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Where do we stand on reopening?

On behalf of our Wardens, Officers, and Vestry I would like to thank everyone for your participation in our recent All Parish Survey that we recently sent out to "take the congregation's pulse" on regathering at St. Paul's for corporate worship.  Your thoughtfulness, your ideas, and your offers to volunteer when we do reopen were marvelous and heart-warming; we are so pleased and grateful.  While we are all eager to come back together for worship, more than two-thirds of you said that you would not come to an in-person gathering at this time, given the state of COVID, and the fact that Lynnfield keeps going back into the RED with apparent regularity. On Tuesday, October 13, your Vestry reviewed all of the diocesan requirements for reopening, including the Regathering Requirements and the Attendees Instructions specific to St. Paul's (included below) at great length and in great detail.  For two hours this past Tuesday evening, your elected Vestry members represented you beautifully as they reviewed all the facts and figures surrounding church gatherings in this time of national and global pandemic, and we had the most fulsome, honest, transparent, and prayerful discussion we've had in my five years as your rector.  Everyone participated with such prayerful and faithful integrity and generosity.  The result of this discussion was that there was complete unity in remaining closed for any in-person gathering at this time. We are of one mind to be slow, prudent, and cautious, especially as Lynnfield has gone back into the RED.  We will continue our offerings virtually until it’s safer to regather in-person.  And we will continue to find and offer ways to keep us all connected together, and moving deeper into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, during these unique times.  For example, in addition to those offerings already publicized, we'll also soon be offering the Sacred Ground film-based series on race and faith that our National Church has created.  See for more details.  Additionally, we'd like to host (virtually) a screening of the new documentary, Kiss the Ground, and follow it up with some good community discussions  See: More than anything else, we want to keep everyone safe.  And we want, mightily, to keep the St. Paul's community together, fed, cared for, and moving ever-closer to our Lord's ideals of faith, hope, and love.  I am so grateful for our Wardens, Officers, and Vestry.  They are working so hard, and so diligently and faithfully, for us all.  We are blessed to have these leaders in our midst.  Many Blessings, Rob+

The Vestry carefully reviewed the following documents regarding potential re-opening in their discussion on October 13.

Regathering Requirements

  • Due to the small size of our Sanctuary and the 6-feet-required physical distance between people of different households, a maximum of 20 people (including staff and volunteers) will be allowed in the Sanctuary. This limit will require parishioners to use a weekly reservation system.

  • Following CDC and Diocesan guidelines, we suggest that if you are at increased risk for COVID due to being over 65 and/or having an underlying medical conditions that you stay home and enjoy worship by Zoom.

  • We ask you not to attend if: 1) you’re not feeling well, 2) you’ve tested positive for COVID, or 3) suspect you have been exposed to someone with COVID or COVID-like symptoms.

  • You will be required to sit only in designated spots in the pew assigned by an usher.

  • People from different households will be required to maintain physical distance of 6 feet or more at all times.

  • You will be required to maintain strict traffic-movement patterns in the aisles to keep physical distance. Only the front door will be used; basement doors will be locked.

  • Bathroom access will be for emergencies only. Access to other areas of the building will be prohibited.

  • There will be no singing, no passing of the Peace, and no touching.

  • There will be no Sunday School, childcare, or Coffee Hour.

  • The downstairs of our church building, including the side entrance, is entirely off limits to parishioners at all times. Clear separation from the Bethlehem School must be maintained.

  • To ensure for proper ventilation, and an air change rate of five times per hour, all windows in the Sanctuary will be open six inches, and two box fans will be placed on each side of the Sanctuary, blowing outwards to bring in fresh air.

Attendee Instructions

For those parishioners wishing to attend Sunday Service in the Sanctuary please adhere to the following:

  • Make a reservation with Julia at on the Thursday before the Sunday you wish to attend by 12 noon. Please include your name, number of people attending, email address and phone number. You will receive an email confirmation from the office.

  • Please arrive at church by 9:50 and proceed to the front door. A mask, covering your nose and mouth, must be worn at all times. You will be greeted by an usher who will check you in and show you to you assigned seat. Always follow the yellow directional arrows.

  • If you are unable to wear a mask due to underlying medical reasons, we ask that you enjoy worship by Zoom from home.

  • There will be no singing, no passing of the Peace, and no touching.

  • Fr. Rob will serve communicants at their seats to reduce movement around the Sanctuary.

  • After the service ushers will escort parishioners, by row, out of the Sanctuary through the front door.

  • Bathroom is to be used for emergencies only.

  • The downstairs of our church building, including the side entrance, is entirely off limits to parishioners at all times. Clear separation from the Bethlehem School must be maintained.

  • To ensure for proper ventilation and an air change rate five times per hour, please be advised that all windows will be open 6” and 2 box fans will be placed facing outwards on both sides of the Sanctuary. Although the heat will be on, please dress appropriately according to the weather.


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