Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
Dear St. Paul’s Family and Friends,On November 17th, Bishop Tom Breidenthal sent a pastoral note to churches in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, drawing attention to the rising number of COVID-19 cases reported per day in the diocese. Bishop Breidenthal urged lay and clergy leaders to suspend in person worship until cases decrease. The following day, Montgomery County authorities announced a stay-at-home directive, recommending residents of the County to restrict their travel as much as possible. This comes just days after the announcement of a curfew from 10pm-5am.
That same evening as the Bishop sent his letter, members of the Vestry of St. Paul’s and Fr. Dan discussed the Bishop’s note and guidance. We have carefully weighed the needs of our community as we best understand them. We also considered what we currently offer, and how we can tailor our resources to meet our community’s needs while also honoring the Bishop’s guidance and the County’s announcements.
Having considered all these factors, we developed a compromise. Beginning this Sunday, November 22, St. Paul’s worship times will remain the same, with two Eucharists (9am and 11am). However, the 30 minute 9am service will remain an in-person service and the 11am service will transition to an online-only service until COVID conditions improve. Additionally, we will suspend in-person coffee hour for the time being.
We encourage all of our congregants to take part in worship through our several online/virtual opportunities, from 11am on Sunday to our Morning Prayer (Monday-Thursday). Congregants who wish to worship in-person may do so on Sunday at 9am. We strongly encourage those that elect to attend in-person RSVP by reserving an advanced ticket for contact tracing purposes.
During this frustrating and bewildering time, when tensions are high and advice from governing bodies can be confusing and controversial, we are all invited to ask ourselves how can we care for one another. Many have been impacted by this virus, not only in their health, but also in their employment and life circumstances. The national scope of COVID 19 is out of our individual hands. But we do have an impact on the lives of those in our local communities. We can honor them through practicing recommended COVID protocols. We hope all take advantage of the invitation to reflect on how we can honor our neighbors and share love with one another. What can I do to care for my neighbor? How can I show love?
Thank you for your understanding as we navigate the next few weeks with the hope that we will be able to enjoy each other’s fellowship in person in the near future.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
Dan McClain, Priest-in-charge Paul Sampson, Senior Warden
November 13, 2020
Dear St. Paul’s Family,
The leadership of St. Paul’s, in collaboration with the staff and the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, has established some new protocols and procedures in order to ensure our well-being during this challenging time. I want you to know about them so that you can be as informed as possible as you make decisions about your ongoing participation in our common life together and feel confident about our corporate and individual choices.
As you already know, we instituted an RSVP system a couple of weeks ago, beginning with our All Saints Eucharist on Nov. 1, 2020. While potentially cumbersome, and undoubtedly it’s odd to have to reserve ‘tickets’ for church, this RSVP system, through Eventbrite, allows us to trace all attendance in the case that we learn about parishioners or other attendees who subsequently test positive for COVID.
In addition to contact tracing, we are prepared to follow all state, county, and diocesan guidelines, such as having affected parts of the building cleaned and treated, as we have done since late Spring. And, of course, we continue to observe standard operating protocols on a daily basis in the church.
I’m pleased to report that these protocols have been successful. And we have many
individuals and teams at the church to thank for this success.
The wellbeing, physical and spiritual, of our congregants and staff is my top priority as your priest. If you have any questions about specific procedures, I welcome your call or email.
The Rev’d Dr. Daniel Wade McClain
Priest-in-Charge, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church