St. Peter’s will be extending the period of no in-person gathering through the month of June, in accordance with Governor Mills’ briefings and on the advice of Bishop Brown. You can get up-to-date information on the impact of the Corona Virus on the Diocese of Maine on the diocesan website.
The Vestry will be meeting in early June to begin a process of evaluating when and how to make in-person gatherings safe at St. Peter’s. Lael sent an Update on parish plans, as follows. You can download her letter here.
For the next five weeks (the last week of May and all of June) we will be thinking through and planning for a return to in-person gatherings at St. Peter’s, including in-person worship. We will also be discussing the possibility of a more robust online presence at St. Peter’s both in the event of a delay in return to in-person worship and to supplement in-person worship even after we resume being able to gather.
At our May vestry meeting, members received guidelines for preparing to resume in-person worship put forward by the Diocese of Maine and in conjunction with the Maine governor’s office and Maine CDC. That document is available from the parish office on request. The current requirements are subject to change but, for now, are challenging to worship as we have known it in our space:
- We would need to schedule services with no more than 30 persons maximum in our sanctuary to maintain appropriate social distancing.
- All would need to wear a mask throughout the service.
- All would need to use hand sanitizer on entrance and exit.
- Names and contact information would need to be recorded for each participant to enable contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 infection.
- The service would not be Holy Eucharist but could be a prayer service (Morning Prayer, Celtic Prayer, Burial Office, e.g.).
- There would be no congregational singing.
- There would be no coffee hour.
As the weather warms up, it is possible that we could do an outdoor Eucharist, where we each brought our own bread and wine (or grape juice). Other possibilities are being explored, but we want to hear from you, too. Over the next weeks, we will be sending out a survey, and vestry members will be joining in on follow-up calls to learn your thoughts and concerns about resuming in-person worship and your feelings/thoughts about online worship.
In the meantime, we will continue to provide links to our own and others’ online Sunday worship opportunities and to our Zoom coffee hour. Bible Study and parish committee meetings continue online. Marty Rogers and team are continuing our parish-wide calls, and Loaves & Fishes continues to serve to-go meals. So, we are still actively church. Please know each of you remains in my prayers; I invite you to keep me in yours.