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Updated Guidelines For Congregational Life

Updated Guidelines for Congregational Life

Late last week Bishop Reed updated the COVID-19 guidelines for a Modified Return to Congregational Life.

Churches that have resumed in-person worship are still required to adhere to the previous guidelines:

  • wear face masks;
  • maintain social distance of six feet;
  • practice good hygiene; and
  • sanitize common areas.

Under a previous amendment of the guidelines churches may hold in-person vestry meetings, host in-person AA and 12 step recovery meetings, and resume outreach ministries that meet immediate needs.

Earlier this month bishop Reed gave the Epsicopal School of the diocese permission to reopen after developing a plan to implement CDC guidelines and obtaining vestry approval of the start date for in-person classes. Our school has prepared the appropriate guidelines and the vestry has given permission for in-person classes to begin Monday, August 24, 2020.

Under the Bishop’s newest guidelines churches may

  • Offer in-person gatherings for education and formation classes for all ages;
  • Provide childcare;
  • Allow outside groups to resume in-person meetings;
  • Baptize; and
  • Permit clergy to visit the dying and offer the sacraments.

The Bishop is not mandating these things but giving permission to resume these activities beginning September 14 under the following conditions:

  • Approval by the clergy and vestry; and
  • Development of a written plan for the activities that has been approved of by the Diocese and communicated to the congregation.

At its regular meeting earlier this week the vestry decided to not resume additional in-person activities at this time. This decision was based on wanting to wait and see what happens following the Labor Day weekend and the return to school, the current number of cases per capita and the positivity rate, and needing time to conduct a survey about how many people will return to additional in-person activities. Depending on the situation over the next few weeks the vestry will consider the possibility of resuming further in-person activities in early October.

Next week you will receive a survey that will assist the vestry in discerning what is the next right thing for St. Philip’s to do. Please respond to the survey at your earliest convenience.

Please feel free to contact me or any vestry member if you have questions or if you have or know of anyone who has pastoral needs at this time.

God’s peace be with you, — Mike+

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