In our Parish, regathering will be a deliberately slow and patient process. It will be tailored to our particular parishioners and their needs, as well as our belief that we need to continue to be about the Lord’s business in our community. We will, of course, comply with the Bishop’s conservative approach, which sets minimum health and government conditions that must be met before we change phases as well as standards of conduct for each phase. We’ll take no action inconsistent with it or the requirements of law.
For us to move from status quo (Red) to Orange Phase requires that the infection and death rates in Calvert County have gone down for at least two weeks in a row and have fallen substantially in Southern Maryland.
In any event, we see no need to rush.
Implementation will consider each specific activity and circumstance, including the foreseeable risks and benefits of each. Changes from the status quo will be modest and incremental. We will ensure that safeguards are in place for each increment and everyone in the Parish will have a place in what we do, whether she or he chooses to join limited in-person activities, or to participate via Zoom or another remote alternative.
This gradual process will need the help of almost all of us in one way or another. Frankly, ensuring one another’s safety and continuing ability to worship meaningfully will require a lot of work, but we’ll ask everyone to help as able, and spread the effort for the common cause.
Finally, understanding that times of difficulty are also times of opportunity we’ll stay attuned to the lessons we’re learning and what they may offer for our future, confident that our God intends only what is best for us.
How Orange Phase Will be Different Than Our Current Red Phase:
In many ways there won’t be much change. There will be some brief in-person gatherings like this: wearing of masks or scarfs will be required; there will be no group singing; no touching between people of different households; required distancing inside and outside buildings (at least 6’) will be obtained by markings on pews and walkways (households will be able to sit together); ushers will determine seating locations; gatherings will be about a half-hour in length. Offerings will be by offering plates at entrances; communion will be consecrated using gloves and masks with wafers, only, distributed and that will be done as we leave the service; there will be no food or drink during gatherings; only two designated sanitized bathrooms will be available during each gathering (and people are encouraged to plan ahead to minimize the need.); locations where people gather will have touch surfaces cleaned and sanitized before and after each gathering (as well general cleaning and sanitizing at set intervals); hand sanitizers will be at entrances and their use encouraged on entering and leaving a gathering. Only emergency baptisms and anointings will occur. Weddings and funerals will follow all the requirements above. Pastoral care will continue to be only by electronic means.
Gradual Implementation of Gatherings:
We need to ask for and receive the Bishop’s approval for each type of regathering. That won’t happen until the health conditions described above are met, and we are able to certify to the Bishop that the necessary supplies are ready and training accomplished. All in-person worship gatherings will also be available electronically. People will be asked to email the Parish if they intend to attend an in-person gathering.)
This is the order we will follow for gradual, sequential in-person regathering events. (Specific dates for beginning each will be announced at least a week ahead, as they are known. (All current activities on Zoom will continue on Zoom.)
- Small, outside gatherings for Spudnik youth and leaders
- In-Person Morning Prayer (without Communion) at 08:30 (Zoom Communion Service continues at 10:00 AM; electronic participation available for both)
- In-Person Morning Prayer and In-Person Communion Service (Electronic participation available for both.)
- Small group gatherings in church facilities by special arrangement, including group covenants and group responsibility for sanitization going in and coming out.
>>>>> *“Yellow” is the next phase; it will be planned in detail after having experience with Orange Phase, and will not occur until vaccines and or reliable tests are widely available, known infections and deaths have fallen to near zero in Maryland, and testing and tracking are widespread. In Yellow, masks will be optional (but permissible) and no social distancing will be required; singing and social hours with commercially prepared food will be allowed.
The full Regathering Plan can be seen on the All Saints' website using this link: