January 22, 2020
It has been nearly a year since our schedules, patterns, and expectations were rattled by COVID-19. While we may be tiring of its presence in our lives, it does not and will not tire of being around.
In late December, we announced that we would hold off on in-person worship for the first two weeks of January as a means of setting an example for our community of reduced gatherings, thus reducing the chances of spreading the virus. As we needed a little more time to finish making some other plans, we added two more weeks to our schedule.
I am pleased to announce that we will resume in-person worship on Sunday, January 31, using the same schedule that we have used since Memorial Day weekend: 8:00am, 10:00 am, & 4:00pm. There are a few adjustments, however.
The 10:00am service will continue to be in the outdoor chapel, while the 8:00am and 4:00pm services will be held in the Harrison Center. Pews are in the process of being delivered to the Nave, but the ones currently in that space are not secured to the floor. When they are all in place, we will move indoor services back to the Nave. The 10:00am service will continue to be livestreamed through our YouTube channel.
Childcare will be available during the 8:00 and 10:00 services. Gospel & Prayers for Children will also happen during the 10:00.
Indoor seating limitations will be in place following guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services. Masks are still required for anyone over the age of 2, and advance registration is required. Masks will be available at the entrances for those who do not arrive with their own. We feel more confident in offering indoor options since the installation of new air purification systems in December. (Read more here.)
The links for SignUpGenius will be on the front of our website and are listed below.
Those without access to the internet or comfort with SignUpGenius can contact Ellie Roberts, Director of Church Life, to sign up. She can be reached at 252.633.2109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am grateful to our Vestry for their feedback and input on these plans, as well as others who offered their voice and wisdom along the way. As we have done with all of our in-person worship opportunities since the end of May, we have been slow, deliberate, and discerning as we move forward. Our guiding principles remain:
- “Am I my brother’s (or sister’s) keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)
- The two great commandments to love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40)
- What would love do? A question posed by Bishop Curry to the whole church
Those with compromised health, particularly immuno-related concerns, should carefully consider the risks and benefits of being in public gatherings, both indoor and outdoor. While we will always be excited to see you, we also want you and everyone else to make healthy choices. If you are not feeling well on the day of a liturgy, or you have come in contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19, please stay home. For those who choose or need to stay home, our 10:00am service will be shown online.
We also recognize that not everyone will be comfortable re-engaging at this time, and we support you and your decision. That is one of the big reasons we will continue to livestream services.
Printed bulletins will be provided and will continue to be emailed Sunday morning and available on the Christ Church Website for printing at home or for downloading to a personal electronic device. Worshippers are encouraged to bring their own Book of Common Prayer and Bible or a phone/tablet to follow along.
Readers assigned will not vest, but will come forward to read at the appropriate point in the liturgy. Masks or face coverings should stay on while reading.
In the event of inclement weather, the outdoor services will not be held. Any readers assigned for the 10:00 service may convene in the Nave with the clergy and music leaders to livestream the service.
The offering will be collected in secure boxes near the entrances. Boxes will be available near the end of each service.
The bottom line is that we want our space and our community to be as safe as possible to as many people as possible. We continue to do everything in our power to make that happen.
Questions? Comments? Please feel free to reach out to me.
God continues to show us new ways of being the Church in the world. And for that we give God thanks and praise.
The Rev. Paul Canady
The Rt. Rev. Rob Skirving, Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, has issued guidelines for parishes. While there is some latitude and freedom for local decisions, there are areas that are non-negotiable. Those areas include:
- All worship leaders (both clergy and lay) must wear a mask or face covering during worship.
- Congregational singing is not allowed at this time. A soloist may be part of public worship.
- Modifications must be made to prevent unnecessary physical contact.
- Coffee hour or other forms for receptions before or after worship are not allowed at this time.
Guidance for Worshippers
- The evening before the worship service, each member of the household planning to attend in-person worship should check their temperature (should be less than 100° F) and determine whether anyone has a dry cough or has lost their sense of smell.
- If anyone has any of these symptoms, has been exposed to someone with coronavirus or has tested positive for coronavirus, the household members should remain at home and worship online.
- Persons who are at higher risk for coronavirus (children, persons age 65 or older, those who are asthmatic, diabetic or have a compromised immune system) should assess the degree of risk that is acceptable for them and their household.
- Please wash your hands before you leave home.
- Please bring a clean face mask for each member of the household except for children less than 2 years old. Wear the face mask throughout the service and when you are near others.
- Please bring hand sanitizer and apply it before entering the worship space.
- Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other persons at all times.
- Please do not shake hands or otherwise touch people who are not members of your household, including during the Peace.
- There will be no congregational singing until health experts advise otherwise.
- Please follow the church’s protocols for entering and exiting the building if you need to use the restroom.
- Please go straight to your seats at the beginning of the service and depart the worship space promptly after the service.
- Please place your bulletin in the place designated by the church at the end of the service or take it home with you to recycle.
(Many thanks to the Diocese of West Tennessee for this list. https://episwtn.org/faith-community-guidelines-for-resumption-of-in-person-worship/)