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Ktgrok

church and Covid19

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6 hours ago, Amira said:

We’ve lived in places where we could only meet in small groups or in our own home for church, either because there weren’t other members of our denomination nearby or because of government restrictions on church meetings.  It’s kind of odd to be going back to that now, and thinking of people in the US doing that.  Our friends always thought it was so weird and unique when we had church at home or through zoom. Now they’re doing it. 🙂

If you’re missing church today, try to find ways to stay connected with God and with each other.  This is just a small moment, and there are good things that can happen because of it.

This post and being at home this morning reminds me that public, corporate worship is a privilege and a treasure that we in America ought not to take for granted. 

So many of our brothers and sisters around the world, now and in times past, have met only as families or small groups because of hostile government or culture. Or simply because they are/were so few in number. We should be in prayer for the persecuted church, tiny fledgling churches, and those homebound by illness or complexities of aging. God is not hindered by these circumstances, but they can be hard for the people in them!

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I posted above that DD was to be baptized today, and then posted that our church was canceled (technically, they're switching to a streaming service for now.)

Anyway, we had family coming in for DD's baptism and we didn't want to postpone indefinitely...so here we were, last night at the lake. We did have a few friends (and my parents) join us. (Don't quote pic, will later delete.)

 

Edited by alisoncooks
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Our church is still meeting. I think that OCA directive PrincessMommy referenced does not apply to our Diocese. But we made the decision not to attend until this is over. I do not have confidence that the other members are taking adequate protections to keep our family safe. Our parish is full of anti-vaxxers and people who think everyone is overreacting to this. These are not the kinds of people you can trust in a pandemic. 

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1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

I posted above that DD was to be baptized today, and then posted that our church was canceled (technically, they're switching to a streaming service for now.)

Anyway, we had family coming in for DD's baptism and we didn't want to postpone indefinitely...so here we were, last night at the lake. We did have a few friends (and my parents) join us. (Don't quote pic, will later delete.)

 


Congratulations!  What a joyous thing at this time!  Thank you for sharing!

Edited by CuriousMomof3
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Alisoncooks,

Thank you so much for sharing.  Your picture brings tears to my eyes.  Please welcome your daughter to the family for me!  What a beautiful sight.  Praise the Lord!!!

My uncle baptized me in a lake when I was 12.  It’s one of my most cherished memories, and you just brought it back to me.

May your daughter always walk with the Lord.

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7 hours ago, soror said:

Our diocese has given a dispensation but the letter reads that only those who show signs of sickness or at increased risk should stay home. Everyone else should just not touch people.

OUr diocese said the same. It isn't enough. At all. Ugh. 

5 hours ago, JanOH said:

Our small church is still meeting.  I'm frustrated because our church is full of elderly and high risk people.  I think the deacons and Pastor should have made the decision easier for them by cancelling.  (And my dh is one of the deacons!  ). I'm praying for a good attitude as I head out the door.  On Wednesday night after I mentioned not shaking hands, our pastor went down our pew and shook my kids hands with a laugh.  I really have a bad attitude this morning 😞

This! in my letter I said that their job is to shepherd the flock, to protect and guide, and they are failing to do that right now. They need to do the hard thing and cancel services. I'm struggling REALLY badly with my just HUGE feelings of anger at the utter lack of leadership amongst the churches in this area right now. Just...really hurt and betrayed and angry. I have left pointed facebook messages and an email, and I did warn the women in the mom's group at one I used to attend. they seem to get it. 

But the pastors and bishops are just..not. And yeah, I have big feelings about that. 

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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Our church is still meeting. I think that OCA directive PrincessMommy referenced does not apply to our Diocese. But we made the decision not to attend until this is over. I do not have confidence that the other members are taking adequate protections to keep our family safe. Our parish is full of anti-vaxxers and people who think everyone is overreacting to this. These are not the kinds of people you can trust in a pandemic. 

If you want to watch, our parish live-streams its services and keeps them on Youtube.  PM me for the link if you want.  

