Many of us have been reading or hearing about the COVID-19 virus. While our own provincial health officer has suggested calmness and that the province’s health care system is well able to deal with a potential outbreak of this virus, this is an update on what we as a parish are doing in light of the corona virus.
In the past few days we have received direction from the Diocese on actions to be taken in light of the corona virus. We also have decided to take further actions based on other information.
When we receive the fullness of Christ, we receive either Christ’s body or blood. We will for the time being only receive the consecrated hosts. The cup will not be given. This based on the guidance from the diocese.
The clergy will be using hand sanitizers before and after administering holy communion. We have always been well aware of proper sanitary procedures, but we now will be extra vigilant.
There will be a slight change in protocol for those who are gluten intolerant and celiac. Since it is no longer appropriate for people to take the bread from the container themselves, and since some are very highly sensitive to even small traces of wheat, we will be using the following process. We will have one priest or deacon administering the wheat hosts, and one following and separately administering the non-gluten hosts. If you are gluten intolerant please place your hands in the prayer position as usual.
We will cease to exchange the peace, for the time being (that is by shaking hands, hugging etc.). You may give a little wave to your fellow Christians.
The clergy will not be shaking hands at the door. We will, however, be there to greet and speak with people. Following the guidance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the priests will no longer be placing their hands on the heads of those being blessed (but they still will be blessed) at the communion line.
To avoid transferring the virus when everyone touches the collection plate, the collection plate will not be passed around. It will be placed so you can put your collection in it if you wish. Automatic electronic bank withdrawals can be set up to avoid bringing your offering on Sundays. Contact the Wardens for information.
There will be hand sanitizers available in a variety of places, although washing with soap and water is still the most effective means of removing the virus. Please wash your hands before attending the Eucharist. You may also want to use one of the hand sanitizers before and/or after making your communion.
We will be taking extra care in cleaning the church. We will ensure that everything that can be wiped down with sanitizing substances, will be wiped down.
To avoid children infecting other children, the toys in the nursery will be removed. Feel free to bring your own toy for your own child.
Please remember that in the midst of all these precautions, we all need to take due diligence. We will do more than that; we will continue to share the word of life and the bread of life. Our souls need nurture at all times, and now is no exception.
See the following link from the Government of Alberta for updated information.