Last week, I shared with you our decision to remain closed to in-person worship following the Bishop’s call for us to limit our worship to under 10.
After some additional discussion this week, the Bishop now encourages Diocesan clergy to use our own discretion about reopening to a maximum of 25 parishioners. We are to consider our county’s health department guidelines and our own efforts to maintain a safe worship space.
Clearly, this is a confusing time filled with lots of unknowns, viewpoints, suggestions and dictates, but I can assure you that we are proactive and cautious, do our homework, and do not take any unnecessary risks.
This week, I consulted with our local health department and discovered they currently advise local churches to gather at less than 50% capacity. I noticed that many nearby churches remain open at this reduced capacity.
In light of these findings, and our robust efforts to keep this church safe (the installation of an air purification system last summer, the use of the electrostatic sprayer between services, and all mandated protocols), I believe we can safely meet with the suggested maximum of 25 parishioners.
I discussed this decision with two local Episcopal colleagues, Henry Sabetti of Shrewsbury Parish and Darcy Williams of Emmanuel Church in Chestertown. They did their homework, too, and now plan to reopen to in-person worship gatherings.
So, beginning next week, let’s gather again for in-person worship on Wednesdays at 10AM and Sundays at 8 and 10AM. We require reservations for Sundays, so please contact the church office if you plan to attend either our 8 or 10AM worship.
If you have any symptoms, please do not attend church and consult your healthcare provider. We will continue with our online services for those who remain at home.
I remain optimistic for the day we will safely worship together at full capacity (about 120). As we work toward that goal, please know that I pray for your health and well-being and miss seeing you. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding during this time.