Health and Safety: the Coronavirus

Health and Safety: the Coronavirus

3/11/2020 - Health and Safety COVID-19: Guidelines for Church and Home

Click here for a linkable copy of the message on 3/11/2020: conta.cc/33clhwH

Updated protocols and suggestions

Dear Friends,

We have updated the list of precautions and readiness strategies that the Office of the Bishop sent out last week. In this list you will find updates and additions for:


  • The font and standing holy water

  • Usher protocols for greeting and bulletins

  • Collecting the offering

  • Instructions on the common cup

  • Instruction to use communion stations instead of serving at the altar rail

  • Cleaning instructions for spaces used by people in your church

  • Visiting the sick, elderly or those asking for communion

Public health is divided by county in California. Please refer to your local public health department webpage.


Please share these guidelines directly with your parishioners.


This list and its additions have been created with the following values in mind.


  • We will support public health initiatives as they are made known

  • We will strive to protect the 15% who we know to be most vulnerable

  • We will work to slow the progression of illness through prevention and mitigation

Remember, these revisions and suggestions are in place for this time period. We can look with hope to the future when the guidelines suggested in this document will be unnecessary and we will return to our usual practices. 



Blessed is the LORD! for he has heard the voice of my prayer. The LORD is my strength and my shield;my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped;Psalm 28: 7,8



 

Our Values

  • We will support public health initiatives as they are made known
  • We will strive to protect the 15% who we know to be most vulnerable
  • We will work to slow the progression of illness through prevention and mitigation

Bishop Megan reminds us to, “keep in our minds and our hearts, that these revisions and suggestions are in place for a time period. We can look with hope to the future when the guidelines suggested in this document will be unnecessary, and we will return to our usual practices.”

General Prevention: Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands

Gathering and Worship Practices

Greeters and Ushers - avoid handshakes or hugs

  • Make sure that people use hand sanitizer upon entering the building 
  • Greet them with a smile (not a handshake) and a small dab of sanitizer
  • Place bulletins on a table and guide worshipers to pick up their own

Offering Plates - avoid passing the offering plate during your service

  • Have a few plates placed centrally in your worship space to collect offerings 
  • Make announcements that explain this new procedure
  • Utilize online giving  

Font and Stoup - Drain standing holy water from all containers

  • Do not maintain a font or open vessel of standing holy water near the entrance to or anywhere in the church
  • Use baptismal symbols, such as an icon of the baptism of Jesus, river rock, or even sand, to symbolize the Lenten journey, in place of water in these vessels

Passing the Peace - Use an alternative greeting to shaking hands

  • Bow to one another with your hands in a prayer position
  • Place your hands on your heart, and say “peace be with you” 
  • No hugs, kisses, or getting too close to each other’s faces
  • Teach a greeting in ASL, such as God loves you

Eucharist - Follow these steps:

  • All service ministers, clergy and lay, should wash hands with soap and water directly before worship
  • It is recommended that you use wafers instead of bread to minimize handling 
  • All service leaders should use hand sanitizer during the offertory

Regarding Communion Wine - Direction from Bishop Megan:

  • At the discretion of the Clergy-in-Charge, you may decide to serve communion in one kind
  • Please have a small amount of wine presented at the offertory
  • Pour the wine into the chalice and pray the Eucharistic Prayer, as usual, consecrating bread and wine
  • Leave the chalice on the altar; there to honor and represent Christ’s blood for all
  • No one should consume the wine during the service
  • It should be returned reverently to the earth following the service
  • Use this as a time of teaching:
    • about spiritual communion
    • of the completeness of communion in one kind
    • allow space for confusion or grief
  • No intinction or dipping is allowed

Serving Communion - Please follow these guidelines:

  • Serve the Eucharist from communion stations in front of the altar rail, avoiding contact with the rail, so as to minimize germ transmission.
  • If you choose to serve communion in both kinds:
    • If participants do not want to sip from the common cup, let them receive the bread and acknowledge the cup as they pass the chalice bearer
    • Do not allow dipping of bread in the wine, (intinction) as it spreads germs and is unclean. The chalice bearer will not intinct either, as this is also problematic
  • This is a good moment to remember a core principle of our Eucharistic theology: the sacrament is complete when administered in just one kind (in this case, the consecrated bread) 

Eucharistic Visitors and Visiting the Elderly - Weigh the benefit to risk:

  • Determine whether the visit is essential
  • Follow the General Prevention guidelines outlined at the top of this document
  • Do not put yourself or others at risk of getting ill
  • If you are feeling sick, or hear that the one your are to visit is feeling ill, don’t visit
  • Engage these folks with virtual visits through a phone call or video calling (FaceTime)
    • This may involve some teaching in how to use this technology
    • Work with staff and caregivers to help instruct the parishioner
  • Follow the recommendations of the public health departments and the care facilities in your area

Cleaning - There are several cleaning practices that should be observed:

