Updated 8/20/21

Welcome back!

Before and after services, we invite you to congregate in the courtyard outside.

In the Nave, you’ll sit, masked, with your household group, and join in congregational singing if you wish. There’ll be readings, prayers, music, a sermon, and communion with pre-packaged wafers.

Read on for the details on preparing to attend, the Regathering covenant we ask you to uphold, the check-in process, worship, and the facilities available.

For background on the Regathering effort, please click here.

All are welcome

  • Whether you are a newcomer or a long-term parishioner, we are delighted that you are considering joining an in-person worship service.
  • We do not differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated people when we gather to worship. While you will have to answer questions about symptoms and potential exposure to COVID-19 before participating in a service, we will not ask about your vaccination status.
  • We expect everyone to uphold our community’s Regathering Covenant–the promises we make to each other about how to regather in a spirit of love and mutual care. This includes wearing masks and maintaining physical distance from people outside your household.

What do you need to know?

Our return to worship in the Nave has been successful, thanks to everyone’s conscientious and thoughtful adjustments. It has been such a joy to gather in the Nave again and continue to have folks join us online.

You no longer need to register online before coming to attend church in person. However, we will need to know who is in the building and we will check your name off a list, much like our annual meeting check-in. Entry is still limited to Baxter Hall doors. Please know that arriving a little early will help get everyone in.

Masks are still required in the church building. Children and immunocompromised people are part of our community. We will continue to love our neighbor and our community and wear a mask.

We will continue to honor physical distancing, respecting each other’s comfort level for distance and physical contact. We have upped our numbers for worship to 100 people, so more people means being more intentional about each other’s space.

Before you come

If you are symptomatic or have been exposed to anyone with Covid-19, please stay home and take good care of yourself, letting us know if you need help. Before you come to church, your answers should be “Yes” to the following statements:

  • I agree to wear a mask over my nose and mouth at all times in church buildings, except for briefly removing my mask to take communion.
  • I agree I will only attend worship if I am healthy and non-symptomatic (symptoms: Fever ≥ 100.4◦F; sore throat; cough; shortness of breath; chills; vomiting, diarrhea or nausea; pink eye; joint or muscle aches; loss of taste or smell).
  • I agree to maintain a physical distance and to make no physical contact with anyone beyond members of my household without their permission.
  • I agree to respect any requests for distance and masking to ensure the safety and comfort level of others, even as restrictions are reduced.
  • I confirm that, to the best of my knowledge, in the past seven days I have not had contact with any person with a presumed diagnosis of COVID 19.
  • I acknowledge that the coronavirus is highly contagious, and there is a risk of infection that is beyond the control of the church in spite of precautions that are being taken. I will make my own decision as to my safety in entering the church building and for the safety of children and others in my care.
  • We continue moving forward cautiously and with care for each other and will make adjustments as needed responding to changes in circumstances.

Arrival and check-in

When you arrive at St. Mark’s:

  • There will be a greeter in the courtyard to help you navigate.
  • The building will open at 9:40. You are free to congregate outside before then.
  • Please put your mask on before entering the building.
    • There will be masks available if you forgot yours.
  • Please honor any requests for masking and physical distancing while outside.
  • Enter the building from the parking lot, through the Baxter Hall door.
    • The foyer and the exterior nave doors will be locked before the service.

Checking in:

  • Everyone will be asked to confirm their answers to questions about symptoms and potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • Volunteers will check off names of parishioners as they enter,
  • Walk-ins will have to provide contact tracing information.
  • Baxter Hall will be used exclusively for registration and check-in. There will be no seats for people to hang around and chat.
  • After check-in, please go straight through the foyer into the nave.

Facilities

Refreshments:

  • There will be no coffee or tea available inside the building.
  • Pub lunch is on hiatus. We will re-institute it when we determine that masking and social distancing precautions are no longer necessary.
  • Weather permitting, we will have coffee hour in the courtyard following the service.

Bathrooms:

  • All bathrooms (foyer and downstairs) will be available for use.
  • Please note that only the bathrooms will be open downstairs.

Arrangements for children:

  • Children are welcome in the nave for worship (everyone over the age of two must be masked).
  • Ushers will rearrange chairs as needed so that families can sit together.
  • The nursery is currently closed and online Sunday School is over for the summer.
  • We plan to have both the nursery and Sunday School open in-person in September.

 

Worship in the nave

On your way in:

  • Pick up a copy of the service bulletin.
    • The bulletin contains all the prayers and music for the service, so you will not need a hymnal or Book of Common Prayer.
    • The bulletin will also have a copy of our Regathering Covenant for you to read and keep at home if you wish.
  • You will see a few cameras on tripods. They are primarily filming the pulpit, the altar, and the musicians. Depending on where you sit, you may be on camera for portions of the service. If you prefer, you can avoid being visible on camera by sitting on the west side of the nave, near the tech crew.
  • You may hear some whispered direction from the tech crew, who will be seated in the northwest corner of the nave managing the livestream. Think of it as the Holy Spirit spurring us on!
  • Please be considerate if the musicians are still rehearsing.
  • Seats are arranged in pairs.
  • Please maintain physical distance from people outside your own household.
  • Please be in your seat and silent by the time the prelude begins–ambient noise will detract from the experience of the people participating via livestream.
    • Advance warning will be given so people have time to get seated.

During the service:

  • Please keep your mask on at all times, except momentarily to receive the sacrament or lead worship through an assigned speaking part.
  • Congregational singing is allowed since we are masked, so please join in!
  • Pre-recorded elements of the service, such as virtual choir, will be audio-only.
  • Please maintain physical distance while passing the peace with people outside your household–we can acknowledge each other by bowing, waving, making the peace sign, or just making eye contact.
  • We will not be passing an offertory plate–it will be by the door as you exit.
  • Please remain at your seat for communion.
    • We will not be gathering around the altar.
    • Communion will be in one kind only; pre-consecrated wafers will be distributed during the communion music.
  • Please remain silent during the postlude.

Dismissal:

  • Please stay in your seat until dismissed by the Verger.
  • Please take your bulletin and the baggie for the communion wafer with you when you leave the nave.

After the service

In the courtyard:

  • You are free to congregate in the courtyard.
  • There will be coffee hour outside, weather permitting.
  • Please honor any requests for masking and physical distancing while outside.

Back home again:

  • Help us learn what is working/not working in our new approach to in-person worship–please email michele@stmarks.net with your questions, comments, and suggestions.
  • Think about how you can help:
    • Volunteer to serve as a greeter, checker, or nave volunteer–email regatheringvolunteers@stmarks.net.
    • Volunteer to help with coffee hour.
    • Say “Thank you” to the greeters, checkers, and nave volunteers who are working hard to make regathering possible.