During the pandemic, some of our sisters and brothers are refraining from leaving their homes. Others venture out only under carefully controlled circumstances. Others are less concerned. But when we gather together, the decisions made by any of us impact all of us. That is why we have established a protocol and covenant for our gatherings in person. This way everyone can know what will be expected of them and what they can expect of one another. Please observe this protocol carefully whenever you are on campus at St. Thomas’: it is how we are showing our love and our compassion for one another during this season.
Seven practices for gathering in Covid-tide
- Wearing a mask (covering both mouth and nose)
- Remaining six feet apart from anyone you don’t live with
- Refraining from touching, hugging and shaking hands – even during the Peace
- There will be no singing
- Service bulletins you have touched must be taken home
- After the service everyone must disperse with no lingering
- No sharing of common objects such as pens, paper, etc.
Resources guiding our practice
First of all, as a part of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of New Jersey, we heed the advice and instruction of our Bishop. You can see a page of videos and information about re-opening provided by our Diocese. This includes guidance from our Bishop, medical experts, and liturgical experts.
There is a RRR Task Force Report that continues to be updated: our specific instructions generally derive from this.
Finally, there is the customized re-opening plan that St. Thomas’ designed and for which we received approval from our Bishop. This plan is the agreement we made with the Diocese in order to receive permission to begin meeting in person again. It is the plan we will follow until advised otherwise.
Additionally, we pay attention to our state and federal governments as they provide guidance, advice, and resources in the face of the novel challenge that Covid-19 represents.
Our foremost guiding principal is the command of Jesus that we love one another. These are the ways we, as a church community, are finding to obey that command.