  • Sanitize the altar rail after each service
  • Sanitize pew/chair tops after each service
  • Clean communion vessels thoroughly after each service with soap and hot water
  • Use new linen for each service
  • Sanitize doorknobs and push bars after each service
  • Sanitize all spaces after use: table tops, chairs, counter tops, etc.
  • Organize volunteer teams to sanitize a room after use
    • Require the group using the space to sanitize as a condition of using the space

Preventative measures for home and church

Be ready at home:

If you or a loved one gets sick and is asked to self-quarantine, here are some things you might want to have on hand as an extra supply:

Plan for possible school closings:

  • Coordinate with other families for care
  • Have supplies on hand for continued learning and activity 

Be ready at church:

  • Follow the current guidelines for the prudent care of your people. In addition to the instructions to avoid intinction, those who are concerned should just receive communion in one kind: the blessed bread. After receiving the bread, simply cross your arms and acknowledge the chalice
  • Make sure telephone lists are up to date; especially noting those in any health frailty
  • Practice your parish phone tree, and make sure that you have designated leaders assigned to check in by phone with your members
  • We will not cancel worship. We worship God regularly, including Sunday worship, and we expect our clergy to lead Sunday worship and proclaim the Gospel. There are many parishioners who have already chosen to stay home for personal health reasons. We need to plan for this and make alternate virtual worship available as the need arises
  • Be ready to support prayer at home so those who need to refrain from crowds will be connected:
  • With a guide for simple morning prayer and daily home worship
  • Providing worship online through another church’s link
  • Streaming your own worship, so home-bound members can participate
  • Worship resources:  
  • Streaming Resources:  
  • We are working with our deans and other church leaders to support one another in alternate worship possibilities and will share resources here in the coming days

At this time, we do not anticipate that you would need to close your church building. If we are asked by public health officials to cancel events, we will ask you to use virtual meetings, if possible. We encourage you to make gatherings and meetings available virtually, but that at minimum the clergy, wardens, and key lay leaders will keep our doors open and provide safe gathering spaces for those who choose to come to us. We will discuss church closures on a case by case basis in the unlikely event of a major quarantine.


Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of your servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, we may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BCP 832 #60

Click here for a linkable copy of the message on 3/11/2020: conta.cc/33clhwH


3/5/2020 - Health and Safety: COVID-19

Dear Friends in Christ,

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...

You will not fear the terror of night, 

nor the arrow that flies by day, 

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, 

nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Ps 91:1, 5 & 6

The Psalms echo the concerns of our hearts so evocatively. The 91st Psalm has been of comfort and strength to us for thousands of years. It is very apt for those of us praying and serving through the issues with the coronavirus.

We do dwell under the shadow of God’s protective wings and these words put all of our worries into perspective. As we move through these weeks of prudent care perhaps this psalm will be our prayer; repeated after we listen to the news and if we awake in the middle of the night.

Because of the strength we receive from God, we can encourage others who may be fearful. Along with this we need practical steps in response to the virus.

Last week, we posted out some initial measures to follow as we gather in church communities, as well as at home. We practice these measures not only for our own individual health, but also to protect those who are most vulnerable to infection of any kind: those with existing health issues, the elderly, and those who for whatever reason are susceptible to respiratory viruses like this.

This week, we are expanding our message to include some readiness for ourselves at home, as well as for our church leaders: clergy, administrators, and lay leaders. Some of this will feel unnecessary, and in fact may well be premature for your context. It may be that your area will not suffer a severe outbreak of the virus and I hope that these preventative measures will not be needed.

 In Christ,

+Bishop Megan

Preventative measures for home and church

Be ready at home:

If you or a loved one gets sick and is asked to self-quarantine, here are some things you might want to have on hand as an extra supply:

Paper and cleaning products for your household.

Canned goods and other non-perishable food items so you don’t have to go to the grocery store if you’re feeling bad. Make sure to include some treats: chocolate, coffee, tea, other comfort food items.

Medicine – order an extra month’s supply of essential meds so that you don’t have to wait in line at a pharmacy, or if supply lines are disrupted.

Extra medicines and supplies for respiratory illness.

Health organization guidelines:

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Guidelines from the American Red Cross

Plan for possible school closings: 

Coordinate with other families for care

Have supplies on hand for continued learning and activity

Be ready at church:

Follow the current guidelines for the prudent care of your people. In addition to the instructions to avoid intinction, those who are concerned should just receive communion in one kind: the blessed bread. After receiving the bread, simply cross your arms and acknowledge the chalice. Read more...

Make sure telephone lists are up to date; especially noting those in any health frailty.

Practice your parish phone tree, and make sure that you have designated leaders assigned to check in by phone with your members.

We will not cancel worship. We worship God regularly, including Sunday worship, and we expect our clergy to lead Sunday worship and proclaim the Gospel. There are many parishioners who have already chosen to stay home for personal health reasons. We need to plan for this and make alternate virtual worship available as the need arises.

