May 14, 2020
As you probably know by now, Governor Hogan is lifting the Stay-at-Home order for select business and organizations, including churches. Houses of worship can now worship indoors at 50% capacity. That said, we are at a minimum of 3, more likely 4, weeks away before opening the building again for in-public worship. Frankly, we cannot return to worshipping in the building before the bishop says we can. Moreover, diocesan policy mandates that all parishes have a detailed protocol and plan in place before the re-opening buildings on a non-emergency basis. At a minimum this includes having a sufficient supply of cleaning supplies on hand, a detailed method for tracking people entering and exiting the building, live-streaming capabilities, plans for connecting with people who continue to worship at home, a tracking protocol, seating arrangements, and plans for ongoing disinfection.
A Re-Gathering Team has been formed to help draft up a re-gathering plan based on civic and diocesan guidelines. Serving on that team so far are Greg Ferguson, Jane Fruh, Phil Hamilton, Tom Gryn (ex-officio), and Sewell Truitte (ex-officio). Please email me if you are interested in being a part of the team. In the meantime, I invite everyone to complete this online survey about our life together during this time.
Once our plan has been drawn up it must then be approved by the diocese, and all lay leaders and staff must undergo proper training on our procedures. On Monday, May 18, the vestry will meet to address larger questions around technological infrastructure, budget re-alignment, and ministry prioritization.
I know that all of this may seem tedious and overwrought, but it’s done with two goals in mind: keeping everyone safe and preventing a resurgence of this terrible disease. It’s not glamorous ministry, but it is life-saving ministry. Please be patient, prayerful, and mindful of our larger responsibility to care for everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable. This is not a political matter. It’s a health and faith matter. As much as I miss seeing your face, I want everyone to be healthy and safe.
Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us…Together, we will emerge into the Light.
Much love and many prayers,