SUDBURY -- Anglican churches across Ontario will remain closed for in-person worship services until at least September, the church announced Monday, saying it was "observing a sacred summer rest over the summer months while the pandemic continues."

The decision was made by the provincial house of Anglican bishops.

 “The well-being and safety of all our parishioners and the communities we serve is uppermost in our hearts and minds,” Archbishop Anne Germond, metropolitan of Ontario and archbishop of Algoma and Moosonee," says in a letter announcing the decision.

“A time of sabbath rest invites our clergy and lay leaders, as well as the whole church, to take time apart from our usual patterns in order to bring renewed energy and knowledge and skill to the practice of ministry.”

The letter said regardless of what Ontario's reopening plan, Anglican churches will not be opening for the next three months, a decision made in consultation with public health experts and other diocesan officials.

Online worship services, food security and other essential outreach and community ministries taking place in church buildings will continue, as they have been in recent months, the news release said.

The ecclesiastical province of Ontario is part of the Anglican Church of Canada and includes seven Anglican dioceses (Toronto, Niagara, Ontario, Ottawa, Huron, Algoma, and Moosonee) covering most of the geographical province of Ontario as well as parts of Quebec.