Dear People of Christ Church,

As has been true for most of us, the clergy and staff of Christ Church have been monitoring the spread of COVID-19, often simply called “the coronavirus”, as well as the rise in anxiety in our society as a result of its spread. This monitoring is layered upon our careful attention to seasonal flu reports in our area.

Last Sunday, we made verbal announcements related to these respiratory illnesses and how they relate to our practice as a community of faith. This message will reiterate those issues, as well as inform you of additional precautions. Our intention is to ensure we are prepared, not scared.

First, we urge you to pray for those who are infected with these contagious respiratory infections, as well as those who care for the sick, those who are mourning the loss of life, and those who are most vulnerable to these illnesses. Among those especially vulnerable are the many marginalized communities we serve locally; we will check in with our community outreach partners to provide additional assistance as we are able.

Second, if you are experiencing symptoms associated with coronavirus or flu, we ask that you see a medical professional and follow their guidance. If you are experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to stay away from public gatherings, and please let us know if we can provide pastoral support to you. In accordance with CDC guidelines, any Christ Church staff with respiratory symptoms or high fever will stay home from work / church.

For those attending church, much caution and care will be focused on two major aspects of our being together. The first is greeting one another, especially at the peace. We ask that, if you are ill, you refrain from physical contact during these situations. If you are not ill, but want to be cautious, we ask that you greet one another with alternative greetings (bowing, fist-bumps, etc.) rather than shaking hands.

Finally, please remember that among the most effective non-pharmaceutical interventions is washing your hands. To aid in keeping clean hands, we are installing hand sanitizer stations on campus in prominent areas.

In addition to greetings, our practices related to Communion have drawn much attention. It is vital to know that 100% of the sacramental grace of Holy Communion is found in each of its elements (the Bread and the Wine). To receive one element does not reduce the amount of grace, nor does receiving both convey additional grace. If you are ill, desire to be cautious, are in recovery, or otherwise desire to refrain from participating in the chalice, the presence and grace of Christ will still be with you.

We will be working with our clergy staff and other ministers to ensure that those administering the Bread and Wine of Communion have clean hands and are using best practices for administration.

As it relates to best practices, we are taking guidance from various government agencies and Church bodies. We will check for additional information daily. Additionally, we have assembled a group of parishioners, experts in medicine, disease research, and epidemiology, who will help us navigate our policies, procedures, and practices.

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available that is directly related to our local experience of Church. Thank you for your diligence in prayer and in maintaining practices which benefit the community as whole.

God bless you all,

The Clergy of Christ Church