Saint Luke the Evangelist
Antiochian Orthodox Church
18046 Chillicothe Rd, Bainbridge, OH 44023

COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE

JULY 28, 2020

St. Luke the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church
Bainbridge, OH

The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26)


SUMMARY POINTS:

  • All in-person activities (meetings, social gatherings, classes, etc.) are suspended until further notice as per the directive issued by His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH on March 17, 2020. The only modification of this directive to date has been allowing limited in-person attendance by parishioners at divine services.
  • At the direction and blessing of His Grace Bishop ANTHONY, limited in-person attendance at Sunday Divine Liturgy is possble for parishioners only by advance sign-up. We remain unopened to the general public and visitors.

June 9, 2020 Letter to the Parish - Limited Reopening of the Parish this Weekend

Dear Members of St. Luke the Evangelist,

The blessings of the Lord.

As I have shared in announcements over the past few weeks, myself and the Parish Council, at the direction of His Grace Bishop ANTHONY, have been working to prepare policy & procedures for re-opening the parish for limited attendance/participation by the faithful at Sunday Divine Liturgy.

We submitted our policy/procedures to His Grace last Friday and received his blessing to move ahead with limited reopening starting this Sunday (6/14/20).

I've included the entirely of our policy/procedures after my letter below. A few of the main points to highlight:
  1. We are only starting with Sunday Liturgy with limited attendance of 33 people total by advanced online registration. Families may attend and sit together, but will have to observe social distancing parameters with respect to other people while in the church building. We will not be open to the general public or visitors. Information on how to register online will be posted later this week.
  2. Those who are in at-risk groups for COVID-19 (65 or older, immunocompromised, have asthma, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, are overweight, etc.) are strongly encouraged to stay home and participate via the livestream. I can schedule individual communion with you during the week. Also, if you are sick and/or have been in contact with someone who has been sick, you are asked to stay home.
  3. All families are asked to check temperatures before coming for Sunday Liturgy. Family members with a temperature of 99º F or higher are asked to stay at home.
  4. The process of entering the church, communion, and leaving the church will be facilitated by two ushers.
  5. To begin, the service will be served by myself and one chanter only. There will be no altar servers to begin. There will be no choir or congregational singing.
If you have any questions, please contact me. I know there are more details to be worked out, but I wanted to make sure you had the latest information affecting our services and building access as soon as possible.

As we begin this reopening process, this will all be subject to modification based on additional direction from the Diocese/Archdiocese and our government (local, state, federal).

In Christ,
Fr. Matthew

Procedures for Reopening
Church Services amid Social
Distancing

To Do In Preparation for Limited Opening

(To be completed by the Parish Council and volunteers before Sunday's Liturgy)
  1. Fold & put away tables, table coverings, and brown metal chairs in the church foyer. Leave out one SMALL table near door to Sanctuary for the Bulletins, Hand Sanitizer, Candles, Collection Baskets, etc.
  2. Set up green chairs in church nave for 6 feet distancing between family groups.
  3. Put tape neatly to mark every 6 feet up center aisle to mark spacing for the Communion line. 
  4. Instruct parishioners through email about how to sign up for services (at least 12 hours in advance), procedures, and cautions for those who should not come to church.
  5. Instruct ushers of their procedures. (Separate sheet attached)
  6. Procure hand sanitizer pumps and refills, disinfectant spray, masks, gloves and place them in narthex, lobby, bathrooms, etc (as appropriate).
  7. Procure disinfectant wipes/spray for ushers to wipe door handles and for individuals to use on bathroom surfaces.
  8. Prepare Outside door, Interior door(s) and Restroom signage.
  9. The church will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by the cleaning company each week.

Before Every Service

  1. Cleaning service disinfects nave, bathrooms, door handles and all other surfaces.
  2. Doors and windows should be opened during and after services, if possible, to allow fresh air into the building.

Procedures for Every Service

  1. An usher will be stationed at the entrance to the church and doors leading into the church nave at least fifteen minutes before the start of services. See attached sheet for usher instructions. 
  2.  If a parishioner reports that temperature was not taken at home, another usher will do a temperature check with a touchless thermometer.  Those who have a temperature of 99.0° F or above will be asked politely to go home.
  3. Parishioners will be reminded to remain at least six feet away (four chairs) from other households, with no more than two households in the same row.
  4. Doors will remain propped open. Outside door will be propped open before and after services. 

