Message to the Parishioners, May 11, 2020
We received a proposed strategy for reopening closed parish churches and return the public liturgies from Bishop Mark. I know this is what everyone has been waiting for and wanting to know when this will happen.
Bishop Mark will announce when the opening date will take place.
What I would like to share with you at this time is some of the procedures that we have to put in the place so that when the church opens everyone will be safe.
The first step will be that the churches will be opened for private personal prayer. The Bishop has stressed that cleaning and disinfecting are Paramount. We were told that after every individual person leaves the church his or her place of seating has to be disinfected and cleansed. As well as anything the person has touched entering the church, while in the church or leaving the church.
The Maximum number of people in the church at any one time depends upon the stage of reopening allowed by the Commonwealth. So once we have moved to the yellow-level restrictions, the number of those permitted in church is determined by physical distancing. This means that individuals are at least 6 feet from others in all directions. This number should be clearly posted on the church doors. Of course, this means that non-household members need to be at least 6 feet away from others in all directions.
In order to minimize how much of the church needs to be cleaned and disinfected regularly, pastors may restrict public access to parts of the church and gathering space. This can be done by roping off certain pews and areas.
One suggestion given was that we use metal chairs for the individuals to use as they come to Pray because they will be easier to disinfect than the wooden pews.
All who come into the church need to wear a cloth mask at all times.
All hymnals, prayer books and all other literature are to be removed from the church area which is open for private prayer.
At this time, I am in the process of forming a committee of Parishioners to help me and advise me how to best follow these guidelines so that our church will remain as safe as possible. If you would like to be on this committee or perhaps not on the committee but to come in at various times to help with the disinfecting and cleansing of the church, please give me a call at the Rectory.