 

Edited by PrincessMommy
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Things were much more serious this morning but we realized after the service when our deacons were discussing whether to even come back tonight that our Pastor had honestly never even thought about shutting down.  He had tears in his eyes hearing the deacons even consider it 

He just called and tonight's service will be a song service followed by an open discussion if what to do.  He's really been mentally whalloped by this so now I feel badly for not being very sympathetic with my earlier post.

I realized on the way home that our Deacon's families had been more directly affected than he had earlier in the week.  Both involved in educational institutions that have been shut down.  It wasn't on his radar that the church would need to shut down, too.  There are less than 10 of us that aren't in a high risk group.  Even our Pastor is diabetic and over 70 so at risk.  I'm guessing we'll be shut down after tonight.  I'm going to go early tonight and do what I can to sanitize before the service.

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Our church tried to live stream the service today on Facebook Live with just the pastors and worship team (music) physically there. Several hundred people logged in, but it keep pausing or buffering. Most people just said they would watch the video later.

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1 hour ago, Hadley said:

Alisoncooks,

Thank you so much for sharing.  Your picture brings tears to my eyes.  Please welcome your daughter to the family for me!  What a beautiful sight.  Praise the Lord!!!

My uncle baptized me in a lake when I was 12.  It’s one of my most cherished memories, and you just brought it back to me.

May your daughter always walk with the Lord.

Thank you!

The guy doing the dunking is DH.🙂 DD will be 12 this summer. 

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23 minutes ago, JanOH said:

Things were much more serious this morning but we realized after the service when our deacons were discussing whether to even come back tonight that our Pastor had honestly never even thought about shutting down.  He had tears in his eyes hearing the deacons even consider it 

He just called and tonight's service will be a song service followed by an open discussion if what to do.  He's really been mentally whalloped by this so now I feel badly for not being very sympathetic with my earlier post.

I realized on the way home that our Deacon's families had been more directly affected than he had earlier in the week.  Both involved in educational institutions that have been shut down.  It wasn't on his radar that the church would need to shut down, too.  There are less than 10 of us that aren't in a high risk group.  Even our Pastor is diabetic and over 70 so at risk.  I'm guessing we'll be shut down after tonight.  I'm going to go early tonight and do what I can to sanitize before the service.

Still, and I don't mean to be mean, but the job of Pastor, of shepherd, requires one to do the research, know the risks, and protect the flock. He failed to do that, and by calling people to come back tonight to discuss it in person, is continuing in that failure. 

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Just got back from church.  It was about half-full, so instead of standing shoulder to shoulder like normal, there was a relatively nice buffer zone between families/groups.  Last sunday after the service, our priest encouraged everyone to skip the kiss of peace and just bow to one another from a distance from now on.  Everyone did that this sunday which I was was surprised about - I thought for sure people would forget.  Also, just before the Eucharist was brought out, he told everyone to make sure they don't touch the spoon (tilt your head back, open wide and let the priest/deacon drop it in).  And then he encouraged everyone to not kiss the icons, the chalice, his hands or the cross when receiving a blessing.  And finally, this was our last sunday for the foreseeable future of having a meal together after the liturgy.  Lots of small changes, but everyone is cooperating and hopefully they will make a difference without having to make bigger, drastic changes.

My state only has 5 cases; 2 in our county.

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My state has over 100 confirmed cases, three in the Orlando area -  2 in Orange County, 1 in Seminole County - these counties are intertwined so you may live in one but shop or attend church in the other. In fact, I live in a city that has some residents in one, and some in another. And I've been told by an ICU nurse that they are not able to test any suspected cases unless that person traveled out of the country or had KNOWN direct contact with a positive case. So...yeah. Basically, they are not testing people and therefore the numbers are likely higher. And yet, I've been told by one person taht we should go to church MORE and just pray the virus away. I told her I do believe in prayer but I don't send my child to play in traffic - I tell him to look both ways. God wants us to use the wisdom he gave us. Ugh. 

