Adapting the work of the church during COVID-19

Pastoral Relationships and Employment

Temporary Amendment to Pastoral Relations Policies

On April 24, 2021, the Sub-Executive of the General Council further extended the temporarily amended pastoral relations policies in The Manual to allow the governing body, rather than a congregational meeting, to make certain pastoral relations decisions to June 30, 2022. The governing body is usually small enough to meet by telephone conference call or videoconference to fulfill the responsibilities of the communities of faith for making pastoral decisions.

The temporary amendment has been made to facilitate the work of the church when urgent decisions related to the following must be made:

  • Acting on the Search Committee’s recommendation to call or appoint a member of the Order of Ministry
  • Requesting appointment of a designated lay minister
  • Approving new terms of a call or appointment
  • Temporarily amending the terms of a call or appointment because of the pandemic
  • Ending a pastoral relationship

All such decisions must be made in consultation with and the concurrence of the appropriate regional council body.

Please read the full details in Letter re Temporary AmendmentGS 104, and PR Temporary Amendment Resource, below. 

Payroll, Illness, and Other Staffing Issues

Before any decision is made about the continued employment of staff, please consult your regional council office and consider the options available to communities of faith.

Congregational Meetings

With current restrictions on gatherings of people, congregations may need to postpone meetings or hold them through electronic means. Advance notice to the congregation and other requirements still hold but may be adapted. See Governance in Congregations during COVID-19 (Jan. 2022) for more ideas on how to adapt to the current situation if business can’t be postponed. 

Communion Online

Online communion is permissible in The United Church of Canada. See more information at Tools for Worship during COVID-19.


The Moderator has asked that funerals be delayed and that communities of faith and ministry personnel think very carefully about the risk inherent in even a committal service with a small group present.


Attachment Size Type
Letter re Temporary Amendment 116.15 KB PDF
GS 111 Extension of Temporary Amendment re Pastoral Relations 205.08 KB PDF
Governance in Congregations during COVID-19 (Jan 2022) 159.23 KB PDF
PR Temporary Amendment Resource 157.74 KB PDF