All Saints’ Reopens
I am pleased to announce that All Saints’ has received approval from the Bishop’s Office and the Diocesan Re-Gathering Task Group to reopen our Church Campus from this coming Sunday, August 23. This is joyous news and the beginning of new life back on our campus. This reopening will be gradual, the first two Sunday services will be limited to selected persons; our first worship service open to all parishioners and guests will be the first Sunday in September.
Let me share with you the following:
- On Sunday, August 23 and 30, there will be two services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. with only 10 persons in attendance, including the Celebrant and Worship Ministry Team, at each service. Referred to as “soft” services, this is a diocesan requirement for churches that are reopening so as to ensure that all the protocols in place are working as they should. As a result, some of the members of the Vestry, the Re-Entry Planning Task Force, and the Worship Ministry Team, will be attending these services so as to familiarize themselves with the new procedures and protocols that are in place as we begin gathering for in-person worship again. They will be part of the Ministry Teams that will be assisting with the implementation of the protocols so as to keep us all safe and healthy. Members of these three ministries will receive a telephone call inviting them to one of these services. Attendance at these services will require a practicum on the Saturday preceding the services.
- The first Sunday on which members of the congregation and guests will be attending in-person services will be on September 6, the day before Labor Day. On that Sunday, there will be the usual two services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and these services will take place only in the Church Building. Persons who would like to attend these Eucharistic services will need to make reservations by calling the Church Office from Monday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and on Friday between 9 a.m. and 12 noon so as to allow the Office Manager the opportunity to prepare the reservation lists before she leaves.
- On Sunday, September 13, there will be two services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., which will be held in the Church Building and Houg Hall (Parish Hall). Reservation, by telephone, will be made on a first come first serve basis in terms of accommodation in the Church Building and in the Hall. In other words, Houg Hall will be used for the overflow of congregants.
- The Administration of Communion: Communion will be administered in only one kind – the Body of Christ (the Bread), to congregants both in the Church Building and in Houg Hall.
- Virtual Services: The live streaming of the 10 a.m. service on Sundays will continue even after the pandemic has passed, for persons who are not ready to return to in-person worship.
- Wednesday Service, which currently takes the form of Devotional Time with Prayers of Healing, will continue to be live streamed at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel until further notice. There will be no Wednesday morning Healing Service in the Church Building for the time being. Touching of persons, as in the laying on of hands, is prohibited, and social (physical) distancing is to be practiced.
- The Church Office (Coffey Hall) will reopen this coming Monday, August 24, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and this will continue to be the case as per usual. Persons visiting Coffey Hall (Office Building) are asked to wear a mask before entering, and to follow the protocols that are in place.
- In-person Group Meetings and/or Activities: With regards to in-person group meetings and/or activities, reservations for rooms/buildings and the expected number of persons attending, must be made with the Office Manager. Persons are not allowed to hold meetings or any in-person gatherings without making such arrangements with the Church Office.
- At in-person services, meetings, and gatherings, NO food, snacks, drinks, coffee hour, etc. are allowed until further notice.
- Coffee Hour will continue virtually after the 10 a.m. service on Sunday mornings until further notice. You will continue to receive a ZOOM invitation link on Sunday mornings or in the announcement within the weekend E-Blast.
- Protocol Handbook & Video: As you are aware, the coronavirus is still very much with us and therefore in spite of being able to gather again it will not be the same as pre-COVID-19 pandemic. We are in the process of preparing a Handbook with the protocols for the entire Church Campus. This will be sent electronically to the members of our congregation who have email, and in hard copy via snail mail to the members who do not. The Handbook will contain all the information and protocols you will need for in-person worship services, meeting, gatherings, and the use of restrooms. We are also planning on producing a Re-entry to Worship Video, which will assist you visually with the type of protocols that will be in place to keep you safe and healthy.
- The basic protocols of wearing masks, sanitizing our hands, social (physical) distancing, and temperature checks, will be practiced throughout the Campus.
As we take this new journey together in faith, let us pray for one another and thank God for his love and providence toward us. May we remember that although we are returning to in-person worship and gatherings, the pandemic is not over and so we must not become complacent with our lives and the lives of others.
The Rev. Dr. Anthony B. Holder