back And Aiming For Amber Stage

Reopening Task Force Looking back and aiming for amber stage

Last updated on January 14th, 2021

Update: As of Sunday November 15, 2020 our church services are again online on our YouTube channel. This is in accordance with the recommendation from public health and our Bishop’s office. The Church Council will re-evaluate as more information becomes available. 

We celebrate the season of Advent beginning on Sunday November 29, 2020. Our Advent wreath will be lit above the sanctuary as usual.

November 29, 2020 – 1st Sunday of Advent: 11:00 am English-German Online Service marking Martin Luther Church’s 65th Anniversary (November 27, 1955). The worship service will include a special anniversary message. We also wish Godspeed to the volunteers who left their positions over the last months.

We would like to thank our tech team — Alex, Andy, Augustine, Ida, Peter and Sonja— for their work in recording the respective church service every Sunday and making it available online.

Occasionally, however, there is a breakdown – like for the the 65th anniversary of the Martin Luther Church – when the live streaming did not work.

We were, however, able to share video messages to mark the 65th anniversary of Martin Luther Church by Vicar Silke Fahl and Church Council President Iris Schweiger, as well as the Brittain couple. We also shared a discharge and thanks to four volunteers who left their roles. Thank you, Patricia, Jocelyn, Solveig and Tanya! We added Vicar Silke Fahl’s sermon for 1st Sunday of Advent, all now on our YouTube channel. In total four separate videos.

We ask for your understanding again and thank the tech team for their effort. We hope that the technical problems will be resolved by the 2nd Advent on Sunday, so that the service can be broadcast live from 11.00 a.m.

2020 Advent Wreath Hanging in Altar roomDecember 6, 2020 – 2nd Sunday of Advent: 11:00 am English Online Service led by Vicar Adam McComb.

December 13, 2020 – 3rd Sunday of Advent: 11:00 am English-German Online Service led by Vicar Silke Fahl.

December 20, 2020 – 4th Sunday of Advent: 11:00 am German Online Service, final service led by Vicar Silke Fahl
7:00 pm English Candlelight Service outdoors with Farewell for Vicar Silke Fahl (by invitation only)

December 24, 2020 – Christmas Eve:
4:30 pm German Online Service
6:00 pm English Online Service

December 25, 2020- Christmas Day: 11:00 am English-German Online Service

Zoom Sunday coffee hourPlease join us for conversation following each worship service at our virtual coffee hour on Zoom, Sundays at around 11:30 am. Spend time talking together among friends of Martin Luther Church Toronto. All you need in order to connect is a cellphone or a tablet/laptop/computer/ipad.

You can register for our Zoom online meetings on Eventbrite at Once you register, you will be emailed a Zoom link. You can also get the Zoom links by emailing our church office and requesting to be put on our weekly email distribution mail list

Our Zoom Sunday Coffee hour was actually started on April 19, 2020 but temporarily closed in the Summer/Fall. We are glad to offer it again!

Martin Luther Church values the safety of our virtual meeting participants. Your sound and video will be off upon entry. Please keep your sound muted until invited by the host to participate. Check the chat area for meeting instructions and for help with technical difficulties.

October 29, 2020 Council Update: We will continue with a modified schedule of one worship service in-person and online at 11:00 am on Sundays unless regulations change and as long as we have the volunteers and resources. We are grateful for the work of the MLC reopening task force (Ariane, Andrea, Andrew, Tanya, Marlena, Vicar Silke) and release them from their role.

We now turn our focus to making worship meaningful in spite of the continuing pandemic. Please continue to share your feedback. How, when and where do you worship and pray as part of Martin Luther Church?

November 8, 2020 – 23 Sunday after Pentecost: 11:00 am English service

November 15, 2020 – 24th Sunday after Pentecost: 11:00 am English-German service with Godspeed for Volunteers

November 22, 2020 – Christ the King Sunday: 11:00 am German Service

In conjunction with our Vicars, Pastor Gerhard Hille (from Germany), Marlena and our partner churches and organizations, we have started to come up with preliminary ideas on how to make the Advent and Christmas season festive and special during this pandemic.

Reopening Team standing on front stairs Sep 2020September 25, 2020  Church Council Update: We are pleased to announce that our Martin Luther Church is reopening for worship. In order to keep all worshippers and volunteers safe, we are opening with a reduced schedule, limited number of people, as well as a modified worship space and liturgy. We are currently only offering one service at 11:00 am on Sundays. The prayers and responses will be projected on a screen. You may also print out the worship guide at home and bring it with you, or follow along on your smartphone. You may also watch online on our YouTube channel (

As we reopen our doors, we are reminded that worship is at the heart of what we do. We are also blessed that Martin Luther Church Toronto goes beyond our walls. If you are able to visit the church, we appreciate your openness to learn and adjust to the changes in our worship space and process. If you are continuing to worship and pray from home, please know that you are part of a fully functioning church.

The following information will help prepare you for the resumption of in-person worship.

“Returning to church” Flyer (pictured/PDF)

Registering for In-Person Worship during COVID-19
Since worship attendance is limited, please register to attend in-person by using Eventbrite online or contacting the church office by 5:00 pm on the Thursday prior to Sunday’s service. Eventbrite registration: 

Volunteering at In-Person Worship
Can you help with the extra steps Martin Luther Church is taking to make worship safe during COVID-19? Greet and screen worshippers to make sure they can safely enter, usher worshippers to their seats, help with the video so people can watch from home, monitor washrooms or prepare Sunday School lessons online…
Please contact the office with your availability to volunteer at our in-person worship services!

COVID Waiver (complete once for yourself/family) [PDF]
Please fill out, scan and send to the church office or bring it with you to your first worship service.

