I have been asked what the plans are at St. Mary’s in regard to preparing for a possible outbreak of the “corona-flu virus “ in Saskatchewan. The Bishop has issued heightened hygiene protocols for us to follow for worship. They include:
- In place of the collection during the offertory, you are asked to please your tithes and offerings on the plates at the table at the back of the church as you come in.
- Hand sanitizers will be made available in each pew for you use prior to communion, and at meals.
- We will lovingly greet each other verbally, and not shake hands.
- With respect to the reception of Communion, you are free to receive the Eucharistic bread only, and refrain from partaking of the common cup. Anglican teaching on the Eucharist declares that as we come with repentance and faith to receive the Holy Communion, the fullness of Christ’s blessing, in the “forgiveness of our sins and all other benefits of His Passion” (c.f. Prayer of Consecration p. 83, BCP) is conveyed to us in and through the reception of the Eucharistic bread, as we “feed on Him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.” Intinction (the dipping of the bread into the wine) is not permitted. Alternatively, you may come forward to receive a blessing, and indicate this by crossing your arms across your chest.
- Parishioners with compromised immune systems may choose to self- isolate, and request pastoral visits and/or Home Communion.
- Those administering the Holy Communion will wash their hands before the service, and use hand sanitizer before the Holy Communion.
- Door knobs, altar rails, the tops of pews and hand sanitizer dispensers will be wiped down with disinfectant wipes after each service, as well as nursery toys.
I would like to add that we take full advantage of the opportunity afforded to us at this time of heightened public fear and anxiety to draw near to God in prayer, is silence and in solitude, breathing in the Holy Spirit, and praying both for protection and deliverance. The “go to” prayers may be found in The Great Litany on page 30, and The Supplication (in times of trouble) on page 35 of the Book of Common Prayer.
“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith. ( 1 Peter 5.8,9)