Hi all - very excited that we will be re-opening this coming Sunday, October 4.  We will have an 8 a.m. service and a 10:30 service.  Church is going to look very different from what we have been used to.  Let’s hope this is only for a relatively short-term.  Some important things to note, however:  (please keep in mind these requirements are issued by the government, and the diocese, and our agreeing to comply with the guidelines is how we were able to get permission to re-open).

 

-you must call or email the office to reserve a place at whichever service you plan to attend.  Each service is capped at 50 people.

-masks must be worn at all times

-communion will be in one kind only - just the bread.  This is still full and sufficient communion, and the Church throughout the world - both East and West - have agreed on this point for centuries.  Instead of people coming up to the front for communion, I will bring communion down to you in your seat.  

-upon entering the doors, you will see 4 different tables;

-the first table is for hand sanitizer.

-the second is for signing in (this is for public health tracking and tracing if there were ever a problem)

-the third is for a collection plate, as we are not allowed to pass a plate for now

-the fourth is where you will get your bulletin.  We ask that at the end of church you please take the weekly bulletin with you, along with anything else you may have brought

-on the floor are markings indicating 2 meter social distancing.  Please observe social distancing

-once you enter and have your bulletin, please go directly to your seat.  Sadly, we have to ask that people not stand in the aisles or doorways visiting with one another, but rather that conversations can be had outside.

-All books, cushions, soft furnishings of any kind, have been removed from the church, as required.

-there are directional arrows on the floor indicating the direction in which foot traffic may move.

-there are tape markings in the pews indicating 2 meter distances.  Families can of course sit together, but the markings will be helpful for us to maintain social distance from others in the pew to whom we are not family-related.  

-there will be no Sunday school or nursery services available at this time, and those areas of our facility are out of bounds.  This is due to disinfection requirements of these areas.  Children will need to stay with their families during church services, and we will provide ‘busy-packs’ with some art supplies.  We ask that you take these with you - even the crayons - at the end of church.  

-washrooms are available, but can only accommodate one person at a time.  Sanitizer will be available, and each of us will be personally responsible for wiping off handles, taps, or fixtures which you may need to touch.  The bathroom doors, unfortunately, will have to remain open at this time, to minimize the number of surfaces any of us need to touch.

-Church might be a bit chilly on occasion, as we are required to keep windows open, and the doors will be open before and after church to eliminate the need to touch door handles.

-There has to be a full disinfection of the building and worship space between services.  This requires that immediately after church, we exit the building, except for those people who are either part of a cleaning crew, or altar guild - people with assigned, required tasks.  We will need to put together some small teams of volunteers to assist with wiping handles and surfaces down with disinfectant between services.

-We can no longer exchange the peace in the normal way.  There is, however, no reason why we cant share some gesture - a smile, a wave - with those around us at this point in the service.

-though not an issue normally at the 8 a.m. service anyway, there will be no congregational singing allowed.  Music will be provided at the 10:30 service by a single musician.

-the service itself will been an adapted form, as we are required to do our absolute best to keep services under an hour.  This is due to the relationship between the length of time one is exposed to Covid, (if it is ever present) and the infection probability.   The less time, apparently, the less likely.  

-we will continue our weekly recorded services, and we are also hoping to be able to live-steam, though we are still wrestling with some of the technological challenges of that.  

 

I know how difficult, and how different this will be for us all.  Let us hope these adaptations are only short-term.  If we can all remain highly vigilant in our caution, then we will hopefully minimize any risk-level.  As I emphasized in my last email, please do not feel obligated to return at this time if deep inside you are not actually, honestly, comfortable with the idea.  Do you really think God would be upset with any of us for being cautious in the face of this pandemic?  Do any of us really think Jesus would be displeased because we are afraid?   The amazing thing, well, one of the amazing things I find in Jesus, is that his compassion, empathy, and understanding are without any limits at all.  Your brother in Christ, Brad