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St. Paul's
Episcopal Church

Letter to the Community

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St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

27 Babcock Ave

Plainfield, CT 06374

 

June 15, 2020

 

Greetings fellow Parishioners of St. Paul’s Plainfield!

 

I hope over the last few weeks you have all enjoyed the lovely weather, remained healthy, safe, and faithful.  The vestry met on June 14, 2020 and came to the unanimous decision by those members able to attend virtually to reopen St. Paul’s on July 5, 2020.  For the time-being we have decided as well to do ONE service on Sundays at 9am. Although we are so thrilled to be open I must say the church service overall will be looking quite different and I would like to tell all of you some of the changes to expect when you decide to come back to St. Paul’s.  Please only come back when you feel safe, do not feel pressured to return if your health is putting you in any sort of jeopardy.  

 

Firstly, we WILL be requiring ALL people (ages 3 and older) to wear masks.  If you do not want to wear a mask, or cannot tolerate them then stay home. We really do not want to have to ask you to leave but we will.  Please do not put us in that situation. Due to this decision I myself am making the difficult choice to not bring my children to church for now, my oldest is nearly three and does not tolerate things on his face, and he barely tolerates hats.  

 

Secondly, we WILL NOT be singing, this has been a big issue with the diocese.  Singing makes the droplets go further and if anyone is to sing they need to be 25ft away from others. Our space is simply not large enough. During the peace, we can say hello, and wave. 

 

Thirdly, by recommendation of the diocese there is to be NO communion until further notice. The bishops of Province 1 (our province which includes all of New England) are meeting regularly to discern what communion will look like going forward.  They are exploring many options.  For this reason we will not be using supply clergy until we are able to have communion. 

 

We will NOT be having our weekly coffee hour for the foreseeable future.  

 

We are also asking that you take your temperature at home and do self checks prior to coming into the building. If you go outside the country or knowingly come in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, please self quarantine for 14 days. COVID-19 symptoms include: 

fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. In early May, I filed paperwork with the state to receive a free infrared thermometer and I am still waiting to get it in.  Once it is available it can be used upon request-the usher’s will be using it and able to disinfect it after. We will be using one entrance, there will be tape marking where to sit and where to walk.  This is to keep you all safe.  I hope you all respect the guidelines.  Phase two states that no more than 25% of the capacity of the church be in attendance if inside. Mass may be outdoors too which is something we have done before when weather is permitting. 

 

All commonly used materials will be taken out of the pews (books of common prayer, hymnals, songbooks, bibles, etc) they are being removed because disinfecting them would destroy them. Upon leaving we ask that you take your leaflets which will contain the entirety of the service and toss it into the recycling bin which will be at the exit door OR take it home.  There will be two people needed at the end of the service to clean the pews. One for each side, sharing the pews and lectern on the altar area. 

 

Here are the walking paths in the church. If you are a reader or involved in the service I recommend making sure you are able to get a seat where the center aisle is easily accessible.  Some pews have the center aisle taped off to ensure everyone stays 6ft apart. Pews were the aisle is open people can sit in the middle section. The other pews people need to sit on the edge on the outgoing side. Upon dismissal, dismiss back to front and row by row, maintaining 6ft distance.  This drawing is not to scale. 

Below is a diagram of the altar area, more people can sit up there but for the purpose of morning prayer this will be the design.  Those running the morning prayer services may sit in one of the two places pictured below, this will give enough space for those reading at the lectern. The lectern will hold pieces of paper for the reading instead of a shared book for sanitation purposes.

 

Obviously, church services will be looking differently. I am craving to be reconnected with all of you.  I miss church, I miss seeing you all.  I hope during this time away you thought of “What is God up to in this new missional age,” and “what does the future hold for St. Paul’s.” There are many minor details that will be decided between now and the reopening on July 5, as well as changing expectations going forward.  

 

I am hopeful about this move, there have not been many cases of COVID-19 in this area and I am optimistic in my belief that we will be stronger because of what we have been forced to deal with as a society, and as a parish. Hope to see some of you on July 5th!  

 

I know there is a lot we cannot do, it seems dismal to me as well however I have faith that we will make it through this and come out stronger than ever.  If we have church outdoors I recommend BYOC (bring your own chair) because it will make sanitizing that much simpler. 

 

In Peace, 

 

Alisha Knox

Senior Warden 

Any questions or comments can be directed to myself or a member of the vestry. 

My contact information is 

Cell: 860-942-0369

Email: st.pauls.plainfield.warden@gmail.com

 

See below for helpful links:

Trinity Brooklyn Video page:  https://www.facebook.com/pg/trinitychurchbrooklyn/videos/

Episcopal Church of CT diocesan page on updates on COVID-19 and resources:
https://www.episcopalct.org/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/  from here you can click on other helpful sites

Digital services offered throughout ECCT: https://www.episcopalct.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/4_10_2020_parish_livestream.pdf

All safe church trainings for spring and summer have been postponed dates are still TBD

Lectionary page: https://www.lectionarypage.net/CalndrsIndexes/Calendar2020.html

BCP online: https://episcopalchurch.org/files/book_of_common_prayer.pdf

Bible online (NRSV or New Revised Standard Version): https://www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/

See next page for lectionary readings now through June.
April 25th is the Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist
Collect: Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10, Ephesians 4:7-8,11-16, Mark 1:1-15 or Mark 16:15-20, and Psalm 2 or 2:7-10

April 26th Third Sunday of Easter
Collect: O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Readings: Acts 2:14a, 36-41, 1 Peter 1:17-23, Luke 24:13-35, Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17

May 1st Feast Day of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles
Collect: Almighty God, who gave to your apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Readings: Isaiah 30:18-21, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, John 14:6-14, Psalm 119:33-40

May 3rd Fourth Sunday of Easter
Collect: O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings: Acts 2:42-47, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10, Psalm 23


May 10th Fifth Sunday of Easter
Collect: Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings: Acts 7:55-60, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14, Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16


May 17th Sixth Sunday of Easter
Collect: O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings: Acts 17:22-31, 1 Peter 3:13-22, John 14:15-21, Psalm 66:7-18


May 21st Ascension Day
Collect: Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

or this

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings: Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:15-23, Luke 24:44-53, Psalm 47 or Psalm 93


May 24th Seventh Sunday of Easter
Collect: O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

Readings: Acts 1:6-14, 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11, John 17:1-11, Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36



May 31st Pentecost Sunday / Whitsunday
Collect: Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

or this

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings: Acts 2:1-21or Numbers 11:24-30, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 or Acts 2:1-21,
John 20:19-23 or John 7:37-39, Psalm 104:25-35, 37

Fun Fact for Whitsunday: The Sunday of the feast of Pentecost, seven weeks after Easter, when traditionally many Christians would be baptized, wearing white clothes. According to: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Whitsunday

June 1st The Visitation
Collect: Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings: 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Romans 12:9-16b/a>, Luke 1:39-57, Psalm 113

Collects and lists for Readings taken from:
https://www.lectionarypage.net/CalndrsIndexes/Calendar2020.html