Saturday, March 14, 2020

Coronavirus - Diocesan Guidance & Our Application

Dear Friends,

Things continue to be in a state of flux regarding coronavirus. The diocese just put out these rules for our use:


It is clear that we are to take this VERY seriously. And I intend to follow that advice. In light of Archbishop Peter’s decision we will make some changes in the parish through the end of March.

1. Except for the Divine Services all other activities are canceled. That includes meals after the Divine Services, Lectures, Bible Studies, etc.

2. To be clear: the Divine Services will continue as scheduled.

3. You may want to consider taking advantage of the many weekday services our parish holds at this time of year rather than only attending on Sunday mornings.

4. Beginning with Divine Liturgy on Sunday, March 2/15, 2020 the faithful will be pre-screened for exposure to and sickness from the novel coronavirus BEFORE entering St. Vladimir’s. Screening will take place on the sidewalk outside the front doors. The screening questions will be the following:

A. Have you had a persistent cough or fever in the last 7 days?
B. Have you been exposed to anyone with a persistent cough or fever in the last 7 days?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you will be asked to refrain from entering the parish church for the sake of others. An icon, candle stand, and candles will be available for you outside the church proper so that you can place a candle and pray. If you already know that you will not pass the screening please do not come to the parish church, but rather join us from home on our Audio Stream or Video Stream. We will continue to stream all services on our Audio Stream and as many as possible on our Video Stream.

5. In accordance with the decree from the diocese there will be no wine served after Communion. A senior server, wearing a sanitary food serving glove, will provide each person with bread to consume after Communion. This will NOT be self service. Parents MUST oversee their children in this regard.

6. The 6 foot rule will be by family unit. That is, each family should stay together and maintain, as best as possible – a 6 foot space from the other families in church. Parents must see to it that their children stay with them during the services so that this rule is followed to the best of our abilities. And we must utilize the whole church! Not everyone will be able to stand in the back. :)

7. When you come to the cross after the Divine Liturgy there will not be a veneration of the Cross, but just as at the Presanctified Liturgy, the holy bread will be
distributed without the cross. The priest who distributes the bread will wear a sannitary food serving glove.

8. After the Divine Liturgy each Sunday we will sing the moleben "In Time of Destructive Pestilence & Deadly Plague" starting tomorrow and every Sunday until the pandemic ends.

To reiterate from an earlier posting: this is a war. We must take this seriously. We are citizens of our country and our state. Our national and state (and local) health officials are asking us to do our best not to spread COVID-19 for a very good reason: so that the health system is not overwhelmed at the beginning of the outbreak. In Italy they did not take this seriously enough. Because of that people are dying now that could be saved – if only there were enough ventilators and ICU beds. But there are not because they thought this was all hysteria. Of course there is plenty of hysteria around (witness the panic buying of toilet paper). But what we are asking you to do is NOT hysteria. It is wise. Let us be wise. Let us pray for wisdom. And for God’s mercy on us all.

Fr. Gregory

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