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Our church had limited services today.  Livestream is always available for services.  A lot more people took advantage of that than usual.

I think that it is probable that Livestream will be the only option going forward.

During this morning's service, our pastor sincerely apologized for making light of the virus in the past.  He acknowledged that he was wrong and that he wants to do better going forward.

He also explained to the congregation how social distancing helps.  He encouraged us to limit social interactions to especially help the older/sicker members of the congregation.  He also explained flattening the curve to help out the medical profession/those needing medical care.

He asked us to do what we can to encourage one another and help each other with groceries or whatever.

He also admonished the congregation to not look down on those who are taking the virus more seriously than others.

I wanted to stand up and applaud, but since I was home he wouldn't have seen me. :)

I will probably send him an email tomorrow.

Edited by Junie
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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

Still, and I don't mean to be mean, but the job of Pastor, of shepherd, requires one to do the research, know the risks, and protect the flock. He failed to do that, and by calling people to come back tonight to discuss it in person, is continuing in that failure. 

I completely agree and I am not happy about it but we do have a pretty small group for the pm service.  The most vulnerable usually do not return for this service.  Probably if the two deacons families had just decided not to attend (our family and one other) the service would have been cancelled.  We've decided to go back for this service which we are assuming will be the last, possibly for a long time, out of respect since the pastor now seems to be willing to listen.  If services are not cancelled going forward,  we will probably have to make the hard choice to not attend.  

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Junie, that's really good to hear. It's a great example for a congregation when its leaders are wise enough to stay humble, learn more, and teach people to look out for one another.

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I pulled up my church's livestream just now, on mute, and fast forwarded to see how many people were there. Looks like just under 20, not including the choir which looked to be a skeleton crew, just a few of them. Plus priests (2), music director, and altar servers. Many fewer than the typical number. But still, people knelt shoulder to shoulder for communion when with that few people the priest could EASILY have advised them to stay 6 feet apart.

I'll be honest, I am too angry and bitter about this to watch the service right now. Which is not good. I'd very much appreciate prayers about that. And if someone has a livestream of their church that had the decency to sacrifice togetherness in the name of protecting the least of these, I think maybe I'd be better off watching that. Hopefully with prayer and time and maybe a response to my email from my church I'll get to a place where I can watch them. But right now, nope. 

Going to read today's Gospel with the kids, then do a call and response prayer of the people style using something I found on Facebook from another Episcopal church. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

I pulled up my church's livestream just now, on mute, and fast forwarded to see how many people were there. Looks like just under 20, not including the choir which looked to be a skeleton crew, just a few of them. Plus priests (2), music director, and altar servers. Many fewer than the typical number. But still, people knelt shoulder to shoulder for communion when with that few people the priest could EASILY have advised them to stay 6 feet apart.

I'll be honest, I am too angry and bitter about this to watch the service right now. Which is not good. I'd very much appreciate prayers about that. And if someone has a livestream of their church that had the decency to sacrifice togetherness in the name of protecting the least of these, I think maybe I'd be better off watching that. Hopefully with prayer and time and maybe a response to my email from my church I'll get to a place where I can watch them. But right now, nope. 

Going to read today's Gospel with the kids, then do a call and response prayer of the people style using something I found on Facebook from another Episcopal church. 

 

aww, I'm so sorry this was upsetting for you.   Maybe one way to look at it is that it goes both ways. If someone was feeling like they were vulnerable they could have moved away but they didn't.  If you had been present, I'm sure you would have made sure to keep your distance.   So you could maybe see it as their choice to be so close.  It wasn't like they were making  the other person kneel close to them.     Either way - hugs.

I have friends who don't think this is such a big deal.  I can disagree with them but I still care about them.  

Edited by PrincessMommy

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1 minute ago, PrincessMommy said:

aww, I'm so sorry this was upsetting for you.   Maybe one way to look at it is that it goes both ways. If someone was feeling like they were vulnerable they could have moved away but they didn't.  If you had been present, I'm sure you would have made sure to keep your distance.   So you could maybe see it as their choice to be so close.  It wasn't like they were making  the other person kneel close to them.     Either way - hugs.

