As we begin Phase 2 of the Governor’s plan to reopen the state, and consider our Bishop’s protocols in their “Living with Covid-19” document, we are seeing a wide range of responses from various denominations. While it is permissible, for us to “open” during Phase 2, with strict precautions, the Bishops have urged us to not feel compelled to do so until we are confidently ready. The Bishops have also stressed the need to provide online worship for those who chose not to attend in-person worship, and/of who are in a higher risk group. The protocols for in-person worship are very intensive involving precautions concerning wearing masks, distancing, tracing, group sizes and sanitation, and many other precautions. Even still, those age 65 and older are recommended to stay safe at home.
St. Mary’s has chosen to be cautious, viewing the physical health of our parishioners as our highest priority. Decisions around re-opening, in our denomination, are made by the local clergy in consultation with their bishops and vestries. There is a great deal of information to digest along with our individual “comfort levels” about reopening.
While Roman Catholic Churches in the Archdiocese of Hartford have reopened for communion services and the ELCA Lutherans have somewhat “liberal” flexibility, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut has not yet published protocols and directions for the possible distribution of holy communion in Phase 3 of our state’s reopening.
Presently at St. Mary’s we are trying out recording and live-streaming from the sanctuary. We have been able to livestream Compline from the zoom platform on Wednesday and Fridays at 7:30pm. We have recorded Morning Devotions from the Nativity Chapel. We are learning about equipment, internet and WiFi capacity, the sound system, uploading issues, to name a few. This is new to all of us, and we appreciate your patience.
How might you get involved? As we tackle this new learning and try on new ways of worshipping, how are you participating? We hope you will try out the zoom worship, and step up if you would be willing to learn alongside us. We are optimistic as we learn how to do this, that we will be able to offer live-streaming from the sanctuary and outdoor worship later this summer, while also offering the Sunday zoom service. With more options, we hope to reach more of our St. Mary’s community.
Even still, with these options, we see coming together and staying connected as paramount in responding faithfully in this time of crisis. Our crisis with the pandemic has been further complicated by the murder of George Floyd and the urgent need for us to bring about police reform and end racist violence of all forms. We have so much work to do as God’s people and God’s mission to bring about justice is the calling in our present day.
May we boldly come together - stronger than ever - to put our faith into action in our lives for the sake of our redeemer, Jesus Christ, in whose name we gather, in whose name we minister.