Coming Home: A Plan for Regathering.

Dear friends in Christ,

Next Sunday, September 13 is a special day in our parish. It’s the first time we’ll be able to worship together in person since Sunday, March 8. Six months later, we’re finally coming home.

At 10:30am on September 13 (rain date: Sunday, September 20) we will gather for an outdoor service at Craighurst Park located on Penetanguishene Road just north of Horseshoe Valley Road. The park itself (circled on map) is tucked away behind the large brick house immediately north of the train tracks. The entrance to the park (marked with an arrow) is right beside the house where you will find ample parking (marked with an X). 

This is a parish-wide service so whether you attend St John’s or St Paul’s you’re all invited. Please bring your own chairs and/or blankets to sit on as well as your own water bottle should you get thirsty.

Here is pretty much everything else you need to know.

Contact tracing log: When you arrive please see Liese at the entrance and she will take down your name and contact info. This will be kept securely for a period and will enable us to contact you in the event that a case of COVID is linked to the gathering.

Hand sanitizer: There will be three hand sanitizer stations set up for your use. One at the entrance and one at each of the communion stations. Please sanitize your hands upon arrival.

Masks: They are not required for outdoor worship provided physical distancing is observed, however, you may want to wear one for added safety. Masks will be provided for those that would like one but do not have their own.

Physical distancing: Please observe a distance of six feet from people outside your bubble at all times and refrain from physical contact. There will be two lines painted on the grass to form a centre aisle. Please sit on either side of the aisle leaving a space of six feet around you.

Singing: Unfortunately the Diocesan guidelines do not permit congregational singing. However, Robb Brown will have his guitar and will sing a few hymns. The lyrics will be printed in the bulletin and you may hum along.

Children: There will be no Sunday School. Children should remain with their family. Toys and snacks should not be shared between families.

Passing of the peace: No physical contact. Limit physical movement. Share gestures and words with those around you.

Communion: This will be a Eucharistic service. At the time of communion the priest will stand at the front. The sides team will assist those desiring to receive the sacrament (bread only) in forming an orderly, physically distanced line in the centre aisle. Communicants will stop at the front of the line (marked by X), hear the words, “The Body of Christ given for you,” and respond with, “Amen.” The communicant will then come forward and the priest will drop a host into their hands using a small pair of tongs and without making physical contact. The communicant will then move to one of two stations on either the left or the right (marked by X), consume the host, sanitize their hands, and then follow the arrows back to their seat. Parents and grandparents, please assist your children. If you do not wish to receive the sacrament you may come forward for a blessing (no physical contact) or you may make an act of spiritual communion according to the prayer in the bulletin.

I know that is a lot to think about but fear not, the guidelines we have in place are thorough and will enable us to worship together in a manner that is safe for all. Two final things. First, if you wake up on September 13 and are experiencing any COVID related symptoms please stay home and call a health professional. Second, we are planning to live-stream the service to Facebook and our website so if for whatever reason you do not plan to attend you may still participate in that way.

Should you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact either myself, Deacon Tom, or your wardens.

Under the mercy,

Jonathan+

ps – To get a sense of what you can expect as we begin to gather again in person please watch this video produced by the Diocese of Toronto. https://youtu.be/Yt82HGrc7dI

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