I have friends who don't think this is such a big deal.  I can disagree with them but I still care about them.  

The issue is, even if they didn't feel at risk, by them being close, they could become a source of contagion later in the week for someone who is at risk. So they can give it to the grocery check out clerk when they buy needed groceries, who gives it to her veterinarian when she takes her sick dog in who gives it to her immune compromised neighbor or whatever. We slow the spread by staying apart. The priest should have provided guidance - that is his job as pastor - as shepherd to his flock. And it is so disappointing to have yet another leader fail in that capacity. And yes, I probably am overly sensitive both because my mother is likely to die if she gets this, and because my son will have brain inflammation if he gets sick and because I came to this church as a place of healing and hope after issues in the Catholic church. Sigh. 

And I definitely still care about these people, and I know my anger is not productive at this point - I've emailed the church and said my peace and warned who I could - but it's there. 

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Tonight our governor banned public meetings, including church, of over 25 attendees.

Edited by cave canem
clarity
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With the CDC now recommending no gatherings >50 people for the next 8 weeks, more congregations will likely decide it's time to offer services online.

The Catholic Bishop of Raleigh has suspended mass (announced mid-afternoon yesterday) and has directed parishioners here to find streaming options: https://dioceseofraleigh.org/news/where-watch-mass-online.

Catholic schools here are also closing, although I'm not sure whether the governor's order applies to private schools or only public schools.

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15 hours ago, soror said:

Our diocese has given a dispensation but the letter reads that only those who show signs of sickness or at increased risk should stay home. We went to church last night, there were only 8 other people attending besides our family (it is a very small church). Every family has their own pew(and there is only 1 service for the entire week) and our spread apart in church, we did not touch anyone. My priest seems to take it as a personal affront we are doing anything at all, since it isn't bad here, we are worried too soon when of course the whole point is to stop things from getting so bad in the first place.

This is similar to my experience today. Dispensation - but the pastor read it as "this weekend only" vs. "until this whole thing is over." He made the changes requested -- no Holy Water, no sign of peace, antibacterial wash before the consecration, but didn't cancel his Lenten talk in the church basement this afternoon. He thinks it is an overreaction because "Italy is like a third world country" and "we will do much better."

My boys didn't serve for the first time in forever. My family broke up our seating so we could stay over a meter away from anyone else. Less than 20 people there  (5 of them my family). We didn't go up for Communion. This is the only Mass in this church all week. We always sit in the same two pew area & rarely does anyone else sit in either place (Holy Days when there are > 30 people in attendance).

Several of the older & vulnerable people chose to stay home.

What I was upset about was the attitude our priest had about how if you attended, you are heroic & better than those who stayed home. Boo Hiss! 

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3 hours ago, cave canem said:

Tonight our governor banned public meetings, including church, of over 25 attendees.

WHat state, please?

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41 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

This is similar to my experience today. Dispensation - but the pastor read it as "this weekend only" vs. "until this whole thing is over." He made the changes requested -- no Holy Water, no sign of peace, antibacterial wash before the consecration, but didn't cancel his Lenten talk in the church basement this afternoon. He thinks it is an overreaction because "Italy is like a third world country" and "we will do much better."

My boys didn't serve for the first time in forever. My family broke up our seating so we could stay over a meter away from anyone else. Less than 20 people there  (5 of them my family). We didn't go up for Communion. This is the only Mass in this church all week. We always sit in the same two pew area & rarely does anyone else sit in either place (Holy Days when there are > 30 people in attendance).

Several of the older & vulnerable people chose to stay home.

What I was upset about was the attitude our priest had about how if you attended, you are heroic & better than those who stayed home. Boo Hiss! 

Italy is a first world country---- not backward at all. They have more hospital beds per 1000 than we do.    My dh thinks that much of the ignorant talk is because the people have never traveled nor even watched tv shows that show what these countries are like.

