Back to Church!

September 06, 2020 08:50 PM By stmmpicton

Sunday, September 13th is Back to Church Sunday at St Mary Magdalene! As our diocese permits churches to carefully reopen, we are delighted that more than 90 parishioners plan to return to church this fall. Some of our members will not feel able to return to a group setting, and we will continue to provide online services and distribute printed copies and DVDs on request.

For those who are able to attend services in person, here is what you need to know.

Health and Safety
The diocese has established cautious and detailed guidelines to ensure safety during worship, which your Churchwardens, Preparedness Committee, Altar Guild, Sexton, Musical Director, Greeters and Clergy have fully implemented:
  • Everyone planning to come to church must check themselves for any COVID-19 symptoms. Please do not come to church if you have symptoms or have reason to believe you may have been exposed to the virus.
  • The church will be carefully cleaned, and all touch points sanitized before every service. There will be a full hour between services to allow for cleaning and to avoid clustering of people.
  • A maximum of 50 people can be in the church.
  • Pews are roped off, so everyone is seated at least 6 feet away from everyone else. Members of the same household or "social circle" can sit together.
  • Service books have been removed.
  • Everyone must always wear a mask in the church.
  • Greeters will be at the front and back entrances, and the elevator will be available for those who need it.
  • On arrival your attendance will be recorded in the (hopefully unlikely) event contact tracing is required. You will be asked to sanitize your hands.
  • Collection plates will not be used during the service. Baskets to receive your offering will be available at the entrances.
  • Greeters will help ensure people remain physically distanced as you find your seat.
  • Congregational singing is not permitted. A soloist is allowed.
  • We will exchange a gesture of peace from our places, maintaining physical distance.
  • Only the bread will be offered when you receive communion.
  • The priest will carefully hand-sanitize, and then bring communion to everyone in the pews, being careful not to touch anyone. If accidental contact occurs, the priest will sanitize before continuing.
  • After the priest has put the bread in your hand and moved on, you remove your mask to receive your communion, then put your mask back on.
  • At the end of the service we will not gather for fellowship at the back of the church. Greeters will help you exit the church row by row maintaining physical distance. We will have opportunity to chat outside after the service (weather permitting, of course).
Service Times and Format
The first service will be  at 9:00 a.m. as before
  • The traditional language (BCP) service will be followed.
  • Instead of using service books, the liturgy will be displayed using the overhead projectors.
  • There is no music for this service.

The second service will be at 11:00 a.m. (a half hour later than before to allow for cleaning)

  • The contemporary language (BAS) service will be followed.
  • Instead of using service books, the liturgy will be displayed using the overhead projectors.
  • There will be organ and other instrumental music, and hopefully a soloist to sing parts of the service, but no group singing.
  • This service will be live-streamed and recorded, so you will be able to watch from home at 11:00 on Sundays, or anytime afterwards, if you cannot attend in person.
Which Service to Attend
We are only allowed to admit a total of 50 people, and as some people have switched to the early service, we expect to be able to accommodate everyone who wants to come.