General Policies and Notes

  1. St. Luke Church will strictly adhere to the more restrictive of directives from the Archdiocese, Ohio civil authorities, and the CDC and Ohio and Geauga County Health Departments' recommended best practices.
  2. As long as all are in compliance with the directives set forth, we anticipate that we can begin this process with 33% of our seating capacity able to attend all services with advance sign up. This is 33 persons.
  3. We will begin having Sunday liturgy by reservation as soon as the guidelines are approved by Bishop Anthony.  In addition, parishioners are invited to schedule appointments to come for Communion individually.
  4. We will continue livestreaming Sunday Matins/Liturgy, Feast Day services, and Saturday Vespers.
  5. We will continue to keep the church closed during Saturday Vespers.
  6. Coffee hour and all non-liturgical gatherings shall not resume at this point. Organizational meetings, Bible studies, etc., will continue online.
  7. Parishioners are required to register themselves and their household for a service at least 12 hours in advance.  Parishioners will sign up for Liturgies via an online registration system. We will include notices on the online registration system for parishioners to stay home if they have symptoms or are elderly or have been in contact with anyone who has been infected in the last 14 days, and other pertinent messages.
  8. Elderly, infirm, diabetics, and those who have asthma, heart conditions or any chronic illness will be strongly advised NOT to come to Liturgy but to participate via livestream services and then to schedule an appointment to come and partake of holy Communion. We will be supportive of anyone who is uncomfortable coming to church at the present time.
  9. Parishioners must keep their children with them at all times while in the church building.
  10. The kitchen, all classrooms and Father’s office will be closed.
  11. People will be instructed to bring their own face masks from home. However, we will have facemasks and gloves available at the church.
  12. Signage will be posted in the narthex asking everyone to observe proper hygiene practices – no hugging, handshakes, or kissing, proper handwashing, cough/sneeze into shoulder, etc.
  13. The celebrant will wear a face covering while serving communion and at dismissal.   
  14. Services are to be conducted by one celebrant and one chanter. There will be no choir or congregational singing. 
  15. Church may be open for individual prayer – no more than ten people at a time – by appointment or posted times.
  16. We will continue to offer Communion according to our Tradition, but all should allow the priest to pour the Body and Blood instructing the faithful to open their mouths wide and not close their lips on the spoon.
  17. The priest will cleanse his hands periodically through services – especially right before “Holy Things are for the Holy” and once again before giving Communion to the faithful.
  18. Antidoron will be given by the priest or a server – either of whom must wear a plastic glove. The priest will wear a face covering to hand out antidoron and greet the faithful after the service.
  19. The entire church should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before (or after) every service.
 

Usher Instructions


There should be one usher at the back entrance to the building and one usher at the entrance to the sanctuary. Ushers will wear gloves and mask.

Procedures:

Ushers arrive at the church at least 15 minutes prior to liturgy starting.

At door to enter the building Usher should:
  • welcome parishioners
  • confirm parishioners are on the list of those who reserved spaces at that Liturgy.  
  • ask parishioners if their temperature was checked at home.  If not, the temperature should be checked with a touchless thermometer. If the temperature is 99℉ or above the person will be politely asked to go home and live stream the service.
  • check to be sure all adults have a face mask.  If not, provide one.
  • direct parishioners directly to sanctuary entrance. 
At door to enter sanctuary Usher should:
  • hand a bulletin to one person in family
  • direct family to area in which they will sit
  • provide hand sanitizer, if desired 
  • provide gloves, if desired 
  • If parishioner wants to purchase or take a candle to light in the church, hand the candle(s) to the parishioner. Direct that these must be lit before liturgy begins so there is no walking around during the service.
  • tell parishioner that offering baskets for candles and other offerings are marked and on the table.  No basket will be passed.
At Communion the Usher should:
  • dismiss people from the rows maintaining social distancing at all times
  • remind people quietly to not close mouth on spoon
  • remind people that bread will be handed to them.
At end of Liturgy

One (1) Usher should:
  • dismiss people from the rows maintaining social distancing
  • remind people that bread will be handed to them
  • ask people to take Bulletin with them

One (1) Usher should be at the door to sanctuary directing people to go immediately out the door to the parking lot. 
 
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St. Luke the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church - Bainbridge, OH