Trinity responds to the Coronavirus pandemic



Please read the safety measures below:

Dear Beloved in Christ,

We place our trust in God seeking the Holy Spirit to give us insight and wisdom as we journey with Jesus in the uncertainties of this strange and uncharted wilderness.  We long for the way it was before COVID-19 but realize the “normal” to which we return will not be the same normal that existed before the pandemic.  The decision to reopen in-person worship at St. Matthew’s and Trinity is made prayerfully considering Bishop Bascom’s guidance to congregation, medical advice, guidance from each of our counties and concern for each of you.  As pastor, I want to assure every precaution is practiced and that each of you are safe returning to in – person worship.

The proposed path to reopening our two congregations is cautious and considers those who will attend in-person and those who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend.  A combination of in-person worship and streaming services on Facebook will be utilized.  Spiritual Communion or Eucharist with wafers only will be offered during in-person worship service.  In-person worship will be offered at Trinity on the first and third Sundays and at St. Matthews’ the second and fourth Sundays and fifth Sundays will be announced. All in-person worship will be live streamed.  Spacing out in-person worship allows time for deep cleaning of the nave, for any potential surface virus to dissipate and to conduct any COVID–19 tracing if necessary.

Our Vestries and I strongly encourage each person to exercise utmost care for themselves and others in determining whether to attend in-person worship.  Everyone needs to evaluate their own health status and risk factors before attending in-person gatherings.  No one should feel compelled to attend unless they are healthy and think it is safe to be with others.  Certainly, if you have a fever or chills, a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, recent loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea do not attend in-person worship.  If you have any of these symptoms seek and follow the medical advice of your physician.

Some groups of people are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  People at a higher risk include those 65 and older, have poorly controlled medical conditions, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, liver disease or a person who is immunocompromised in anyway i.e. recipient of an organ transplant, receiving cancer treatments etc.  Please prayerfully consider your risk factors when making decisions to attend in-person gatherings.

When attending in-person worship expect the following:

1.       To sign a COVID-19 Register for the sole purpose of tracing and notification if necessary.

2.      A physical distance of six (6) feet must be maintained at all times whether seated or standing.  Family groups may be seated together but must maintain a physical distance of six feet from other unrelated congregates.  We will follow guidelines for in-person gatherings established by each county. 

3.      Everyone attending needs to wear a mask.  Clergy and lay leaders participating in the service do have the option to remove mask while leading.

4.      Worship bulletins will be emailed prior to each service with a few hard copies available as you enter the nave.  These single use bulletins will need to be taken with you as you leave.  Hymnals will be available in your pews and will be wiped down between services. Prayer books will not be used. 

5.       Singing will be done while wearing masks.

6.      Offering plates will be located at the back of nave and will not be passed or brought forward at the offertory.

7.      When celebrating the Eucharist wafers will be consecrated in a ciborium (closed vessel).  The celebrant should be the sole person distributing communion, using freshly washed and sanitized hands.  Wine will be consecrated, but not offered.  Wafers will be offered.

8.Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available.  Please know that we value your health and well-being as beloved members of the household of faith.

The church will be cleaned between services. Approved cleaning products such as Lysol may be used. A cleaning solution of 1/3 cup of bleach in a gallon of water, or a 70 percent alcohol solution, is also permissible.

Please know that if you need anything you may contact me 432-230-9180 or by Email fatherles@trinityeldorado.org

Blessings! Fr. Les+

________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE Posted August 4, 2021 from the Bishop




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Dearly Beloved of the Diocese of Kansas:
 
At every stage in this COVID pandemic, we have sought in our diocese to follow the best medical and scientific guidance available and to empower parishes to follow that guidance in light of their local context. Above all, we have been guided by Jesus’ summary of the law: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. In facing the complexities and changing nature of this virus, sacrificial love of our neighbors and of our selves can be difficult, frustrating, and even costly, but it is our calling.
 
Out of this call to love, considering the current spike in COVID-19 cases across Kansas, and after consultation with medical advisers, the Executive Committee of the Council of Trustees, and the Council of Deans, I am requiring that all people over two years of age – vaccinated and unvaccinated alike – wear masks for all indoor worship and gatherings in Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Kansas beginning no later than Sunday, August 15, and continuing through October 1, 2021. At that time the mask policy will be reviewed, in consideration of COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates. Decisions about daily mask use in church offices is at the discretion of local leadership.
 
The move to universal masking is currently the only diocesan policy change. All previous diocesan guidance stands. Clergy may look for new recommendations regarding communion and safe approaches to fellowship and food from our office soon.
 
Love of others: Many Episcopalians in our diocese are vaccinated, and even with the Delta variant infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated. However, while we may know the vaccination status of our members, we also need to be welcoming to potential visitors. Additionally, evidence suggests that the delta variant can be transmitted by those who are vaccinated just as easily as by those who are un-vaccinated. This is of special importance in respect to those with health conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated and as the school year approaches to children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.  
 
Love of self: Lastly, I ask you to do everything in your power, with creativity and respect, to educate people and increase the number of vaccinated people in your congregation and community as an act of self-love, honoring the image of God in each person.
 
When the pandemic fist hit, I wrote that we would need to be agile, willing to come in and out of public and virtual spaces. I cannot express my deep esteem for how clergy and lay leaders alike have done this with grace. I give great thanks to God that many lives in our diocese have been protected because of such leadership.
 
Every Blessing,
 
The Right Reverend Cathleen Bascom
10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas