Well, we think we’re ready. We’ve had a few weeks of “trial balloons” during which we had a few vestry members in church with Rev. Koshy and attempted to live stream the service. Not bad, but not perfect either. But, we feel the results are good enough to give opening a try – Sunday, August 2nd is the date.
There will be some restrictions, though. Some dictated by the government, some by the Diocese and some are simply our way of trying to give the congregation the safest possible way to return to the pews if, and we really do mean IF, you are ready to congregate.
Here is a quick look at the rules:
A maximum of 25 people will be permitted in the sanctuary at one time (including the priest, organist, reader and usher)
An usher will meet you at the door (which remains open until the service starts and will be reopened at the end of the service) and provide:
A spray of hand sanitizer
The bulletin for the service
Directions to an open pew (only every 3rd row will be open for seating)
Printed rules if requested
All in attendance MUST wear a mask at all times while in the church building (except when ingesting the host during communion) and maintain a minimum 6 foot social distancing (except for family members)
No singing will be permitted
Communion will be in “one kind” only (gluten free wafer)
A full copy of the attendance rules will be posted in front of the church door and can also be found on the church website.
In order to be sure that we don’t have too many people showing up for service on Sunday and having to deny some people entry due to the occupancy limit, we ask that you call the church office or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating that you would like to reserve “x” number of seats for the church service on Sunday, August 2nd. You should do the same for Sunday, August 9th. We’ll let you know if that “reservation” approach will continue after that.
We’re excited about seeing you! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Jim Ufheil and Rev. Koshy Mathews
Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church
Rules for attendance at Sunday worship services:
An usher will open and secure the church door in an open position so that no-one need touch the door. The usher will wear a mask, and gloves and fulfill the following duties:
Ask the attendee if they have a fever or otherwise feel ill before entering
Offer hand sanitizer
Ask attendee if they have any question concerning the posted rules and offers a printed copy
Write down contact information for contact tracing purposes
Hand out weekly bulletin
Direct attendee to a designated pew
Assure the attendee wears a mask and agrees to wear it at all times while in the sanctuary
Only 25 people will be permitted in the sanctuary at one time. This includes our priest, altar assistant, organist, reader, videographer and usher.
If more than 25 people wish to attend, an overflow site with live streaming of the service is available in Riverside Hall, again with a maximum 25 additional people permitted in the Hall.
Face masks will be required to be worn at all times when in the sanctuary or Riverside Hall except when taking communion.
Communion will be served in one kind (gluten free wafers). No wine or grape juice will be included except as required for the priest.
Communion will be distributed by the priest at the front of the main aisle.
Communicants will proceed, maintaining 6 feet of space between them, up the main aisle, receive the host, and continue to return to their pew via the side/outside aisle.
Communicants can remove their mask only to ingest the host
Collection baskets will be available at the front and the back of the main aisle for attendees to place their pledge or offering
At the end of the service attendees will be asked to exit through the open doors at the back of the church, starting with those seated in the back rows first, always maintaining 6 feet of separation except from immediate family members.