May 26, 2020
St. George’s Episcopal Memorial Church
Protocols For Public Worship
[Note: The Standing Committee of the Diocese has issued protocols for returning to public worship in our churches. Some of these protocols are definitive and not subject to modification by the churches, others are issued as suggestions, with guidelines for local decisions. This list of protocols is based upon the directive from the Standing Committee and is applicable only to St. George’s. These protocols were agreed upon by the Vestry and Canon Hal at a special meeting of the Vestry on May 26th, and are subject to revision and modification.]
The Standing Committee has determined that St. George’s may reopen for public worship on Sunday, May 31st. Because the Vestry and Canon Hal have continuing health concerns related to public gatherings, no firm decision was made for the reopening of St. George’s for public worship. This decision will be revisited in mid-June and will include available statistics reflecting new COVID-19 cases in Burleigh County.
It was agreed that St. George’s will continue to live-stream the Sunday service and that resources will be dedicated to enhancing and improving the live-streaming. This project will be fast-tracked.
The following Protocols will be in effect, when public worship services return to St. George’s and are subject to change
Everyone attending a worship service will be required to wear a mask. The Greeters will monitor and enforce this requirement. Masks will be available for those who enter the Church without one. Notices will be posted setting out the relevant protocols to be observed.
Hand sanitizer will be available and its use will be strongly encouraged by the Greeters.
Bibles, Prayer Books, and Hymnals will have been removed from the pews. Service booklets will be available on the table in the Narthex, and the Greeters will be available to answer questions concerning the booklets and the service.
Seating in the pews will be subject to social distancing. Pews will be marked to indicate which ones are available for seating and the number of persons allowed in a pew, and which pews are closed to seating. The Greeters will explain the seating requirements.
Greeters will stand outside the Nave, at least 6’ from the path of those entering the Church. The Greeters will make sure service booklets are picked up by everyone attending the service, and will provide instructions concerning seating and other protocols, and will answer any questions attendees may have concerning the service.
No physical contact is allowed when passing the peace. The people must remain in their pews at this time.
A collection will not be taken during the Offertory. Plates for offerings will be available at the entrance to the Nave before and after the service.
As we phase into public worship, a Prayer of Spiritual Communion will be offered following the consecration of the bread and wine. The Sacraments will not be distributed to those in attendance. This will be familiar to those who have viewed an on-line service from the Washington National Cathedral. This will be under continual review and modification.
There will be no choir and, although there will be no singing, special music, including soloists, may be provided.
The nursery will not be open during services.
Fellowship Following the Service
The Rita Murphy Hall will be closed before, during, and after the service.
The pews will be cleaned and sanitized, as necessary and appropriate.
Members of the Altar Guild will wash their hands before and after preparing and placing the vessels on the Credence Table, and may also wear gloves, as they perform their tasks.
The counters will wash their hands before and after counting and sorting the offerings, and may wear gloves.
These protocols will be reviewed by the Vestry and Canon Hal on an ongoing basis as St. George’s returns to public worship. Comments and suggestions concerning the public worship services and these protocols are encouraged.