Toronto Public Health COVID-19 screening questions [PDF]
Please review these before every visit to church and confirm with church volunteers that you are clear to enter.

Since social gatherings and food services are still suspended, as advised by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, we will continue virtual meetings. Please note Zoom coffee time will no longer be offered on Sundays and will instead merge with our existing Coffee Talk on Mondays, 7:00-9:00 pm. This will allow everyone to come together after participating in our Sunday worship either in-person or online, live or recorded.

Here are the scheduled services. All scheduled times are subject to change.

September 13, 2020 – 15th Sunday after Pentecost: 11:00 am English service
(14 people- 3 worshippers, 8 volunteers, 3 staff)

September 20, 2020 – 16th Sunday after Pentecost: 11:00 am German service
(21 people- 11 worshippers, 8 volunteers, 2 staff) 

September 27, 2020 – 17th Sunday after Pentecost: 11:00 am English-German service with Holy Baptism

October 4, 2020 – German Thanksgiving: 11:00 am German service

October 11, 2020 – Canadian Thanksgiving: 11:00 am English service

October 18, 2020 – 20th Sunday after Pentecost: 11:00 am English-German service with Confirmation

October 25, 2020 – Reformation Sunday: 11:00 am German Service

November 1, 2020 – All Saints Sunday: 11:00 am English-German Service to remember people who have passed away

You will receive more information about future dates after we evaluate how our mandatory policies and procedures work during our first services.

Martin Luther Church Reopening Taskforce: Ariane, Silke, Andrea, Tanya, Andrew & Marlena

Excerpts from Eastern Synod Bishop, Rev. Dr. Michael Pryse’s Message (August 21, 2020): Entering the Amber Stage

I am grateful that our congregations have followed my recommendation to refrain from in-person worship experience until September 2020 at the earliest and delighted that our congregations are now in a position to consider moving from the red stage to the amber stage of the Eastern Synod’s Staged Approach for the Resumption of In-Person Worship.

I feel confident that in-person worship can now take place within synodical congregations in accordance with regional and local public health recommendations and with due consideration of the resources that have been provided by my office to help you assess your readiness to resume in-person worship…

The [Eastern Synod Task Force on the Resumption of In-Person Worship] anticipates that synodical congregations will remain in the “amber” phase of the re-opening process for an indefinite period of time and will continue to be available to me and the synod’s leadership for consultation and guidance should circumstance lead us to consider altering our recommendations concerning in-person worship in the future.

Peace be with you!

Bishop Michael Pryse also shares words of encouragement in a video as many congregations prepare for a fall resumption of in-person worship. The life and work of Christ’s church didn’t stop during this time of pandemic.

July 20, 2020 Update: Looking back and aiming for Amber Stage

Under normal circumstances, Martin Luther Church offers in-person worship on Sundays and occasionally midweek in English and German. Worship is led by the Pastor, Vicars or lay preachers. It is supported by Linda on the organ/piano, church council, Altar Guild, as well as Confirmands, youth and other volunteers (e.g. readers, choir singers). In 2019, the average worship attendance was 30 in English services, 51 in German services and 66 in English-German services. We also offer German radio devotions live on AM 530 and on our website which allows us to reach a wide audience.

With the closure of our church to the public in March 2020 due to COVID-19, Martin Luther Church has been using various means of communication to continue our mission to serve and inspire people. Initial information about our closure from our church president went out in English and German by mail and phone to all members and adherents. The office sends regular email updates to approx. 300 people. These updates are also on our website thanks to our web and translation teams. Our existing Visiting Ministry Team and our new Corona Care Call team adds an ongoing personal touch, especially for people who are unable to access our online services.

We offer a Sunday video devotion on our website via Youtube and Facebook. This allows people to watch remotely at the same time or at a time of their choosing. Video devotions are recorded in English with the help of congregation members. There is a bilingual service once a month. We occasionally also record a German sermon, in addition to the German radio devotion. The Martin Luther Church YouTube channel had 79 subscribers as of July 20. Pastor Ceconi’s final sermon on March 22 has almost 500 views, our Easter service over 200 views and Pentecost 135 views. This is equal to, if not more, than in-person worship attendance.

We have made our devotions accessible to people with hearing impairments by providing a written transcript of both the video and radio devotions. These are mailed every two weeks to church members who don’t have Internet (approx. 80 people). In this way we offer many ways to worship during COVID. We also continue to use different technology like Zoom meetings and live-streaming to enhance spiritual life and fellowship during this time of isolation. Even when we reopen, we will not do things exactly the way we used to and some of this is for the better.

Why hasn’t Martin Luther Church reopened for in-person worship?

It is the strong counsel of the Bishop that all Eastern Synod congregations remain in the RED STAGE until September 2020.

The Eastern Synod has said it is the responsibility of each congregation to consult, and adhere to the directives of their provincial governments and local public health authorities. Our Church Council has been meeting regularly to make informed decisions based on the Eastern Synod, provincial and municipal government guidelines. We now have our own reopening task force made up of volunteers to help review requirements and make recommendations for practices and protocols in our own context.

The Eastern Synod’s Task Force on the Resumption of In-Person Worship is providing two documents to help congregational leaders begin the process of preparing their buildings for a potential re-opening in Fall 2020. More information is available here:

The first resource, “Staged Approach & Preliminary Considerations”, is available now. We are aiming for the Eastern Synod’s AMBER STAGE.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together to keep you informed, inspired and safe. Contact the church office if you’d like to help our reopening taskforce. We are also in need of volunteers at reopening.

MLC Re-opening Task Force: Ariane, Andrea, Tanya, Vicar Silke, Marlena and Andrew

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