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20 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

Italy is a first world country---- not backward at all. They have more hospital beds per 1000 than we do.    My dh thinks that much of the ignorant talk is because the people have never traveled nor even watched tv shows that show what these countries are like.

NM

Edited by kdsuomi

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6 hours ago, RootAnn said:

This is similar to my experience today. Dispensation - but the pastor read it as "this weekend only" vs. "until this whole thing is over." He made the changes requested -- no Holy Water, no sign of peace, antibacterial wash before the consecration, but didn't cancel his Lenten talk in the church basement this afternoon. He thinks it is an overreaction because "Italy is like a third world country" and "we will do much better."

My boys didn't serve for the first time in forever. My family broke up our seating so we could stay over a meter away from anyone else. Less than 20 people there  (5 of them my family). We didn't go up for Communion. This is the only Mass in this church all week. We always sit in the same two pew area & rarely does anyone else sit in either place (Holy Days when there are > 30 people in attendance).

Several of the older & vulnerable people chose to stay home.

What I was upset about was the attitude our priest had about how if you attended, you are heroic & better than those who stayed home. Boo Hiss! 

Yes, my priest made a comment about how they are wanting to close churches down and blew it off, like somehow this virus was some nefarious plot against churches, IDK, not having that discussion.

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6 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Italy is a first world country---- not backward at all. They have more hospital beds per 1000 than we do.    My dh thinks that much of the ignorant talk is because the people have never traveled nor even watched tv shows that show what these countries are like.

He lived there for a bit (a year, maybe?) so he thinks he knows it. I mentioned that we are no more prepared hospital bed & ventilator-wise than Italy but he believes he knows better. Prayers & doing my part to social distance. That's my personal mission.

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Funny little side-note about LiveStreamed church service: I noticed when the pastor delivered little jokes as normal, it clearly felt awkward with no feedback laughter! It’s clearly challenging to deliver a little joke line for speech levity to a silent, empty auditorium. 😃

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Meeting went fairly well last night but I'm pretty sure our pastor still isn't really understanding how serious this is.  Officially he only cancelled the Wednesday night service and says "let's wait and see " on Sunday services.  He wants to have one service on Sunday morning with no other services, which won't really help. Now I'm praying that the governor shuts down churches this week to make it easier for our pastor.

It was hard to be there, look around and wonder if the same group will ever be together again 😞.

 

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Ugh. I keep hearing this same story and it is just so dissapointing. I GET that this is a hard call - unprecedented in their lifetimes. But hello, that's what you signed up for as Pastor! That is the very definition of the job - to guide and protect your flock. Even if it is hard. 

And yes, I know this is hitting me harder than maybe it should, or normally would. But after having a big crisis of faith in the church at large a while back, and leaving my denomination over my utter frustration and dismay and lack of trust in leadership, this just adds a nail to the coffin. 

And the advice to pray because Jesus is the ultimate healer makes me wan to throw things. It basically implies that those that die or get sick were lacking in their prayer life or something. Ugh. 

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I don't know if I need to ask y'all to pray for me or hold my earrings. Just got an email from the church that they are STILL not canceling church services this weekend!!!!!! And they said they are trying to figure out how to have social distancing AND HAVE COMMUNION!!!!!! This is a liturgical church, we don't do individual grape juice servings. Someone touches the bread, then puts it in your hand, often making contact with your hand before giving it to the next person. And of course, the person handing it to you has to be within arms reach (aka too close) to do that. And these are the priests, who I imagine are ministering to the sick! 

The president has said no gatherings larger than 10 people - how he thinks this is going to work I don't know. 

I could see an outdoor service, with everyone spread out, and speakers so everyone can hear, but unless he's going to start tossing communion wafers hail mary style, no idea ho he thinks communion is feasible. Already, only ONE of the regular servers/priests remembers to use a different hand when giving my son the gluten free communion wafer, to avoid cross contamination, so I have no real hope they can manage the level of hygiene required for this. 

