St. Paul’s Reopening – Status Report to the Parish
October 8, 2020
The building for St. Paul’s parish has been closed for in person worship and all other programs since mid-March. In the meantime, a robust program of zoom offerings within the guidelines set by the Bishop and the Governor have continued to feed the community and continue much of our life together.
Your Reopening Task Force
The St. Paul’s Reopening Task Force has been hard at work behind the scenes planning and preparing for when we will be able to worship together in person again. For example, the sexton has begun deep cleaning the building. We are also in the process of evaluating the air handling system in the building to make sure the air exchange rate inside is well within CDC recommended guidelines for limiting the spread of the virus via aerosol. We have been researching various cleaning products to ascertain what is most effective on each surface. We have been studying protocols and guidelines that are coming out of the diocese, and most recently, the extensive protocols published by St. Mark’s Cathedral. We are thinking through everything that must be done for each phase of reopening, and will eventually submit these written protocols to the Bishop’s office for review and approval. It is our goal to open as safely as possible.
This status report sets out a tentative time frame for our fall and possibly winter. A word of caution: in person worship will be decided by the clergy and vestry, following the Governor’s guidelines and those issued by the Bishop, as well as recommendations from other governmental bodies and organizations, the Washington State and King County Departments of Public Health, and the various risk assessment metrics.
At the very soonest limited in person worship will not resume until King County enters Phase 3 as designated by the Governor. Even after King County reaches Phase 3, the Bishop, the rector and vestry may not feel it safe to move to limited in person worship in the building. The safety of our membership is our highest priority. When we resume in person worship it will be different than what we have known before. Reservations for attendance will be required, all attendees will wear masks and be screened for health symptoms. Seating will be assigned. Communion will be bread only and opportunities for socializing will be non-existing. A detailed protocol for worship will have to be approved by the Bishop and the Chancellor of the Diocese. St. Mark’s Cathedral has posted their protocols online as an example of the kind of restrictions we will all be operating under.
Continued Zoom offerings
We will continue to offer morning prayer Monday through Friday, Evening prayer Wednesday evening, Compline Tuesday and Thursday. Our existing programs of Godly Play, Sunday worship, as well as formation offerings on Sunday afternoon (and starting in Advent, Wednesday evening) will continue. You have seen some of the work Gary James, John Hill and members of the choir have done in adding music — pre- and postludes, and now at least two opportunities for hymn singing during Sunday morning.
Work is proceeding on live streaming from the nave. The timing of this offering depends on when funding becomes available from the Diocese. The building technology infrastructure will then be updated and work is proceeding. As of now, it looks like live streaming may be possible by the end of the year.
On All Saints Day (Sunday, November 1), watch for our “Procession of the Saints.” All Souls Day (Monday, November 2, 7 pm) will begin with the Service of Light, and will include the reading of the names of the departed, as usual. You can begin submitting the names you would like read to Emily via email or by calling the parish office and leaving a voicemail – be sure to include the spelling. Gary James and his musicians are working on some special offerings for those celebrations as well. Christmas is a big question mark at this point in terms of timing: the worship team is trying to imagine how we might observe Christmas and preserve our most favorite and beloved traditions, such as singing carols together.
Is still closed to all except those authorized by a member of the staff and given access at a specified time. Protocols for access to the Building and office use have been approved by the Bishop and are available on the St. Paul’s website.
Caring for our Grounds and The Centennial Garden and the Labyrinth
Alleluia! The planting areas in the Labyrinth garden have been renovated, and the fence has been repainted! In the absence of regular use of the church we have had some inappropriate activities in the garden setting, and the security system has been enhanced to try to reduce this. Please take some time to look at the pictures of the new garden on the St. Paul’s Facebook page, and if possible, stop by and take a walk in the labyrinth. The garden was established to be an amenity for the entire neighborhood and this refreshing is most welcome. Several devoted volunteers have been contributing many hours to care for the property. Please consider offering your time, by calling Prue or Barbara.