|Posted by communications on May 13, 2020 at 5:30 PM|
This past week, Kevin and I attended our annual Clergy Conference, held entirely online. Part of the conference was devoted to a presentation from the Diocese of North Carolina's Task Force on Reopening. The bishops shared a preview of the guidelines they are working on which will be officially released soon. When that information is made available, we will share it with you. For now, I will share a few important highlights:
• The current moratorium on public worship and building use is extended past the original date of May 17. We're currently in what they are calling Stage 1. We will not move into Stage 2 of reopening until virus cases and deaths are on the decline in our state and adequate testing, tracing, and personal protection equipment are widely available. If we move into Stage 2 and the situation in North Carolina then gets worse, we could potentially go back to Stage 1 again. In laying out these stages, our Bishops seek to keep all of us as safe and healthy as possible.
• As Kevin shared with you on Sunday, we've been asked to wear masks as we lead worship from the church building whenever we are around anyone not from our household. And as I addressed in last week's newsletter, we are no longer singing in the nave unless it is pre-recorded with nobody else present.
• I said this in last week's newsletter, but it bears repeating: even as we get to the point of adding in-person gatherings back into our worship life, we will continue to offer online worship. We are learning so much about how to engage the community in online worship and we will take what we've learned into our future.
• The Diocese has asked parishes to begin working on plans for implementing our next stage of reopening. Stage 2 will still be extremely limited, whenever it occurs. Right now, we are pulling together a group from among the vestry, clergy, staff, and others to help design our plan for reopening gradually when we are allowed to do so. As a church community, we will be guided by both public health recommendations and Gospel values. When the time comes, we will have protocols in place to regather joyfully and safely. There is no blueprint for this. We ask for your prayers as we undertake this important work.
St. Alban's, thank you for your faithfulness, tenacity, and graciousness. Many of you have reached out to me with messages of support and encouragement, and I am incredibly grateful for that. Nothing replaces the joy of seeing you in person and worshiping our Lord Jesus together in sacrament and song, but your love and compassion are deeply appreciated.
Yours in Christ,