With shelter-in-place orders in effect throughout the Bay Area, Bishop Marc Andrus issued new guidelines this week for all congregations in response to COVID-19. All public, in-person worship services are suspended, and all other in-person gatherings, including meetings, funerals, memorial services, weddings and non-emergency baptisms, are cancelled for the CDC’s recommended eight weeks, or until May 10.
These guidelines are in alignment with the most recent directives from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the public health orders issued in the six counties in which the Diocese of California operates.
In his directive, Bishop Marc notes, “I want to assure you that Easter will happen, and, once these orders are lifted, we WILL celebrate the resurrection with joy and great fanfare in our respective congregations and as a diocese.” We hope to celebrate Easter with all of you – just a bit later than usual.
Here’s how we have responded to the shelter-in-place order and the latest Diocesan directive:
- The parish office is closed and our staff is working from home. The office telephone is checked at least twice a day for messages and staff will respond as needed.
- Arts at St. Bede’s concerts scheduled for March have been postponed and the Junior Bach concerts scheduled for this month have been cancelled.
- The use of our facilities by all outside groups has been cancelled; they will not be invited to return until we can fully open our church facilities on May 10.
- Trinity School has closed their campus and is conducting classes via distance learning The school was tentatively set to return to campus after Spring Break on April 14; that will likely change as a result of the latest directive from the Bishop.
So, how do we stay connected as a beloved community while all of us are sheltering at home over the next several weeks? Most church committees will continue to meet, using conference calls, Zoom meetings and other apps. Members of the Vestry and the Community Outreach Committee are working to establish an old-fashioned “phone tree” to call parishioners and check in periodically. Starting this Sunday, Irene Lawrence will offer a Sunday morning prayer service via conference call; if this approach works well, we may look to expand this during Holy Week. Read further for more details on some of these efforts.
It’s been a challenging couple of weeks and I’m grateful for all of you who are getting through this with patience, resilience and good cheer.
I look forward to seeing you when next we can gather in person.
– Anne Vitullo, Senior Warden