May 28, 2021
Greetings St. Paul’s Family,
I am excited to inform you about our updated protocols for worship and meetings on campus at St. Paul’s.
These protocols represent current Diocesan interpretations of the CDC guidelines for mask-wearing and distancing. They also reflect the fact that, because children are not yet eligible for the vaccine, they remain at greater risk for contracting COVID-19, especially in environments where they may encounter other unvaccinated people without masks. St. Paul’s is a big tent with many people moving out of this pandemic at different speeds and for various reasons. Remembering Jesus’ words about not hindering the children who want to come to him, our guidelines represent an attempt to make worship as accessible as possible to all of us during this time
With all this in mind, let me share what worship and small group meetings will look like on campus as we move into the summer.
This Sunday, we return to our regular summer schedule of 8:00 am, 10:00 am, and 5:00 pm. Each of these services along with the 12:10 pm Eucharist on Wednesdays will implement one of two different COVID protocols.
The first of these we are calling “Masks and Distancing Optional.” At an “Optional” service, all fully vaccinated individuals are free not to wear a mask and/or socially distance, while any unvaccinated persons are asked to wear a mask to maintain social distancing.
The second protocol is what we are calling “Masks and Distancing Requested.” At a “Requested” service, everyone in attendance will be expected to wear a mask and maintain social distancing while indoors. This format is similar to what we have been following for the past few weeks.
Here are the times and protocols for each of our summer services beginning this Sunday:
8:00 am: Holy Eucharist Rite I: Masks and Distancing Optional
Location: Side Altar/Nave
10:00 am: Holy Eucharist Rite II: Masks and Distancing Requested
10:00 am: Children’s Chapel: Masks and Distancing Requested
Location: Colhoun A
5:00 pm: Holy Eucharist Rite II: Masks and Distancing Optional
12:10 pm: Holy Eucharist Rite I: Masks and Distancing Optional
Location: Side Altar/Nave
Please remember that everyone is welcome at every service. We have retained mask-wearing and distanced seating at the 10:00 am service because of the number of children who attend. However, there will also be space for people who wish to continue wearing masks and socially distance at the “Optional” services as well. No services require preregistration, simply a sign-in at the church door. Also, because singing is currently only permitted with masks, the 5:00 pm will only include instrumental music for the time being.
At all services, the Eucharist will still be administered in one kind (bread); however, research is underway for bringing back the common cup. Stay tuned.
I hope that all these options allow you and your family to choose the worship environment that best fits your needs during this liminal time.
Meetings on Campus
I am pleased to announce that masks and social distancing are no longer required for any fully vaccinated persons on St. Paul’s campus, as long as children are not present. If children are present, masking and distancing protocols continue to apply regardless of vaccination status. Similarly, any unvaccinated persons are asked to wear a mask and socially distance while on St. Paul’s campus at all times.
With this in mind, if your Bible Study, circle-meeting, or small group would like to meet on campus again, we are prepared to host you. It will be up to each group’s leader to ascertain the vaccination status of your group to determine what protocols will fit your people the best. Groups who want to return to campus should reach out to their staff contact and make arrangements for getting back on the church calendar.
All told, this is really good news and makes the light at the end of the tunnel a little brighter. As the science develops and our bishops respond to our feedback, I expect these protocols will continue to evolve, so let’s hang in there together. After all, we are a “House of Prayer for All People,” which means we are in this with and for each other. I am grateful to be walking this in-between season with you.
Grace and Peace,