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Guelph Muslim Society cancels prayer services, churches modifying services (UPDATED)

Churches are taking extra precautions and changing the way they conduct service to reflect coronavirus concerns
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A man stands with hands open during Friday prayer at the Muslim Society of Guelph last year. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday file photo

Update: Dublin Street United Church has cancelled services for the next two weekends.

Given the current health climate and the recent closure of all Ontario schools for three weeks, it has been decided to cancel worship services for the next two weeks, Sunday, March 15 and March 22, and all internal group activities including choir rehearsals, committee meetings and PIE Day at Dublin Street United Church.

Lakeside Church says this Sunday's service will be livestreamed only.


The Muslim Society of Guelph has cancelled Friday prayer services at its Water Street location until further notice in light of caronavirus concerns.

“There will be no Friday congregations at our centre until further notice,” the society posted on Thursday.

They are following direction from the Muslim Medical Association of Canada and the Canadian Council of Imams, who issued a statement Friday calling for all mosques to suspend Friday prayer.

“We strongly recommend ALL Masjids (mosques) to suspend the weekly Friday Jummah prayer effective immediately, including Friday March 13 2020 onwards until further notice,” said the bulletin sent to all mosques.

The two organizations and other stakeholders will be forming a task force to provide guidance going forward and a fact sheet is being distributed to the Muslim community.

Other large churches in Guelph say they will be going ahead with their regularly scheduled services this weekend.

The Anglican Diocese of Niagara, which includes Guelph, issued some enhanced safety precautions to be taken on Wednesday. The include the suspension of sharing the common cup at celebrations of the eucharist until further notice.

Other measures include providing hand sanitizer throughout the church, exchange of the peace without physical contact (a smile, brief word or slight bow is recommended instead of a handshake) and setting up a location for people to drop contributions to the collection plate rather than passing it around.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, which includes Guelph, says that communion will only be done by the hand and no chalice will be offered to parishioners. Holy water fonts and stoops at the doors of the diocese's churches will also be emptied.

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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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