In light of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic and the declared state of emergency in many states throughout our Prelacy, I am writing to reassure you that the health and well-being of our church community is our highest priority. For this reason, we wish you to know the following:
Being the Lenten Season, the parts of the Divine Liturgy which would normally entail direct contact (i.e. Holy Communion; Kiss of Peace and kissing of the Bible) are not performed for the duration of Lent. Further information about the post Lenten period will be forthcoming.
We urge you to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control:
Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
In addition to the above, I am working with both the Religious and Lay members of the Executive Council of the Prelacy in consultation with the pastors of our various parishes, to formulate an action plan in our churches for the continued health and well-being of all of our faithful after the Lenten season is finished.
In the meantime, we ask that the Board of Trustees in each of our parishes take the necessary actions to make sure the church sanctuary is clean and disinfected every week and that hand sanitizer will be available during services.
It is our goal that all of our faithful parishioners who attend services and worship in our church will feel comfortable and not fearful or uneasy. If you feel uncomfortable about coming to church, please rest assured that we totally understand if you decide to stay home.
Also, if you have recently traveled outside the country or have come into contact with someone who may be infected with COVID-19, you should stay home for at least two weeks to ensure that you have not been infected.
Please know that we all need to weather this together as a community of faith, trusting in the Almighty to protect us from all mishap. As we often pray:
“Guardian and hope of the faithful, Christ our God, preserve, protect and bless all your faithful people under the shadow of your holy and glorious Cross in peace. Save us from visible and invisible enemies and make us worthy to glorify you with thanksgiving, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen”