The Re-Openning of Our Parish

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THE RE-OPENING OF OUR PARISH
 
REV MATTHEW SEARFOORCE
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters, His Eminence Archbishop Michael has Blessed our Plan for the Re-Opening of our Parish for worshipping together as a Parish Family.  We are planning to start this Sunday with the celebration of Pentecost! There will be some changes with the way we will be doing things in order to protect ourselves now and for the foreseeable future, as Covid-19 is still a danger to all of us.  We are making every attempt to protect our parish family from the virus.

Things that will be different:

 

  1. If you wish to attend Liturgy, you must let Fr. Matthew know prior to Sunday morning.  The best way, would be to call (856-227-6915), or send an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).  Any one who does not let Fr. Matthew know they are coming will not be allowed to enter as currently the State of New Jersey is limiting the number of people gathering together indoors to 10 people. (the 10 includes the clergy ). If you are scheduled to attend Liturgy and become ill or are not able to come that Sunday, please let Father know as soon as possible.
  2. When you enter the Church, you will be given hand sanitizer for your hands, your name will be recorded as being present in Church.  We are doing this in case someone who was present in Church with you should become ill with the virus.  This we will enable us to contact those who were in Church at that time.  Of course, confidentially of the sick person will be maintained.
  3. You WILL be required to wear a mask.   If you forget yours, the Church will have a few disposable masks for you to use.   This requirement is for everyone, including children over the age of 2.
  4. When you enter the Church, you will need to wait until the Narthex is clear so that we don’t have crowding or gathering in the Narthex.
  5. Do not venerate the Icons by kissing or touching them, just cross yourself and bow.
  6. All of the Divine Liturgy books and children’s books have been removed.  We will not have a printed Church bulletin to hand out after Church.  The bulletins have been and will continue to be distributed through email.
  7. Social distancing must be maintained.  Families living in the same household will sit together.    All others must maintain social distancing.
  8. Confessions – since it has been a long time since we have been to Church and received Communion,  Fr. Matthew will have General Confession every Sunday until further notice.   Those wanting private Confession need to contact Fr. Matthew to arrange a time when a private confession (maintaining social distancing) can be accomplished.
  9. Communion – wear your mask until you are ready to receive Communion and put it back on as you start back to your seat. Do not wipe your mouth on the Communion cloth. There will be napkins available for each communicant to wipe their own mouth.  Parents will need to help their children.  We will use a Common Spoon that will be cleaned (in grain alcohol) and wiped between each communicant.  Do not kiss the Chalice.  There will be a box for you to place the used Communion napkins on the table containing the antidorn and after wine.   The after wine will be in individual cups; the common cup will not be put out.  Antidorn will be placed in individual paper cups.
  10. At the end of Liturgy, there will be no veneration of the Cross.  You will receive a blessing with the Cross from Fr. and then proceed to the table with the Antidorn.   Please make sure to maintain social distancing.  The paper cups with the Antidorn may be tossed in the trash.
  11. There will be no Coffee Hour or socializing after Church (sorry, I know we all love Coffee Hour).  

 General “common sense” things:

  1. If you do not feel well or think you may be getting sick or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and are scheduled to attend Liturgy, please stay home and let Fr. Matthew know you will not be attending service.
  2. Those who are in the vulnerable group (65 and older, those with underlying conditions) who do not feel they should be attending Church, please continue to pray the Typika or pray while watching a live-streaming Liturgy.  Those who are in the vulnerable group who wish to attend Liturgy, may do so after contacting Fr. Matthew.
  3. The Church rest rooms will be available, but please maintain social distancing if you must wait to use the facilities.
  4. If you bring your donation to the Church, there will be a “donations” basket at the back of the Church.   The children will not be taking Collection.  You may also send your donations to our Treasurer, Mat. Holly Dawson.  Her address is listed in your emailed bulletin.
  5. And, of course, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth while in Church and until you have returned home and washed your hands. If you suspect you have become ill with Covid-19 or test positive WITHIN TWO WEEKS of attending Liturgy, you need to contact Fr. Matthew immediately.

We realize the above are a lot of changes from how we previously did things at Church.  We also realize that change is hard, and no one likes it.  However, we hope that you all will help with adhering to these new procedures, which align with the directives that have been Blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Michael and align with the requirements of the State of NJ.   While we are doing everything possible to protect and keep our parish family safe, we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed to the virus.   

Hoping that I may see all of you in the very near future,
Fr. Matthew


Orthodox Church of the Mother of God. Mays Landing, NJ 08330

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