As we are all aware COVID-19, while still relatively rare, has begun popping up in different locations around the country, including New England. In preparation for its eventual arrival in our state, and possibly in our communities, our bishops have prepared some recommendations on how we can do our part as worshiping communities to prevent its spread.
Based on their recommendations, for the time being, we are adopting the following practices at St. Stephen’s to ensure that our community remains healthy. If you have questions about any of these things, please feel free to reach out to Adam.
- If you are sick, stay home.
We will miss you, we will even pray for you if you let us know, and we will be happy that you are not sharing your germs, whatever they may be, with the rest of us.
- Wash your hands.
Seriously, just do it. The most effective way to prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands with soap. Did you just use the bathroom? Wash your hands. Do you need a break from working on the computer? Go wash your hands. Finished a killer round of Candy Crush on your phone? Go wash your hands and maybe your phone too. Were you just juggling Books of Common Prayer? We’re impressed; now go wash your hands.
- Get creative at the Passing of the Peace.
Rather than shaking each other’s hands, try making the peace sign or bowing respectfully to one another. The person who is the most creative at passing the peace will win all the points.
- It is okay to receive only the bread at communion.
While the risk of the transmission of germs via the wine during communion has been shown to be exceedingly small, if it makes you squeamish, it is perfectly acceptable to only eat the bread–we teach that receiving in one kind is still the full Eucharistic sacrament.
Update: In a recent pastoral directive, our bishops have instructed that, effective immediately, only consecrated bread will be distributed at the altar rail during Eucharist in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Please note that the teachings of our church state that receiving only in one kind is still partaking fully in the sacrament. Consecrated wine will be available in the chapel during communion by common cup only (no intinction).
- Adam won’t be offended if you don’t shake his hand.
At the end of the service, as you are leaving, it is okay not to shake hands with Adam or any other worship leaders. We promise they won’t take it personally.