And of course, the letter said to be patient and prayerful as they consider. Lemmee tell you, not feeling that. Much more in the tossing tables state. UGH. 

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Our archdiocese (OCA-DOWest) is closed, period, for the next two weeks. 

Tomorrow night, dh and I were going to sponsor someone entering the Church on what was already an expedited path...  Sad for him (and for all of us).  

However, I do not dispute the call.  Our deanery is to-the-bone thin on the number of priests.  Like, there are no substitute priests who can allow the rest to take a vacation.  So what happens if a priest gets sick?  That parish is closed for...how long?  Our priest is young and healthy, but some of our priests are older -- in the target zone.  

I'm glad for the protection our bishop is offering our priests--and then us, as well.  My dh has responsibilities in the services, and although he is 66 and immune-compromised, he felt an obligation to attend.  I had just got him to understand last night that by staying home, he is protecting ME, and then he said he should do a better job self-isolating.   He seemed almost relieved to have that decision removed from him by today's fiat.

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6 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I don't know if I need to ask y'all to pray for me or hold my earrings. 

I hear the stress, and I totally agree with you, but I just howled with laughter over your turn of phrase!!!!

You are fabulous.  

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3 minutes ago, elroisees said:

I hear the stress, and I totally agree with you, but I just howled with laughter over your turn of phrase!!!!

You are fabulous.  

LOL, thanks. 

I actually can't tell you how many times people have gotten a kick out of me getting angry. It used to upset me, now I just know its a thing. The few times I've cursed on Facebook it has created great amusement, and I've been told the same in person. 

 

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Our diocese now has a general dispensation, we will switch to viewing online. Although our church is tiny(last Saturday we had 14 total including our 6) and we are able to keep a good distance from people most of the attendees are older and I don't wish to risk getting anyone sick, if they want to take risks that is on them but it won't be on us.

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47 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I don't know if I need to ask y'all to pray for me or hold my earrings. Just got an email from the church that they are STILL not canceling church services this weekend!!!!!! And they said they are trying to figure out how to have social distancing AND HAVE COMMUNION!!!!!! This is a liturgical church, we don't do individual grape juice servings. Someone touches the bread, then puts it in your hand, often making contact with your hand before giving it to the next person. And of course, the person handing it to you has to be within arms reach (aka too close) to do that. And these are the priests, who I imagine are ministering to the sick! 

The president has said no gatherings larger than 10 people - how he thinks this is going to work I don't know. 

I could see an outdoor service, with everyone spread out, and speakers so everyone can hear, but unless he's going to start tossing communion wafers hail mary style, no idea ho he thinks communion is feasible. Already, only ONE of the regular servers/priests remembers to use a different hand when giving my son the gluten free communion wafer, to avoid cross contamination, so I have no real hope they can manage the level of hygiene required for this. 

And of course, the letter said to be patient and prayerful as they consider. Lemmee tell you, not feeling that. Much more in the tossing tables state. UGH. 

it's an Episcopal church, iirc?  What is the bishop saying?  I'm so stunned.

here's what the Bishop of the Chicago diocese said: https://episcopalchicago.org/suspending-in-person-worship-a-letter-from-bishop-lee/

I'd be tempted to collect all these letters from across the country and send them to your priest and bishop.  *holds out gloved hand for earrings*

 

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Just now, happi duck said:

it's an Episcopal church, iirc?  What is the bishop saying?  I'm so stunned.

here's what the Bishop of the Chicago diocese said: https://episcopalchicago.org/suspending-in-person-worship-a-letter-from-bishop-lee/

I'd be tempted to collect all these letters from across the country and send them to your priest and bishop.  *holds out gloved hand for earrings*

 

Bishop seems to have no clue that people without symptoms can spread it, how long it lives on surfaces, etc. Keep in mind, he is one of the most conservative Bishops, and the only one is our state  and one of the few in the country to not allow gay marriage, etc. So he's used to bucking the trend. 

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Our Catholic diocese is shutting everything down at least until the end of the month. It takes a lot to cancel a Catholic mass let alone a month of them. Last weekend the bishop gave dispensation but now it is all cancelled.

