All of our worship times are occurring as they did before the COVID lockdowns. We have configured the nave of the church following social distancing advice. Our pews are installed 3 feet, 4 inches apart. Every other pew has been blocked off. This ensures that everyone is at least 6 feet, 8 inches apart when seated, standing, or kneeling. The blocked off pews will be staggered on the Epistle and Gospel sides of the nave which will keep everyone at least 7 feet apart across the center aisle. Many of you are visual and this description might be a bit difficult to understand but it will make sense once you see it. Also, each pew is 14 feet long and will be marked to show a 6 feet separation when people are seated at each end of the pew.
The capacity in the church itself is 140 souls. The 50% of capacity rule in the North Carolina Governor’s Executive Orders allows up to have 70 people in the church. We have not exceeded more than 50 people in the church at one time since the church re-opened in May. Should we exceed that number, the excess attendees will be dispersed to the parish hall, where the large screen television will show the worship celebration occurring.
When coming to the altar to receive Holy Communion, please spread out to distance yourselves from one another. This will certainly add a little time to receiving Communion but it is well worth the time as we care for one another in this way. In the matter of receiving Holy Communion itself, please see the section below on receiving Holy Communion.
Wearing of Masks
As appropriate social distancing guidelines from the CDC are in effect in the church, masks are not required. If the wearing of masks makes you feel more comfortable inside the building, please feel free to do so. If you forget your mask, but wish to wear one, disposable masks are available on the bulletin table just inside the main entryway of the church.
The introduction of fresh air into an enclosed environment is considered a “best practice” by the CDC. As a consequence of that, our windows will be open during worship times. Since winter has arrived, please consider keeping your outside winter clothing with you in the church to help keep you warm.
We do not “pass the plate” at offertory time for obvious sanitary reasons. The offering plate will be at the back of the nave where you walk in and you may drop your check or cash in it. The offerings are blessed at the end of each service.
Bulletins will not be passed out but you may pick one up in the entryway as you come in.
All commonly touched areas on the pews, altar rail, door handles, etc. will be sanitized after each service.
Receiving Holy Communion
Much has been written about how we receive Holy Communion as Anglican Christians. Please read Fr. Erich’s words in his newsletter from earlier this year for an in-depth explanation of “why we do what we do” when receiving Communion, especially during a time such as this.
When you join us for Holy Communion, the host (the Body of our Savior) will be placed in your open palm by the priest. Please consume the host immediately. Then another minister will deliver to you the Common Cup (the Blood of Christ), also known as the chalice. Merely grab the bottom lip of the chalice and tilt it toward you, guiding it to your lips. Please do not grab the upper cup of the chalice when guiding the chalice to your lips. This ensures that you do not touch the chalice bearer’s hands.
The other way to receive Holy Communion during this time, if you cannot settle your conscience about partaking of the Common Cup, is to receive only the host. The Church teaches that the fullness of the Sacrament abides in either the consecrated bread or the consecrated wine, the Body or the Blood, so if you do this, you will still be fully participating in the Messianic banquet of the Holy Communion. If you decide to do this, please bow your head and cross your arms across your chest after you receive the Body. This will signal the chalice bearer to pass you by.
We do not allow the practice of intinction (when the chalice bearer picks up the host from your hand, dips it in the chalice, and places it on your tongue). When this is done, the chalice bearer’s fingers touch every hand and whatever everyone has touched gets transferred to his hands and, hence, to you. This makes it impossible to keep the distribution of Communion as sanitary as possible. If you forget and leave the host on your hand, the chalice bearer will not stop in front of you.
If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to contact the church office at 828-891-7216. We are more than happy to answer any of your questions or concerns.