Covid Update 10/23/2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Christ Church Forest Hill is committed to following the Guidelines to ReGather for Public Worship as established by the Diocese of Maryland. Despite the recent announcement by the Governor to loosen restrictions per Phase Three for the State of Maryland, we are still governed by the guidelines in Phase Two/Orange of the Diocese of Maryland. Per the guidelines of Phase Orange, we have a plan for ReGathering for Worship in the Church. Everyone who attends in-church worship must agree to follow this Diocesan Covenant for ReGathering for Public Worship.
Our Plan, as announced and approved by our Vestry: Holy Communion in the Church on the Second and Fourth Sunday of each month. First, Third and Fifth Sundays will be Live Stream Online only for the time being. Once we work the kinks out and see how the fall plays out with the Novel Coronavirus and Flu Season, we plan to expand the number of Sundays in Church. In addition to our Sunday worship, we continue Noonday Prayer Monday-Friday at 11:15am ET. All services from now on, Sundays and Weekdays, will be Live Streamed every Sunday on our FaceBook Page, and on our website, christchurchforesthill.org.
For in-church worship the Second and Fourth Sundays of each month we can seat 17-25 persons: 17 individuals, 25 people if there are up to four groups of two people each from the same household who are allowed to sit together. Everyone must wear a mask covering both mouth and nose. Everyone must sanitize hands on the way in and the way out. Everyone must sign the register each time when in church. There can be no singing, but there will be instrumental music. There will be an offering plate near the entrance, no passing of the plate- and we are all still encouraged to mail our offerings and pledges in every week to the parish Post Office Box. There will be no physical passing of the Peace – a simple bow or wave will have to do for now. People who do not feel well, or who know they have been exposed to someone who is infected with the Coronavirus will need to stay home. More details to follow below.
Please feel no pressure to return. You will know when it is the right time for you to ReGather in Church. Only you know your personal circumstances. In the meantime, we all need to Stay Calm, Stay Connected and Stay Church in the new ways we have been doing so since March. Thank you all for your patience and ongoing support of Christ Church Forest Hill, Rock Spring Parish. We are a small but mighty congregation of God’s Faithful People!
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Kirk Kubicek
We Are Those People Who ReGather in Safety!
Despite the Governor’s recent announcement September 2 , we are still in Phase Orange. Please read The Covenant for ReGathering for Public Worship if you have not already done so. This is how the Second and Fourth Sundays ReGathering in church are going to look:
- As you enter the Bell Tower entrance you sanitize your hands and sign the register each time you attend church.
- Upon entering you will be asked if you sanitized your hands, and if you forgot a mask there will be extras at the entrance.
- You may place your pledge envelope or offering in the plate in the rear of the church.
- You may find a place to sit only where it is designated on the top of the back of the pew by Blue Tape.
- A paper copy of the Service of Holy Communion will be at your seat.
- You will see that we are using Eucharistic Prayer II from Rite One for the time being since it is the shortest option available, and because of its traditional Elizabethan language. Certain other elements, such as the confession, are from Rite Two.
- There will only be one or two lessons plus a psalm, not the customary four.
- There will be instrumental music, but there can be no singing in Phase Orange due to the size of our sanctuary. You may hum along with the music quietly in your mask.
- You will note that in warm weather the church has been cooled as low as possible, then the units are turned off, and the windows will be open during our time in church. In the winter we will heat up the church and turn all units and fans off before people enter the church.
- At the time of the Peace, and throughout one’s time in the church, we must all stay in place – there can be no roaming the aisles so as to maintain Social Distance at all times. This is a requirement of the Diocesan Guidelines which can be found on our website christchurchforesthill.org. A simple wave or bow from your seat will have to do for now.
- Only the Celebrant will receive bread and wine – everyone else will receive only the Body of Christ (wafer) at the rear of the church on the way out. This is to minimize the amount of time we are indoors with other people. The Celebrant will be standing at the top of the center aisle, six feet apart from the person receiving communion who stops at the Yellow Line. You hold out your hands and the wafer will be dropped into your hand with no contact. (Also, only the Celebrant will handle the wafers – taking them out of the packaging, placing them on the altar, on the Paten, and into the communicant’s hand. The Celebrant will wash and sanitize his or her hands before the consecration, and will sanitize again on the way to the rear of the church.)
- Everyone is to maintain at least a six-foot distance from the person in front of them on the way in and on the way out.
- We are not allowed to have a Coffee Hour/Fellowship Hour in the Parish House in Phase Orange/Phase Two.
- After we have all cleared the church, a team of volunteers will sanitize the church inside all over again.
We must all enter into this with the understanding that there is no such thing as a completely safe indoor environment. The precautions we are taking are best practices as detailed by Public Health Officials in concert with Diocesan Staff to provide as great a degree of safety as possible. If you have any reason to need to stay at home, please be advised to do so and join us on the Live Stream offered on our Facebook Page and our Parish Website. We are each the best judge of what will be the safest practices for ourselves.
Again, remember, we have agreed to follow the Guidelines of the Diocese of Maryland which will differ than those of the County, the State of Maryland, and those of other denominations. The governor’s recent announcement does not change our current guidelines. These guidelines aim to create as safe an environment as possible in Phase Orange/Phase Two. We will always update you on any changes made along the way!