Indoor services begin October 25, 2020!

21 Oct

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst!

I am very pleased to announce that Metropolitan Tikhon has blessed us to begin Sunday Divine Liturgy again at our church in Bridgeport, starting Sunday, October 25, 2020. I’m grateful that we have been able to have the Divine Liturgy in the beautiful outdoor setting of Holy Ghost Park in Shelton during these past four months, but it’s time now to go back indoors. (The Liturgy will also continue to be live-streamed on our parish’s Facebook Page.)

COVID-19 restrictions remain in place and will require modifications of our church routines, with the aim of minimizing touching of surfaces and movement within the church. I ask for your understanding and patience as we work out practical procedures to protect each other’s health in accordance with guidelines from the civil authorities.

Vespers and all other services will be live-streamed only, for the time being.

Yours in Christ, Fr. John Jillions, Pastor

Where to enter the church for Divine Liturgy

Please use the back entrance to the church when you arrive. Designated doorkeepers for each service will make sure to understand all procedures and commit to arriving early to greet congregants. The doorkeepers will greet each household one at a time; you must wait your turn to enter the church. The doorkeepers are responsible for ensuring that the following health and safety instructions are observed for the good of both our parish and the surrounding community.

How to enter the church for Divine Liturgy

THESE PRECAUTIONS MUST BE TAKEN:

  • If you currently have COVID-19 and have not recovered, or if you are presenting symptoms of it, you must refrain from attending.
  • If you are caring for someone who either has been diagnosed with or who is presenting symptoms of COVID-19, you must refrain from attending.(View common symptoms of COVID-19 here.)
  • If you are a vulnerable individual—that is, a senior citizen in frail health or a person who has a serious underlying health condition such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, or a compromised immune system—you are highly encouraged to stay safe at home and to follow liturgical services online.
  • We will keep a written record of who is attending services, in case there are outbreaks of the virus within our community that necessitate contact tracing.
  • You must wear a mask upon approaching a doorkeeper and upon entering the church, and you must be checked with a non-contact thermometer prior to entering. (The state of Connecticut has provided such a thermometer to all congregations). In the event that you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 after attending a service, others who were in attendance at that same service will be notified that they should quarantine for 14 days.
  • Please park your car after 8:30 a.m. in our church parking lot, and then proceed to the back entrance of the church for a temperature check, name recording for contact tracing, and hand sanitizing.
  • You may purchase candles inside, using the honor system. (No change will be given.)
  • An usher will guide you to an available seat and will place a candle for you, if you so desire. You may sit with members of your same household in a group, but you will need to sit at least six feet apart from others who are not of your own household.

How to conduct yourself during Divine Liturgy

THESE RULES OF CONDUCT MUST BE OBSERVED:

  • Please bring your own personal hand sanitizer. (This will be appreciated since the parish has limited supplies.)
  • No one over the age of 5 is permitted to attend the indoor services without a mask, with two exceptions for children:
    • Children under the age of two should not wear masks; and
    • Parents should judge for children between the ages of two and five whether or not they should wear a mask.
  • Please cover your sneezes and coughs.
  • The choir will be limited to a small number of people each week, standing in the choir loft, 6 feet apart from each other.
  • Please refrain from congregational singing.  Congregants will softly recite only the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer together at the appropriate times.
  • We will not pass the collection plate; instead collections plates will remain at the entrance and the exit, so you may leave donations as you either enter or exit the church.
  • We will use multiple metal spoons (one per person) for distributing Holy Communion. While waiting for Communion, please maintain your social distance from others. Individual tissues will be made available for reception of the Eucharist. While in line to receive Communion, take a tissue and wait to approach the chalice until the person in front of you has moved away. After receiving the Eucharist, wipe your lips with the tissue and place it in the container for that purpose. (These will be burned afterwards.) After the reception of Holy Communion, no blessed bread or wine (antidoron) will be provided.
  • We will not offer the blessing cross at the conclusion of Liturgy.

How to exit the church after Divine Liturgy

  • Please exit the church after the Liturgy by using the door on the far right front side of the church as you face the altar, unless it is necessary for you to use the chair lift that can be found through the door on the far left front side of the church as you face the altar.
  • We will offer no food or drinks after the Divine Liturgy, but you may bring your own “coffee hour” drink and socialize six feet apart outdoors on the grounds of Holy Ghost Church.

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