As more people get vaccinated and the COVID contagion metrics decrease, the Regathering Team is planning for our next phase for building access and use. While we do not know the timing of this phase or the impact the virus variants will have on the metrics, we are planning the logistics now so that we are ready to implement them when the time is right. We will also need to remain flexible if the metrics require us to pull back.
Even though Governor Baker has loosened gathering restrictions, our Bishops have strongly advised against any indoor, in-person gathering until at least April 19.
The experiments the CO2 Committee are performing in all of the church rooms and spaces are providing key information for us to understand air quality and flow throughout the building. These findings will be critical for us to determine the circumstances (e.g., number of people, windows open/closed, use of fans) under which we can safely gather.
Have you noticed less interruption in the streamed service on Sunday morning? That is because the esteemed members of our Tech Team and Property Committee have made some low-cost upgrades to our streaming capability.
- First, Christopher Huggins, Steve Burns, and Charles Hornig extended the church’s wired network to the balcony so that we no longer require a wireless connection to the Internet.
- Second, Charles introduced the Tech Team to a new software approach that adds functionality and makes the transitions between scenes smoother. We continue to explore various issues to incrementally improve the experience of our remote worshipers … which for the time being is basically all of us.
That said, we are exploring ways to safely introduce more people into the sanctuary for the 9:30 service. Initially, this will likely be limited to worship leaders to include a second priest and possibly a lay reader and an acolyte. We will monitor the air quality closely as we go. We are also considering how the 8:00 AM service can move from Morning Prayer to offering the Eucharist. More details to come. In any event, one can safely assume that it will be a while before in-person worship looks like it did before the pandemic … and we intend to continue to stream the service into the future to better fit the needs of all our parishioners.
As the weather improves, outdoor gatherings may resume – youth formation, 8:00 worship, youth group, and small meetings – with 15 or fewer people. It’s likely we will be able to relax this attendance constraint somewhat in the next month or so. Sign-up forms for contact tracing are still required.
For the time being, masks and social distancing are still required in and around the church building.
We understand that individual comfort level and risk aversion are different for everyone and are planning with that in mind. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to any of us. Thank you for your continued patience and commitment to the Church of Our Redeemer. Stay tuned!
Your Regathering Team,
Paula Antonevich , Cassie Bowlby, Erica Brotschi, Richard Friesner,
Murray Daniels, Christopher Huggins, and The Rev. Kate Ekrem