The News We Have Been Praying For
Greetings Emmanuel Church Community ~
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
Emmanuel Church will open its doors for the 133rd summer season, with cautions in place.
Bishop Rob shared the good news with the Seasonal Chapels leadership, along with precise guidelines that all churches in the NH Episcopal Diocese must abide by. The Managing Committee voted to do all we can to open for our first Sunday together, on June 27th. Both Gideon and John are on-board in creating a safe and meaningful delivery of services throughout the summer.
Here are the protocols we are expected to follow:
Guidance from the Diocesan Short-Term COVID Response Team:
The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire offers the following criteria regarding when a congregation might be able to gather indoors. In order to consider gathering indoors, all three of these criteria need to be met. Emmanuel Officers and the Rector will be monitoring this information and will communicate the decision prior to each week's service:
● Fewer than 5% of the people in your county/region test positive as reported on COVID ACT NOW.
● The rate of new cases per day in your county/region is less than 10 in 100,000
● ICU beds are filled to less than 70% of capacity in your region as reported on state or county health department websites
As of today (April 21), the COVID ACT NOW website reports for Cheshire County, NH: the positive test rate is 1.5%; the rate of new cases per day is 19; and the ICU bed capacity used is 0. With these stats, we would not be able to hold in-door services today as the new cases per day is not below 10.
During the pandemic, the Center for Disease Control public health guidelines ask everyone to:
•Stay home when we are ill or especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
•Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more at all times as we enter, worship, and depart.
•Limit the size of gatherings according to guidance provided by denominational, state, or local authorities.
•Use face coverings at all times while in public, except those under 2 years old, those with breathing difficulties, or those who are not able to remove a face covering on their own.
•Reduce exposure time in worship and fellowship gathering.
•Limit physical touching to what Christian ritual requires, such as the laying on of hands at baptism
•Avoid practices known to spread the virus more widely, such as congregational or choral singing, unison speaking, speaking loudly, shouting, and playing wind and brass instruments.
What you can expect when you arrive at Emmanuel:
- Weekly E~Pistle communication will be sent with details about the service
- Masks are required and will be available, if needed
- Hand Sanitizer will be available
- Physical Distancing – Currently at 6 ft. Our best guess is a maximum of 40 people inside the church.
- Entry into and departing from the church will be through separate doorways
- Windows, doors, and the ceiling vent panels will be open for maximum air flow
- No group singing. Guest soloists are OK. No unison speaking
- Eucharist will be available– Host only
- Prayer Books and Hymnals will not be available
- A printed service leaflet will be provided
- There will be no coffee hour
Please know the Managing Committee and Priests in Residence will be meeting to look at all options and hammer out the details for our summer worship together. Click here to visit the Covid-19 Updates and Resources on the NH Diocese website.
As we get closer to opening, we will reach out and invite you to participate in the weekly services as a lector, usher, and/or to provide flowers. There will likely be other ways to help and you can be sure that we will be asking. Stay tuned for more information.
With gratitude from your Senior Warden ~