Severe Weather Emergencies – Sunday Service Policy

In any threatening weather situation it should be clear that no one – staff, choir members, R.E teachers, ushers, other service participants, attendees, or anyone else – should ever feel pressure to come to services if their travel conditions seem unsafe.

This policy suggests two actions for storm situations: 1) reminding the congregation of weather hazards and 2) assessing a course of action when storms occur.

  1. Reminding the congregation – Mid to late November
    • A short reminder shall be placed in the Unitarian each November to the effect of: “As winter approaches there maybe foul weather around service times.  If a service is to be cancelled a message of the cancellation will be placed on the Church phone system, website, Facebook page, etc. However in any weather condition which concerns you or your family, it should be clear that no one should ever feel pressure to come to services if their travel conditions seem unsafe.”
  2. Assessing the Storm
    • Since a hurricane can be just as treacherous as heavy snowfall each weather event must be treated on its own merits, hence: Senior staff should watch weather forecasts projected for the day of the service and assess if they feel comfortable travelling through the forecasted weather.
    • Without pressuring, senior staff should check in with those they are coordinating for the service on the same question – do they feel comfortable travelling through the forecasted weather?
    • On the day prior to the service, senior staff should check-in with the Senior Minister/lead organizer for the service, or Board President as appropriate, with their likely status for the service.  If a full or reduced service appears likely, it should proceed.  If cancellation is appropriate the Senior Minister/lead organizer should inform the Board President.

The Senior Minister or service leader should determine with the President which of the following will occur: 1. All Worship services and programs will be cancelled (specifying morning, morning and afternoon or all programs for the day); 2. Worship services will go ahead but all ancillary programs (CRE, Choir, Adult RE, etc.) are cancelled, again determining whether this applies for the morning, morning and afternoon or all day. Any such decision will apply to rentals as well as to FCB programs.  Those responsible for Rental events should check the Church phone, website or Facebook page for updates on closures.  Renters will be responsible for notifying their event participants of closures.

In the event of a Worship service cancellation, a church’s main phone message should be changed to alert inquirers to the cancellation and notices should be placed on the Church website, Facebook page and any other social media.  If possible an alert email might also be sent to the all-church email list.

Any FCB programs which are held at times other than during Worship services may be cancelled by the leader(s) of those programs.  On Sundays this may happen whether Worship services take place or not.  

Approved by Parish Board December 2016