Oh, how that question is etched in the minds of countless parents and children who have endured a long journey and are anxiously awaiting the arrival at their destination. Little ones, especially, struggle with both temporal and spatial relations and therefore think arrival should come unrealistically quickly.
I have to confess, I have been, more often than I care to admit, like a little one in the face of our pandemic journey. I have at times had little grasp of the temporal dimensions that typify a pandemic. In fact, I remember reading with great incredulity back in March, as we were just beginning this crazy time, how we were largely preparing for something akin to a blizzard while some were telling us to prepare for a season winter and even others for something more like an ice age.
Indeed, we just do not and cannot know the scope or trajectory of this pandemic. We do our best to respond faithfully with the best information we have at any given time privileging the protecting of vulnerable lives over most other considerations because we believe that is the call of God.
Are we there yet? Not even close, I’m afraid. We are in for months and years of working through the public health and economic results of the novel coronavirus. I’m certain, though, that we will find a new normal, and in that new normal we will find life, community, joy, purpose…God.
AND, we are ready to move into one new way of being the Church and of sharing in our life of prayer and sacraments. Beginning this Sunday, we will OPEN THE CHURCH for private prayer and the reception of communion from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. For this to work, everyone who plans to come must follow all these guidelines. These are not optional. Please do not come to the church if you will not abide by these.
- Please do not simply come right at 1:00 p.m. We need people to stagger their times so that we can manage a few people in the church at any given moment. If a large number of people show up at 1:00 p.m., they will be waiting outside in the cloister or sent home to return later. Please do not simply come right at 1:00 p.m. We need people to stagger their times so that we can manage a few people in the church at any given moment. If a large number of people show up at 1:00 p.m., they will be waiting outside in the cloister or sent home to return later.
- If you encounter others, with whom you do not reside, anywhere on the property, inside or outside, you must maintain at least six feet of distance at all times. If you feel the need to get close or have a long conversation, please make arrangements to do that elsewhere, as we are simply not equipped for this kind of interaction.
- WEAR A MASK. This is not optional, and anyone without a mask will be asked to leave immediately.
- Park on Barton Avenue in a marked parking spot or on Via Bethesda.
- Enter the West Cloister (the part of the covered walkway that faces South County Road). Do not enter the church grounds from Barton Ave between the church and the rectory or from Via Bethesda between the building and the columbarium.
- When you arrive at the Narthex, someone will be there to make a brief video recording of each person stating their name and telephone number. This is the safest way we can keep a record for possible contact tracing should we need it.
- As you enter the church, use some hand sanitizer and then take a Post-it note from off the back pew.
- Find a place to sit in the nave that does not already have a Post-it note on it and is three pews and six feet away from anyone else present.
- Before you sit down, affix your Post-it note to the pew so that others will know not to sit there later.
- Please avail yourself of the quiet beauty for your own time of prayer for five or ten minutes. NOTE, there is no service or liturgy. The hymnals and prayer books have been removed from the pew racks, so if you want an aid for your prayer time, please bring it with you.
- After your prayer, make your way up the center aisle and over to the Chapel (on the left).
- If you attended the online service that morning and wish to receive communion:
- Use the hand sanitizer on the table next to the chapel altar rail
- Remove your mask
- Put one hand out, palm open flat, facing upward
- The priest or Eucharistic minister will place the host in your hand
- Do NOT try to take the host with your fingers, just let the minister place it in your palm without touching your hand.
- Receive the host, put your mask back on and exit the church by the chapel doorway (to the left of the chapel as you face the altar)
We know this isn’t the same as having a Eucharist together. We know this isn’t where we want to be. We are already making plans for a weekly Eucharist on-site to come soon. We know this isn’t where any of us want to be, but thankfully, God is with us on the journey, every challenging step of the way.
And I promise, we’re getting there.