Guidelines for In-Person Worship

Covid-19 is highly contagious, especially through tiny aerosol droplets that are a normal product of speaking. It can cause serious complications, and all its lasting impacts are not yet fully understood. To guard everyone’s safety, your commitment to these guidelines is essential.

  1. If you are in fragile health or have a condition enhancing your risk of serious complications (obesity, hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes, immune disorder or cardiovascular disease), please do not attend. Please be mindful that the hospitalization rate for those over 65 is three times greater than the overall population. Our 10:30 Sunday Zoom service will continue as usual.

  2. Please take your temperature before coming to church. Do not come if it is above normal or you have any symptoms of illness such as sore throat, sneezing or coughing. We will take your temperature with a touchless thermometer when you arrive.

  3. Bring your own chair if possible for outdoor services. This will help to minimize extra cleaning. There will be chairs available if you are unable to bring your own.

  4. Bring your own prayer book. If you do not have one, let us know and we can loan you one to keep at home and bring to services with you.

  5. Wear a tight-fitting mask as soon as you get out of the car. Keep it on throughout the time you are at church. Assure a good fit, so you don’t need to touch or adjust it. The mask must cover your nose and mouth completely.

  6. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entry. Use it before you pick up a program and as you leave. Avoid touching surfaces as much as possible.

  7. The offering plate will be at a central place. It will minimize touching if you have your offering ready when you come.

  8. Stay 6 feet distant from others. Right now, true Christian love does not include hugging, shaking hands or bumping elbows. 6 feet means 6 feet (or more). Passing the peace will not be a part of the service.

  9. Sit where indicated.  Members of the same family may sit without distancing. Ushers will be there to help.

  10. If using the restrooms, use a tissue to handle any levers or door latches. Take paper towels before washing your hands, and use one to handle the faucet. There will be sanitizing wipes for you to use to wipe down the surfaces that you touch.

During worship, expect:

  1. No congregational singing; this can expel pathogens as far as 27 feet.

  2. Limited congregational responses, to minimize speaking.

  3. No choir, for the same reason we cannot include congregational singing.

  4. No passing the peace.

  5. No coffee hour.

God is with us in all of this! May we embrace the separation from things we thought were so essential to our worship, so that God might remind us of what is truly essential. Our worship WILL encourage and inspire us to receive and share the all-healing love of God.

adopted September 23, 2020

Task Force for Safe In-Person Worship with thanks to St. Margaret’s Palm Desert, for the template.

© 2020 Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd

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