June 4, 2020

My dear parish family,
 
As we resume limited worship this Sunday, June 7, we will continue to stream our 10:00 service on Facebook for those who prefer to worship at home.  If you are uncomfortable being in or near a crowd during this pandemic, or if you have an underlying health condition which places you at high risk under the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control, we invite you to continue to worship with us virtually on Facebook.
 
For the protection of all, if you do not feel well, have symptoms of Covid-19, or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 in the past 14 days, you must not attend in person. For an updated list of symptoms and high-risk conditions, visit CDC.gov.
 
Our utmost concern is the protection of the health and lives of our clergy, choir, and parishioners, so the form of worship will be Morning Prayer, said at 8:00 and sung at 10:00. You can read Father Reho's excellent comments on the liturgy here.
 
No congregational hymns will be included. We will not resume celebration of the Holy Eucharist until it is safe to distribute Communion. In accordance with the direction of our Bishop and the Vestry Reopening Committee, attendance at each service will be limited to a maximum of 100. This will allow safe distancing between families.
 
If you decide to worship in person, you will find an experience that will be quite different from our services in the past. This is what you can expect:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before coming to St. John's.
  • Enter the church through the Orleans Avenue entrances only. The parish hall and Brickman Hall will be closed.
  • Face coverings should be worn by all who attend. A mask will not protect you from the virus, but it does reduce the ability to transmit it to someone else. Remember, you may not have any symptoms of the virus, but that does not mean you do not have it.
  • Ushers will direct you to a seat. Please comply with their instructions so we can maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between family groups.
  • The entire service will be printed in the bulletin. The prayer books and hymnals have been removed from the sanctuary, and there is no need for you to bring your own.
  • The offering plates will not be passed. They will be available at the doors to the church. As always, we depend upon and are grateful for your generosity.
  • Remain seated after the service until the ushers instruct you on the route of exit.
  • Sunday School for children will continue to be offered virtually, and the nursery will not be available.
  • Hand sanitizer is available in dispensers by the doors.
  • Our sexton will sanitize the sanctuary between the services.
  • No refreshments will be available after the services. If you choose to gather outside, please maintain social distancing for your protection and the protection of others. 
I begin all my letters to you with "My dear parish family." That is because you really are dear to me. Whether you are here in person or worshiping with us on Facebook, we will be worshiping together as a parish family and the Body of Christ. I look forward to the day when we can worship together, in person, without fear, under more normal circumstances. So that we might be able to do so when that day comes, take care of yourselves and each other today. God's loving presence is always with us in St. John's whether we are together physically or not. God bless you.
 
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Charles E. Connelly
Rector