To: Clergy and People
From: The Bishop
30th January, 2021
Please see the attached protocols for church services from the ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.
Guidelines for Services
You are being kindly asked to do the following:
• Post several signs at and near the entrance(s) and Inside the Church alerting members of the protocols from the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19 and that they must follow the 6ft distancing at all times.
• Announce social/physical distancing expectations periodically.
• Ensure that 6 feet social/physical distancing is maintained within aisles, between pews/seating rows (front, sides and back)
• Avoid having different members/ persons using the same Bible/Prayer book for reading lessons or saying prayers. If a lectern is used have it sanitized after each person uses it.
• Avoid using the pulpit for preaching
• Avoid holding hands during the service/prayers.
• Avoid handshakes as a form of greeting/sign of peace.
• Avoid hugging and greeting with a kiss
• Modify the method for collecting offering i.e. instead of passing round a collection tray/basket:- Use a stationary collection box or extended (poled) collection bags by an usher
• The Sanctuary Party wash their hands with liquid soap and running water or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol prior to conducting the service and before the Eucharistic Prayer and after the service. The Sanctuary Party must maintain the 6 feet social/physical distancing when processing and.at all times.
• Communion is to be administered in one kind (Body) with the celebrant consuming the blood.
• Ensure that the 6 feet social/physical distancing is maintained during the administration of Holy Communion.
• Wash hands after handling offering
• Clean and sanitize highly touched areas and items before and after each service. (Pews, chairs, lectern, tabl·es, surfaces, door knobs).
• Where there is more than one service in the same house of prayer/building please ensure that there is an interval of at least one hour between services.
• Provide sanitizing stations for congregation entering and leaving the building.
• Churches are asked to provide liquid soap and or an alcohol-based sanitising gel and paper towels for use in bathrooms.
• Ensure that there is no gathering inside or outside of the church, before or after services.
• Sanitise members hands before they receive Communion.
• All children attending services should be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
• Blessing of Children- Ask children to stand where they are sitting with their parents/guardians and say.a prayer of blessing from the Altar rails then proceed to sprinkle them with Holy Water.
• Inform your members and visitors of the following:- anyone who has symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay at home.- if you are sick, have a fever or signs of a fever, and any other flu like symptoms- the vulnerable are encouraged to stay at home. Members who have recently returned from overseas and are under quarantine- Members who have been in close contact with someone infected by COVID-19 should stay at home.
• Put some measures in place for anyone who falls or feels ill during the service. Earmark a particular place
(Sick-Bay with basic equipment and have someone to be responsible for it) in the church where they can be cared for and stay until they can be taken home or to a health facility as may be required.
• Appoint a committee of one, two or three members to observe how well members/people are responding to the protocols and to advise on where there are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and make recommendations.
• Clergy are asked to be pastorally sensitive in your response to the concerns of parishioners and people, generally.
• Best hygiene practices are to be observed in all pastoral contacts. Mask should be worn for all pastoral contacts.
Blessings and peace.
The Rt. Rev’d C. Leopold Friday
Bishop of the Windward Islands