As I said Sunday, Bishop Wright issued new Covid protocols on Friday afternoon in response to the CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated people can go without their masks in many instances. The new protocols are lengthy and complicated, so on Monday I met with Cameron, senior warden Bob Longino, and Lori Westphal, who has a degree in public health, to go through them and figure out what works for us at St. Dunstan’s.
The two main areas where there will be changes are in seating and music. All changes will begin on June 6.
Seating — We will have sections of open seating and reserved seating. The far right quadrant of pews will be the reserved seating. The distances that we are observing now (every other pew empty, six feet between “pods” of people) will be in place there. This quadrant will also have assigned seats. It is reserved for those who have not been fully vaccinated OR those who just are not yet comfortable with being too close to someone else.
The two middle quadrants will be for those who have been fully vaccinated. Those quadrants will have “open seating,” meaning there are no spacing requirements and you may sit where and with whom you choose.
Sign ups are still required. There will be a way for you to designate whether you want reserved or open seating.
Music — The choir can come back!!! The new protocols allow the choir to rehearse and sing inside or outside without masks. Only people who are fully vaccinated may sing in the choir. (The reason the “reserved seating quadrant” is on the far right is because it puts those seated there the farthest away from the choir.)
Communion — Communion is still bread only. The choir and two sections of open seating will come to the communion rail. I will take communion to those who are in the reserved seating.
Bulletins — We can now distribute printed service bulletins. (Actually we’ve been doing that the last couple of weeks, but now we can do it without breaking the protocols.)
Here is what will not change on June 6:
Masks — are still required for everyone. The choir may take their masks off to sing, and the celebrant, preacher, and lector may remove theirs when they are speaking.
Processions — Still no procession, but we will be adding that back before too long.
Others — Still no congregational singing. Still no passing of the peace (actually you may with the people around you, but no free for all in the middle of the aisles, or walking across the room to greet someone). Still no nursery or childcare (hopefully soon!) and still no coffee hour. And in music, still no wind instruments.
These changes take us a few steps closer to “normal.” We have tried to offer protection to those who are not vaccinated or still prefer to be cautious while loosening some of the restrictions for others. And of course, the service will continue to be live streamed on Facebook.
Remember that all this begins June 6. I hope we will be able to add more things in the months ahead. I’ll keep you informed as the protocols continue to change.
And here is the sign up for this Sunday. It’s Pentecost which means wear red! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050F49ACA822A1FD0-church12