On June 14, I announced that we would begin examining potential processes designed to enable a gradual return to in-person attendance at our services in the future, of course in strict compliance with State and County COVID-19 rules, including “social distancing”.
On August 2, the State of California required San Mateo County to close indoor operation of certain sectors that “promote the mixing of populations beyond households and make adherence to physical distancing with face coverings difficult”. Within those sectors, the State included Places of Worship, and hence our church.
Earlier, on May 25, our ruling Bishop, Archbishop Kyrill, stated that parishes and monasteries in our Diocese must comply with all State and local County regulations. Therefore, in accordance with our Bishop’s and County requirements, our parish will (temporarily) transition to “outdoor” services.
Those who attend services may stand in the courtyard outside of the main doors of our church, on the El Camino Real side of our property. Individuals and household clusters who attend services will need to maintain 6-foot social distancing and wear face covering. We have installed sun shades to maximize comfort of attendees. We also installed sound absorbing pads on the street-side fence, two loudspeakers and a large TV outside. For all others, we will continue to Livestream our services.
As defined in our COVID-19 Prevention Plan, our church remains Closed to ad hoc attendance. Therefore, we will continue our existing process of in-person invitations. As before, each of us who attends a service:
(1) will need to perform self-study (which means read and understand) "Training Link", which includes California Guidance for The Use of Face Covering, dated June 18, 2020,
(2) upon arrival to church, be prepared to (verbally) declare that you meet the requirements of the training program for entry into our church, (at home temperature measurement, self-assessment of COVID-19 symptoms, etc.), and
(3) commit to maintaining “social distancing” and wearing a face cover.
Initially, we will not have assigned locations in our courtyard; each individual and household cluster will be trusted to self-ensure that their locations in our courtyard are socially-distanced. (NOTE that the average width of an automobile is approximately 6.5 feet. Therefore, seek to distance approximately one car width.) If we determine that more specific guidance on locations is necessary, we will provide our Ushers with that additional guidance, which we will ask you to implement.
Those who attend services and wish to partake of the Holy Mysteries will need to maintain 6-foot social distancing while approaching and departing from the Holy Mysteries. The manner of receiving Communion will be generally the same as it has been, and under the auspices of the Pastor. All existing protocols related to after-service Communion remain unchanged.
Click here to see a diagram that illustrates the flow of attendees that is intended to minimize inter-person crossflow.
I recognize that the transition from indoor to outdoor attendance of our services is challenging. However, please remain strengthened by the words of our Lord: “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's”. Even with all the restrictions and rules, we must thank God that we remain able to continue our services. Your prayers and cooperation are essential. God bless you.
As before, we are having General Confession during this difficult time. If anyone wishes to have a more complete and private confession by phone, this can be arranged by calling me at (650) 430-9805. If I am unable to answer, please leave your name and number and I will call you back. Of course, you should NOT leave a recording of your confession.