Guidelines for Regathering
Please see our update below, as of July 3, on discontinuing singing during our services
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is nearing the time when we will get to see each other face to face again. The state, county and Office of the Bishop have given approval to gather in-person, and we have decided to resume services on the 14th of this month. In order to facilitate a smooth regathering transition for the services, we will maintain these guidelines for all who come to the church services. There are some perspectives for regathering that we will need to remember during this season of transition. The first can be seen in 1 John:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18a
Even though much of the news and communication about this via the media has been largely fear based, when we gather, we gather in love as a community, sensitive to those around us and what they may be feeling or have experienced. The second can be seen in Romans:
“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6
Even though we may have different opinions about what has been going on, how we should regather and what will be allowed for this season, we will seek to be together as one during this time through the leadership of the Rector, Vestry and Regathering Team at Holy Trinity.
Staying at Home
As an act of love, we are asking anyone who may have underlying health issues which could be complicated by contracting the COVID-19 virus to stay at home. We will not be policing or excluding anyone from gathering, but we ask, for the short term, if there is any doubt about your health, please self-select to stay at home. We are working on continuing live-streaming services, but will need to adapt to a different format to continue doing so. If we cannot provide live-streaming services for the short term, we will provide either an audio or audio/visual recording of the services.
We will continue to have 2 services, at 8:30 and 10:30. You may be asked to attend another service if it seems there is a need to accommodate for better social distancing.
For the time being, we will all wear face coverings to reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus, as has been directed by the Office of the Bishop. Although wearing a face covering will not eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, it will provide a greater level of protection than going without. If you do not have a face covering, we will provide one for you. Please know that if you refuse to wear a face covering, you will be asked to not attend services. We are not anticipating this will be a permanent condition to gather, so great patience will be asked of all who come to worship as we manage the addition of face coverings.
Bathrooms will be sanitized prior to all services and disinfectant wipes will be available in the bathrooms for anyone who desires to disinfect surfaces prior to use.
We will be sitting in Family Units (A Family Unit is a group of people from the same family who have been exposed to one another previously.). In an effort to maintain the recommended 6’ spacing during the services, you may only sit inside the marked areas of the pews. You will notice a pattern when you arrive. Please pick a place that will best accommodate your Family Unit. While we should have space to accommodate everyone who comes to services, in the event the service reaches capacity for distancing guidelines, additional people would need to be turned away.
We will not have service booklets available. Like we have been doing, we will email a PDF document of the service. Because the liturgy of the service will not change, you may print out your own copy of the booklet to bring and take from the service. The readings and music will be emailed each week as well. If you need something printed out prior to a service, please contact the office.
The consensus of our Regathering Team was that we will continue our practice of singing. When you are singing, we ask that you continue to wear your face covering. During this season, we will have a very limited choir to meet our distancing and safety goals.
UPDATE JULY 3: At the direction of the State of California, and the Diocese of Northern California, we are not singing during our services.
Sharing the Peace
The normal atmosphere during the peace is one of happiness, noise and embracing. During this season, we will be sharing the peace by giving a respectful bow or other appropriate gesture without physically touching anyone. We discourage movement to other parts of the sanctuary during the peace, keeping to your row and the pews that surround you. This may seem overly cautious or restrictive but, again, like face coverings, it is how we will gather for the time being.
We will not be passing the plates at the offertory during the service. We will have an offering box clearly marked to take the place of the plates. You may also continue to pledge by mailing a check to the church or by using our Tithe.ly online giving account.
During the Eucharistic prayer, both the wine and the bread will be consecrated. We will, however, only be consuming the bread. The chalice will remain on the altar and the consecrated wine will be returned to the earth after the service is over. You will be released by an usher to come up to the center of the altar rail with your family unit. The host will be placed in your hand; please do not reach for it. You may remove your face covering to take the host and then reset it after you are finished.
Children and Youth
We will not have Sunday School or Youth Group during this season of transition. We will, however, seek to provide devotional and/or creative materials for our children and youth during this time, in the forms of worksheets that can be printed out at home (children) or online resources for study (youth).
We will not be having in-person forums at this time. We will, however, attempt to offer virtual forums through a Zoom meeting, and will announce the different topics as we put them together.
Support Groups, Grief Groups, Team Meetings and Vestry Meetings
We will have a lag time between when we start in-person services and when we allow other meetings in the building. Other meetings in the building will likely be delayed by 4 weeks after our first in-person service, as assessed by our Regrouping Team.
During this time, we will need volunteers for each of the following areas. All volunteers will be given guidance and/or training, as necessary. If you are interested in helping, please email or call the church. Here are our needs:
Greeters will be responsible for helping people get into the building, making sure everyone has a face covering available and that they are being worn. Greeters will also direct people to any service materials needed for the morning.
Ushers will be responsible for making sure people are directed to seats appropriate for their Family Unit. Ushers will also be responsible for releasing people to receive communion.
Although we have a regular cadre of lectors, we will need to make sure that our temporary practices are understood. We will provide any additional training needed.
Cleaners will be responsible to disinfect our space in between and following all services. They will be given specific training and guidance regarding proper cleaning practices.
Many blessings to you,