Be ready to support prayer at home so those who need to refrain from crowds will be connected:

With a guide for simple morning prayer and daily home worship.

Providing worship online through another church’s link.

Streaming your own worship, so home-bound members can participate.

Worship resources:

The Mission of St. Clare provides Morning and Evening Prayer online.

Here is a link to their mobile apps for iPhone or iPad and Android

Streaming Resources:

Facebook Live

FaceTime

Our communications office stands ready to help. Please email us at communications@norcalepiscopal.org with your questions.

We are working with our deans and other church leaders to support one another in alternate worship possibilities and will share resources here in the coming days.

 At this time, we do not anticipate that you would need to close your church building and cancel events. We encourage you to make gatherings and meetings available virtually, but that at minimum the clergy, wardens, and key lay leaders will keep our doors open and provide safe gathering spaces for those who choose to come to us. We will discuss church closures on a case by case basis in the unlikely event of a major quarantine.


Assist us mercifully, O Lord, 

in these our supplications and prayers, 

and dispose the way of thy servants towards the

attainment of everlasting salvation; that, 

among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, 

they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help; 

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BCP 832 #60

Click here for a linkable copy of Bishop Megan's message on 3/5/2020



2/28/2020 - Health and Safety: the Coronavirus

From Bishop Megan

Dear Friends in Christ,

In recent days we have heard of concerns about the Covid-19 virus. Over the generations the Church has been active during many kinds of illness and we always responded in prayer and appropriate action. God’s people show up! This time around our most helpful work will be to show up to each other on the phone, by text, What’s App, Skype, Zoom or FaceTime.

People ask, how do we stay safe, how do we gather and how do we help? Below you will find a set of best practices for us. They are inspired by Bishop Diane Bruce, my fellow traveler to Taiwan, and are modified for our setting in Northern California. Other resources are also listed.

Canon Andrea has been in touch with the Rev. Pamela Dolan of St. Martins, Davis, and the Very Rev. Mack Olson, our Wingfield Dean. Clergy local to this initial outbreak will be checking in together on Monday to discuss what needs might be emerging in the Solano and Yolo Counties. Canon Andrea will be on a webinar with Episcopal Relief and Development on Monday as we establish our practices in the face of this uncertain and emerging situation.

We will be in touch with our Deans and other leaders, and praying for you in the days to come.

In Christ,

+ Bishop Megan


General Prevention: Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands

  • In all situations, the best practice to prevent any illness is to wash your hands frequently using proper technique: wet-lather-scrub-rinse-dry.
  • https://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/
  • In addition to frequent and thorough hand washing, use hand sanitizer as needed.
  • At all times avoid touching your face: particularly eyes, nose, and mouth. This is how germs enter your body.
  • When you cough, do so into your bent elbow, not your hand.
  • If you are sick, or feel like you might be sick, stay home.
  • If you are vulnerable to illnesses, stay home.
  • Share the message: download hand washing posters here: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/keep-calm-wash-your-hands_8.5x11.pdf

Gathering and Worship Practices

Greeters and Ushers – no handshakes or hugs. Make sure that people use hand sanitizer upon entering the building. Greet them with a smile (not a handshake) and a small dab of sanitizer.

Passing the Peace – bow to one another with your hands in a prayer position, or hands on your heart, and say “peace be with you.” No hugs, kisses, or getting too close to each other’s faces.

Eucharist - The Celebrant, Eucharistic Ministers, those offering healing prayers, choir members, acolytes, and all other service participants should wash hands with soap and water directly before worship. This can be a fun addition to service preparation!

All service leaders should use hand sanitizer during the offertory.

Receiving Communion - If you do not want to sip from the common cup, receive the bread and acknowledge the cup as the chalice bearer passes by. Do not dip your bread in the wine,(intinct) as studies have shown that this spreads germs. The chalice bearer should not intinct for you, as this is also problematic. This is a good moment to remember a core principle of our Eucharistic theology: the sacrament is complete when administered in just one kind (in this case, the consecrated bread.)

Bishop Diane Bruce of the Diocese of Los Angeles writes:

“Up-to-date information is a good antidote for anxiety. Visit the website of the World Health Organization for frequent updates. Go to the page below and click “Protect Yourself” to find downloadable materials in Chinese, English, Spanish, and other languages as well as information about how to deal with anxiety over the disease: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019  

The biggest lessons from my Asia visit are to use common sense, don’t be anxious, get plenty of rest, and eat as healthily as you can.”

Holy and gracious God, give us the strength to meet the health crisis looming around us. Enlighten researchers that they may discover the right vaccine against this disease. Guide the doctors, nurses and all medical technicians working with those who are infected to take correct actions for their care. Protect all medical staff and family or friends caring for those who are ill. Bring together the governments and governmental agencies around the world to work together to eradicate this health threat. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For tips on General Prevention and suggestions for worship click here.

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