Regathering Guidelines for In-Person Worship beginning May 9, 2021

Sunday, May 9, 2021
Although the Governor is allowing 50% capacity in worship spaces, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has set the number to 35%. Here at St. Peter’s, we are going to initially take a more cautious approach of 25 people per service.
We are going to re-gather for public worship for the first time on Sunday, May 9, 2021
Church will look very different from what it did in the past.
While our environment will be very safe (much safer, in fact, than going to the supermarket) our most important piece of advice is: DO NOT COME BACK UNLESS YOU ARE COMFORTABLE COMING BACK.
Our live stream will continue and “Online Church” will always be part of our life here at St. Peter’s.
We continue to urge parishioners, especially those most vulnerable, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to continue to join us via Live Stream.
So, here are our guidelines and expectations for in-person worship. We want to communicate these guidelines very clearly in advance:
• Beginning on May 9, 2021, we will allow a maximum of 25 people into our Liturgy of Holy Eucharist on Sunday mornings at 10:00AM.
• All pews and hard surfaces will be thoroughly sanitized before and after our liturgical celebrations.
• Online reservations will be REQUIRED to attend. You will be able to make a reservation during the previous week by via a link on our website. The link will “go live” on Wednesday mornings (before the Sunday you wish to attend) on a first-come, first-served basis. More information about the registration process will be announced on our website (NEWS tab) and on our Facebook page.
• Since the mission of the church is outward focused, anyone in the local community and anyone who visits our website (not only our parishioners) will have access to register to attend a service. This will be done on a first-come, first-served basis.
• We ask you to register for ONE or TWO services per month. Please do not register for all four Sundays so that other people will have a chance to attend.
• Please do not call, leave voicemail messages or email the Parish Office to make a reservation. Reservations will only be made online.
• No one will be allowed in our buildings on Sunday mornings unless an online reservation has been made in advance.
• All doors will be propped open (even if it is cold) to minimize contact with hard surfaces. No one should be closing doors and windows under any circumstances.
• Upon entering, you will be asked to check-in with a greeter at the Welcome Table for purposes of Contact Tracing.
• You will then be asked to sanitize your hands using our wall-mounted Purell dispenser.
• You will be escorted to a seat. Due to social distancing requirements, you will not be able to choose your seat. Social distancing will require folks to sit 6 feet apart which limits our seating. Members of the same household may sit together but if you are from the same family, but do not live in the same home, you will be asked not to sit together.
• Everyone must wear a mask throughout the entire service. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you.
• There will be no congregational singing (as hard as this will be for St. Peter’s!) There will be a shield between the singer and the keyboard accompanist.
• There will be no Offertory Procession (carrying up bread and wine)
• There will be no collection with the passing of collection plates. There will be a receptacle in the church where you will be able to leave your weekly offering. The ideal way to contribute is to sign up for Online Giving. Please visit and click on “Online Giving.”
• The way we distribute Communion will change. Communion will be only offered in the form of bread (no wine.) The priest will receive communion at the regular time, then we will pray the Post-Communion Prayer and offer the final blessing. Then, Communion will be distributed at the end of the service after the priest sanitizes his hands. There will be no Eucharistic Ministers. One side of the church will receive Communion at a time. You will be asked to maintain a 6-foot distance between other people in the Communion line. There are large decals on the floor to help you keep your distance. When you receive the Eucharist, you must leave your mask on when standing in front of the priest. After you receive, you will step to the side (6 feet away) and may consume the Communion wafer. For reasons of safety, immediately after receiving Communion, parishioners will be asked to proceed directly to their vehicle and leave. We will ask folks not to congregate anywhere inside the church, near the doors of the church or even in the parking lot.
• Coffee Hour has been indefinitely suspended.
• VERY IMPORTANT: Part of having our plan approved by our diocese require having a VENTILATION PLAN in place. Windows in our church will need to remain open even on cold mornings. We want you to know this in advance. Since windows will remain open, if you choose to come, we encourage you to dress warmly and wear sufficient layers of clothing based on your personal needs that will keep you warm.
• Upon entry, you will be asked if you have had any of these symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Sore throat
Muscle pain
Recent loss of taste or smell
WE HAVE MISSED YOU ALL VERY MUCH AND ARE EXCITED TO SEE YOU ONCE AGAIN. We are very excited about the possibilities of re-gathering as a community. We ask you to be vigilant about following these guidelines.
Thank you for your continued support of our parish! Please remember that these are indeed difficult times. Many churches, including our own, are experiencing shortfalls in our budget and significant decreases in weekly income. Please remember, we have many financial obligations each month (salaries, pension, insurance, diocesan assessments, utilities, copier costs, etc.) and we rely on your continued generosity. Thank you for all you have done to support our parish since March.
We continue to move forward doing God’s work in our local community as we continue to lead people to Christ.