March 28, 2021
Dear St. Stephen’s members and friends,
my main commitment has been and continues to be the health and well-being of each of you. It has been my very real commitment that St. Stephen’s and anything we do here cannot under any circumstances be the reason one becomes ill. My main priority as your priest has always been your health and well-being, both spiritually and physically.
St. Stephen’s will continue prudent ways to decrease spread of disease. This includes the continued wearing of masks, distancing six feet, hand washing, avoiding others when sick, and ventilation such as open windows or meetings outside. We also have every other pew roped off. Please take full advantage of the hand sanitizer in the nave and elsewhere throughout the church. Also, please wash your hands thoroughly.
· – because of the great success of online worship at St. Stephen’s, all of our Masses and other liturgies will continue to be Livestreamed on Facebook, uploaded to our YouTube Page and included on our Webpage.
-Our Facebook Livestream: https://facebook.com/groups/52039214842
-Our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcdWKCnCHmviajkFX5p-xGg
-Our webpage: https://ststephensfargo.org
· – Up to this point, we have not had any issues with too many people in attendance at our liturgies, though, over the last few weeks, as more and more parishioners have received the vaccine, our numbers have been steadily rising. We will continue to observe those numbers closely and act accordingly. All of our clergy, as well as our organist, have all been fully vaccinated.
· We will continue to follow the same rules for these events as we do for in-person worship.
· Children’s Chapel will remain suspended until we feel safe enough to provide it again.
Congregational singing is now allowed. However, use of a mask, continued social distancing and proper ventilation remain in place.
Touch-free greetings with no hand shaking or hugs will continue.
We will continue our single station before the altar (no kneeling). We will continue to only provide the bread (no wine at this time). Masking and distance continue.
We will continue to use disposable booklets for all liturgies. The Prayer Books and Hymnals will not be used for the foreseeable future. The offering plates remain in a stationary position at the front of the nave. We will continue to ventilate the nave between liturgies.
Coffee Hour will remain suspended, though we are looking at ways to offer a few experimental coffee hours outdoors during the summer. It is our hope that, as the numbers decrease, we may tentatively begin Coffee Hour in some form beginning in September.
If you have not been vaccinated, please make a plan to do so soon.
STAYING HOME: I will add one more item; if you are feeling sick, afraid of exposing family members and/or loved ones or are simply feeling uncomfortable attending church at this time, please feel free to stay home and join us through our online worship. If you would like to receive Holy Communion, please contact me, and either Deacon John or myself will come to your home and bring Holy Communion.
We will revisit these protocols again in a few months and revise them appropriately.
Please know that my prayers are with all of you during this holiest of seasons, and that I look forward to that wonderful day when I can see all of you again in person. Please know I pray for each of you by name in the course of the week in my daily prayers. Please pray for me as well.
Fr. Jamie Parsley+, Rector