I write to you as coronavirus continues to spread and concern in this country grows. Our church, and all Christians have a responsibility to care for one another, to not stoke fear but to respond reasonably and with regard for the safety of all, and to spread knowledge rather than rumors. Along those lines, here are some guidelines regarding worship at St. Columba's.
- If you feel ill, stay home. I promise God will still love you!
- If you are experiencing fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, call your doctor right away.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough; if a tissue isn't handy, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
- Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing. Proper hand washing means using soap and water, and rubbing your hands for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday to you twice).
- At the passing of the peace, it is fine to wave, give the peace sign or simply speak without shaking hands. Peace does not need skin to skin contact to be transmitted.
- For now, we will continue to use the common cup (one chalice) for Communion; there is no evidence that sharing the cup has transmitted diseases in the past. However, if you are not comfortable sharing the cup, and certainly if you do not feel well, it is fine to just take the bread.
- Because our hands tend to have more bacteria and viruses on them than our mouths, "dipping" the bread is actually more likely to spread disease than drinking from the cup. I ask that you not "dip" for now, or, if you do, please make sure you use hand sanitizer immediately before taking Communion.
- Other eucharistic ministers and I use hand sanitizer before handling the bread and wine and will continue to do so.
- Sanitizer will be available throughout the church for your use, as will tissues.
These recommendations were culled from several sources, including
where additional information may be found.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask me or Amy.
I close with this prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book.
God of the present moment, God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart, bring hope and courage to all who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness; you are God, and we need you.