Millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life; This is what it means to be a community of faith. But as we have been aware since Easter Sunday, a congregation of people also presents a risk for increasing the spread of Coronavirus. Safety is everyone’s first concern, not only for congregants but for staff. The in-person liturgy has been replaced by online worship until such time when they can safely reconvene.
The CDC.org is very specific on first amendment rights. They point out that “Guidance is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or any other federal law.” While the federal government does not prescribe standards for worshiping, churches are now facing the difficult decision of when to resume services and how to do so safely. Matthew 22:37-39 is also very clear: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And the second is like unto it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Covid Translation: We need to protect ourselves and others for getting infected. Uncomplicated advice from sacred text and scripture.
Here’s What Your Parish Might Look Like Because of Covid19:
- Remote Services. Congregants are attending services virtually and this may continue, especially for high risks groups.
- Wine and Wafers. Communion rituals are bound to be altered from shared communion cups to hand presented wafers.
- Services. They could be moved to ventilated or outdoor areas.
- Offertory. Look for a “drop-in” stationary box or electronic methods for contributions instead of shared collection baskets.
- Order of Mass. The Peace offering where we greet one another will not involve handshakes, hugs or kisses.
- Physical Guides. Think tape on floors or walkways, signage on walls or even one-way path signs.
- Worship Materials. Prayer books, hymnals and bulletins could be replaced by individual printed handouts.
- Choir: How does one sing without a mask? They don’t. Recorded music is a safer bet.
- Pew Cleaning: Increased cleaning and sanitizing between services will be necessary.
Easter Sunday 2020: An Online Service