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

I don't know if I need to ask y'all to pray for me or hold my earrings. Just got an email from the church that they are STILL not canceling church services this weekend!!!!!! And they said they are trying to figure out how to have social distancing AND HAVE COMMUNION!!!!!! This is a liturgical church, we don't do individual grape juice servings. Someone touches the bread, then puts it in your hand, often making contact with your hand before giving it to the next person. And of course, the person handing it to you has to be within arms reach (aka too close) to do that. And these are the priests, who I imagine are ministering to the sick! 

The president has said no gatherings larger than 10 people - how he thinks this is going to work I don't know. 

I could see an outdoor service, with everyone spread out, and speakers so everyone can hear, but unless he's going to start tossing communion wafers hail mary style, no idea ho he thinks communion is feasible. Already, only ONE of the regular servers/priests remembers to use a different hand when giving my son the gluten free communion wafer, to avoid cross contamination, so I have no real hope they can manage the level of hygiene required for this. 

And of course, the letter said to be patient and prayerful as they consider. Lemmee tell you, not feeling that. Much more in the tossing tables state. UGH. 

 

Have you shared with him articles about the situation in DC, where the first identified person with COVID was an Episcopal priest who gave communion to hundreds of people?  The Episcopal diocese shut all the churches and schools, and other denominations followed suit, even before the Mayor and Governor shut the public schools. It's just not worth the risk.  

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Ours finally closed even though they could stay open given the governor's current rules.  

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4 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Have you shared with him articles about the situation in DC, where the first identified person with COVID was an Episcopal priest who gave communion to hundreds of people?  The Episcopal diocese shut all the churches and schools, and other denominations followed suit, even before the Mayor and Governor shut the public schools. It's just not worth the risk.  

I emailed both the pastor at my current parish and the Catholic parish I used to attend, sharing my concerns, links, etc. I got a two sentence email from the Catholic church thanking me for my concern and that was it. Nothing from current Episcopal parish, but I'm actually wondering if they got it - I replied to a mass email from them and maybe it was a do not reply type email address. I need to resend, and suggest that if NOTHING ELSE they hold services outside, people stay 6 feet away from each other, and NO COMMUNION. The Episcopal church has had decades at a time or longer where the normal sunday service was morning prayer, not a communion service. There is no reason we can't do that now. 

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Our pastor posted on Facebook last night that he is rethinking his position based on the most recent recommendations from the CDC and the president (by which I assume he means the 10-person rule). He says that we will continue to have services but that there will be more adjustments to how we conduct ourselves. Not sure what that means but I guess it's encouraging after the previous statements about obeying God and not man.

I know that some in our denomination have gone to service sign-ups, offering multiple services with limited attendance each. I am not sure that really does it though, given that we know the virus survives on surfaces for much longer than we'd like and that the pastor is obviously present for all services (not to mention visiting the hospitals, etc.). The first official case in the city my church is in was announced today, so I am hopeful that will spark some changes.

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7 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I emailed both the pastor at my current parish and the Catholic parish I used to attend, sharing my concerns, links, etc. I got a two sentence email from the Catholic church thanking me for my concern and that was it. 


Can I ask when that was? I'm asking because the bishops/archbishops of our diocese and those close to us issued dispensations from attending Mass over the weekend. Then today (Tues.) many of them cancelled all public Masses (most at least until just before Easter, some indefinitely). So definitely double-check what's happening in the Catholic diocese you are in. It may have changed since the weekend.

Also, I've gotten short emails like that from our priest (not about COVID-19). Usually it means he is thinking about things and he usually gets back to me with a better response. That may just be my priest though.

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Our church has had everything cancelled for a week already. 

Today they sent an email saying no service this Sunday and no other activites of any kind until April. They have a medical working group which is advising the elders. 

They are paying our facilities, nursery, and kitchen staff full time wages through all this, so the email included a reminder to tithe/give. 😉

 

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