When will regular worship services resume?
FR. DAVID’S BLOG OF 05/30/2020 — The easy answer to the above is, I don’t know. This is hard to hear but I cannot give you a definite date when Sunday church services will resume.
One of my responsibilities as rector is to make sure everyone is safe and healthy. Only after we have developed a plan can we do that, a plan that seriously takes into account Governor Carney’s guidelines published last week outlining what houses of worship must adhere to before considering reopening, a plan that also reflects the guidelines to be released early next week by the Episcopal Church in Delaware. Even then we are a long way from beginning public worship again.
When we do finally gather, it will not be the way it was when we last saw one another on Sunday, March 8. We will need to practice social/physical distancing. Communion will be limited to receiving the bread only (and folks might not be able to receive at the altar rail). Congregational and choral singing will not be permitted due to aerosols in the air which might carry the virus. Coffee hour might not happen. Children’s chapel and adult education might have to take place on-line. As we start meeting again, parishioners age 65 and over will be discouraged from coming to a service. In any case, church attendance will be limited to 30% of fire code if the current guidelines from the governor are in place.
I think you can see from this list we have a long way to go and a great deal to consider in the coming months and possibly into next year. So, I ask all of us to be patient and to continue to pray for one another and meet virtually on-line when we can.
These are challenging times for all of us and it is easy to get discouraged when there is so much uncertainty. And yet this can also be a time to step back and rest. Many of us are working from home, which has taken some getting used to. This is a time to take on or renew spiritual practices such as daily meditation and prayer, reading the scriptures, and finding new ways to be community even if it means seeing each other on a computer screen.
I believe that we will come out of this stronger, but it will take all of us to continue to be safe and healthy and to connect with one another either on the phone, computer or email. We can do this! By all means reach out to me if you would like to talk.
Each day at morning prayer I offer prayers for all of you by name. It takes three weeks to pray the entire parish list and when I pray your name, I can see your face and hope that you are well.
So, my friends, when will be able to see one another again on Sunday morning? Maybe we can do so now. Last Sunday, if you were able to watch the online service, you noticed pictures float across the screen. I was brought to tears to see many of you. Please consider sending a current or past picture in so we might include it in the video recording. Click here to use the form on this website. This is one small way we can see one another.
You all remain in my prayers during this time.
Prayer for People Critically Ill or Facing Great Uncertainty
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
-Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765