Stations of St. Cross: A View Towards Reopening
I am sure many of you are looking forward to the day when you can come back to St. Cross and enjoy worshipping as a community. Not that you haven’t made the best of church at home in yoga pants or sweats with a cup of coffee… but there is something about worshipping in community that is different and nourishing to our souls. As you know, our gathering in the church building is regulated by the state, the county, and also our diocese. Your Vestry Re-Opening committee has worked hard ensure we are following the rules, regulations, and requirements of all of those bodies in an effort to keep St. Cross as safe as possible for your return.
First, we want to give a huge thank you to the over 200 people who participated in our survey. Your decisions and comments helped us shape our evolving plans. We know that our plans may change depending on shifting regulations from the diocese, the county, or the state. We will continue to have online church for the foreseeable future. Even once there is a vaccine and we can sing to our hearts content, packed into the pews, we will still broadcast our services online.
Second, we want to remind you that the policies and procedures we have in place are not what we think are best, but what we have been told is required by the aforementioned authorities. We want to keep our Hermosa/St. Cross vibe alive, but also know we will have to make shifts in our normal church habits. We hope that you will read and digest all forthcoming information to see if returning to church is right for you, or if you prefer to worship from home based on your needs and preferences.
Given the results of the survey, the committee understands that there are many variables in play. Most of you are willing to return with precautions in place (temperature taking, masks, hand sanitizer, etc.). That number dropped significantly when we described the kind of service we can have at this time, namely one with little participation from the pew, no singing, and no communion. There will be praying in physical proximity to each other, but not in the manner to which we are accustomed.
So, to that end, the committee has decided to do a slow opening to get us accustomed to the entrance and cleaning procedures, while allowing you and your family a quick visit to St. Cross. We will begin by opening the church on Tuesdays (2-5 pm) and Thursdays (4-7 pm) for a “Stations of St. Cross” beginning on July 7 and lasting three weeks. People will book a 30-minute window. The first 15 minutes will be speaking with a member of the clergy in the garth, the second will be a “no touch” guided prayer tour through the sanctuary. There will be a follow-up email in a week or so with the details for how to book your reservation and answer the many questions you may have.
We are aiming to have our first Sunday service on July 26. This will be a 30-minute service, perhaps with some organ music. It will be similar to what we do online every week. We will have required protocols for those services, and they will require a reservation. It will be assigned seating as that is what we have been told to do. Again, as that time gets closer and we refine our process we will send another email with details about the sanctuary services.
I am sure that you have many questions. I would ask that you wait for upcoming emails which will clarify and further define our process and possibilities. We look forward to welcoming you back into the sanctuary.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Rachel + with the Re-Opening Committee