Worship in the time of Covid
We are sending this note to provide guidance on the re-opening of Nativity Church effective this Sunday, June 21. Our Metropolis has provided us with directives which include recommendations from the State of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Every precaution is being taken to maintain the safety of our community, and this includes more frequent cleaning of our church. As stated earlier by the Metropolis, “all at-risk persons are strongly encouraged to stay at home. At-risk persons are those with pre-existing health conditions and those over the age of 65.” We will continue to live stream our worship services from our Facebook link at nativitygochurch.org or you can watch from the Nativity Facebook page.
- According to guidelines established by the Metropolis, we can admit up to 70 persons into church and we will not permit additional persons to enter during services. Please note that our seating capacity may increase starting on July 5 and we will keep you posted on any changes. Father Nick may be starting additional liturgies on Saturdays depending on how things are progressing with our re-opening. An announcement will proceed any additional liturgies.
- Please come to church as early as possible to assure a seat in church before we reach the maximum allowed capacity. Orthros starts at 8:45 a.m. and Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m. Seating areas on the church have been established so that appropriate physical distancing is maintained. You will be guided to your seat by an usher and please continue to follow instructions from ushers during services. Pews with icons or flowers are not to be occupied. Additionally, our cry room is closed until further notice.
- Before you enter the church, an attendant will conduct a brief health screening which will include a touchless temperature check. You will notice that an additional candle stand has been set up outside of church. Everyone is required to wear a face mask upon entry and you will need to keep it on as long as you are inside. Face masks will be provided if needed. Ushers will also provide you with hand sanitizer before entering church. Please venerate the icons by bowing and making the sign of the cross, and icons are not to be kissed. You may purchase red votive candles in the narthex, and ushers will place candles in the solea for you. Ushers will not be able to make change from the candle stand -cash, check or credit card are accepted. You will be guided to your pew when you are ready to be seated and you will notice that the doors will be propped open - so please try to be quiet while you are in the Narthex. Family members of a single household who are quarantined together, may set together. You will notice that we have removed Divine Liturgy books and weekly bulletins from pews as well.
- When it is time for Holy Communion, ushers will escort you to the center aisle, please keep your masks on and maintain six feet distance from other individuals or families. You will notice blue lines on the marble for keeping distance. When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion, Father Nick will provide you with instructions and you will receive a paper napkin that you will need to discard after receiving communion. No antidoron will be available after Communion. The priest and the altar servers will be wearing face masks for the duration of Holy Communion.
- At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the ushers will escort the people from the side aisles to receive the antidoron while practicing social distancing. Father Nick’s hand is not to be kissed and he will give you the antidoron already safely placed in a plastic bag. Please treat the antidoron as you would at any Liturgy, it is blessed. If there are crumbs left in the bags please empty them out on the grass. If there is a Memorial, kolyva will be placed in bags and distributed in the Narthex.
- After receiving antidoron, please exit the church from the center aisle and place your stewardship offering in a basket that will be close to the Narthex. There will be no trays or baskets passed inside church. Please make every effort to avoid congregating inside church at the conclusion of service.
- Please note that we will have no coffee hour in the church hall until the Metropolis informs us otherwise. The hall will remain closed and locked until further notice.
If you do not get a chance to come to church on Sunday, there will be many opportunities for you to come to church and receive Holy Communion in the coming weeks.
We know everyone will be happy to see their church family.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to Father Nick or the Parish Council if you have any questions or concerns.
May the Lord bless all our Fathers as well! Happy Fathers Days Weekend!
Father Nick and Parish Council