11 Mar Safe Practices during the COVID-19 Virus
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
22 Cumberland Street
Clear Spring, Maryland
Special Message from Father Steve
in reference to the
COVID-19 (Corona Virus).
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
As your Priest assigned to this congregation to represent the Bishop of Maryland, in addition for being an “instrument” for your Spiritual Care, I have the responsibility to make sure that those who worship here are able to do so in a safe environment.
The Corona Virus (COVID-19) is a contagious virus which has led to many institutions; businesses, and governments in the World, changing the way they are doing things to handle this virus. We hear every day about voluntary, and mandatory quarantine being imposed by governments. Colleges and universities are closing, in addition to major celebrations being cancelled. Updates to address this virus are being made daily.
Two weeks ago, I put into your hands a letter from our Bishop, The Right Reverend Eugene T. Sutton, about safe practices during this crisis that has reached across the globe. Since his letter; more places of worship are adding additional, and enhanced safe practices. The Roman Catholic Church has increased further controls, and The Church of England has now prohibited the Use of the Common Cup. Also, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has prohibited the Use of the Common Cup. Just recently, one of the largest Episcopal Congregations in the Diocese of Washington has closed since their Rector and Minister of Music were diagnosed with COVID-19.
It has been the historical practice of the Anglican/Episcopal Church, to receive Holy Communion in “Both Kinds”; the bread and wine that has been Consecrated into the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. However, one actually has made their Communion by receiving just the Bread (Body) of Christ. Christ is “Present” in the Bread (Body), therefore by taking the Bread (Body), you have fully received Holy Communion.
Until this virus concern has been fully addressed, the following practices of receiving Holy Communion at St. Andrew’s will take effect:
1.) Only the Celebrating Bishop or Priest will receive the Sacrament in “Both Kinds”. This means that the Chalice will only contain a very small amount of wine for the Celebrant.
2.) The congregation will make Holy Communion by receiving only the Consecrated Bread (Body) of Christ. The Celebrant who has disinfected his/her hands prior to the Prayer of Consecration will be the only person distributing the Consecrated Bread.
[Healing and Unction. This practice will change until further notice:]
There will no longer be the multiple Laying on of Hands or Unction at the Altar Rail after receiving Holy Communion. What I mean by multiple is where our Deacon goes down the line Laying Hands (touching) multiple people. There is not enough time for the Deacon, or me, to disinfect our hands between each person. For those who want the Laying on of Hands and Unction in the context of a Sunday morning, you may stay behind after the dismissal and I will see that this Sacrament is made available to you. Laying on of Hands and Unction on Sunday mornings will continue, just the practice will change.
[The Exchange of the Peace:]
I was hoping that we could continue doing the Peace without any changes. Although I am desiring the following priactices; I will not be the “Peace Monitor”. Here are the changes that I am “strongly requesting” during the Peace:
1.) No hand shakes. A simple nod, and say “The Peace of the Lord” or “Good
2.) No hugging.
These practices are not all inclusive, and are subject to change or being updated; but hopefully abolished in the near future.
Further questions, you may speak to our Parish Nurses; Melanie McCarty, or Courtney Burgan. Also, Sheila Reid, who works in the Dental Health Care profession can be of assistance explaining safe practices.
The Rev’d. Steven L. McCarty – Priest
Vicar – St. Andrew’s
(Copy – Bishop’s Office)