We will begin to open the door for people to come back to services again. However, it will be a gradual re-opening with several temporary measures that you need to be aware of and observe. They have been directed by our Archbishop but are also in compliance with the recommendations of the State of Oregon. Some will likely be upset by some of these measures, but I encourage you to be grateful that we are at least moving in the right direction and that more and more people will be able to return to our common liturgical life and to Holy Communion. Others will still be hesitant to come to church, even though they could. They may feel that opening the church is premature. Let us not be quick to judge, but rather bear one another in prayer and mutual love as Christians ought.
Starting this weekend, I will serve two liturgies: Saturday, 9.00 am and Sunday 9.00 am. We will also have Vespers on Saturday night at 6.00 pm.
Observe the following:
- We are limited to 25 people in any service. Therefore, in order to attend you will need to “reserve a spot”. You can do that online here, or, if you cannot do that, contact me and I will do it for you.
- Before coming to church you need to take your temperature. If you are running a fever you may not attend. Also, if you feel sick, cough or have shortness of breath – stay or return home.
- Wash your hands with water and soap or sanitizer prior to the service.
- When arriving at church you will be met by someone who will make sure that you have a spot, and will tell you where you can stand.
- We will still have to keep 6 feet from each other at all times (that includes the parking lot before and after the service). The exception is of course (out of necessity) when you come up for Communion. We cannot have any lingering on the premise after the service is over. Refrain from shaking hands, hugging or kissing anybody.
- Families and couples (same household) may stand in one spot, but remember that we are still limited to 25 people at this point. If a family cannot guarantee that small children stay in their space during the service, then they better not attend yet.
- You will be asked to wear a face mask while in church, except during Communion. This does not apply to singers and servers. Children under 10 also are not required to wear a mask. You are encouraged to bring your own, but we will have disposable ones available.
- Do not touch anything in church if you do not have to. Candles will be handled by a designated person, who will light them for you before the service starts.
- No donation plate will be passed around for the time being, please put your tithes and offerings in the donation box in the back of the church!
- When entering church, you should bow only when venerateing icons (not kiss). Likewise, you will not kiss the cross, the Chalice or the priest’s hand at this point.
- Cover your mouth with tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- High risk or vulnerable parishioners (as defined by health authorities) are encouraged to stay home.
Communion will happen in the following manner:
- Communion will be served at the normal time in the Liturgy.
- Do not line up close to one another, keep distance from others when approaching the chalice.
- Each communicant will be communed with an individual (but not disposable) spoon. You should close your mouth around it as you would normally do during Communion (no tipping of the spoon). The Communion spoons are submerged and cleaned in boiling water after each Liturgy.
- Do not grab the cloth napkin or wipe your mouth on it. Do not kiss the Chalice. Instead move to the side and wipe your mouth with a paper napkin and immediately put it in the bin to the left. The paper napkins will be collected and burned as they have touched the Holy Things.
As I mentioned above, we will have Liturgy on Saturday and Sunday morning, each with up to 25 people. That number includes Altar servers and singers, meaning that the services will likely fill up pretty quickly. If you find that both services are full, please let me know – as you will be given preference in future services.
Needless to say, inquirers and catechumens are also welcome to attend.
Prepare for Communion as you should: with prayer, fasting and recent Confession.