Regathering for Worship
June 17, 2021
Dear Beloved Parish Family,
Approved Regathering Plan as of May 11, 2021:
Proposed Regathering Date: June 6, 2021 (Other options include May 31, or June 13).
Choosing June 6 to regather forces the Choir Season to end one week early, but allows us several weeks to acclimate to the new pattern before vacation schedules leave us short-handed.
Sunday School can continue at 9 am online and Sunday School teacher and High School/College graduate recognition will be Hybrid, online and in-person.
We will celebrate Holy Eucharist Rite II throughout the summer and return to our “normal” pattern of alternating Sundays of Holy Eucharist and Morning Prayer in the fall. That pattern is as follows: Holy Baptism/Eucharist on the first Sunday, Second and Fourth Sundays are Morning Prayer, Third Sunday is Holy Eucharist, Fifth Sundays when they occur are Holy Eucharist. All services are Rite II.
Regathering is still limited by 6-foot social distancing rules for churches (see attached) so that numbers will be limited by the size of the church to 45-50. Music will be instrumental while we acclimate to in-person worship, with choral singing phased in beginning in August, and more full choral offerings beginning in September. Our partnership and support for the Oyster Bay Music Festival (see below) may yield instrumental musicians for many summer Sundays, which would be wonderful. For the foreseeable future, all programs will be full text, and prayer books will remain in storage. As we add music we will either return hymnals and prayer books to the pews or adjust the formatting of our bulletins to include hymns.
All who wish to attend church at 10 AM can pre-register through REALM. Preregistrations will be available one week in advance and close at either the start of the service or when the service is full, whichever comes first. No vaccination will be required for regathering. Windows and doors will remain open as we have for the last 9 months. Ushers will still check-in attendees for contact tracing purposes. We are able to socialize on the lawns or in the outdoor space, but we cannot have food to share that is not catered. All 10 am services will be streamed for our hybrid congregation. We will need more volunteers to run our streaming system to meet the needs of our distance congregation.
There have been many requests for outdoor worship at 8 am as we did last summer. We are considering offering Holy Eucharist, or Morning Prayer outdoors one Sunday a month.
Space Use Requests:
We are supporting space use requests, particularly from the Oyster Bay Music Festival, and are open to others.
We are asking them to sign a facilities use agreement to use the space for 1 week of rehearsals and performances. The Facilities Use Agreement has been updated with a release of liability and COVID addendum prepared by our counsel at Humes and Wagner. (Attached) We are asking them to follow similar COVID guidelines including social distancing and mask-wearing. We are asking them to pre-register guests and limit attendance to the same number of people as the church (40-50)
We continue to support our congregation through weddings, funerals and baptisms following the same COVID-19 guidelines:
- Capacity for weddings is capped at 50 due to social distancing requirements.
- Funerals are similarly capped.
- Baptisms are individual until we receive new direction from the Diocese. (Of interest we will celebrate 9 baptisms between Easter 2021 and June 20.)
- Streaming is made available to all baptismal and funeral families. Staffed streaming is available at cost through our partnership with StreamIT.
Beginning as soon as next week we hope to make Bleecker Hall available for catered events with limited capacity particularly for repast after funerals. Events in Bleecker Hall will be required to keep the doors open and limit capacity to 50 people. Masks required unless guests are eating or drinking.
We have begun discussions with our recovery ministry partners and hope to support them to regather soon. They will be forced to limit capacity for social distancing reasons, as we have, to 50 people in Bleecker Hall. We will have to ask them to contact trace, which is an obstacle to anonymity. They do not need to share that information with the church, but they need to be able to contact participants in case of COVID illness. As they work to regather we will share details with the Vestry.