Updated message from the Diocese: Coronavirus: caring for our congregations and communities
As coronavirus continues to be a concern worldwide, we know many of you may have questions about how best to answer God’s call for us to care for the health and well-being of our congregations and surrounding communities.
At the Diocese of California, we are monitoring the advice of many expert sources, including:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The California Department of Health
- Episcopal Relief and Development
We will be re-publishing these links, along with many other resources, next week in our diocesan-wide newsletter. In the meantime, here are some basic guidelines for you and your church community:
- In light of recent developments, and out of love and concern for all, including our neighbors, I have directed all lay and ordained leaders to cease offering communion wine, either for sipping or by intinction, until we learn more about the nature of COVID-19 transmission and are confident the threat of mass infections has passed.
I have also added to our evolving set of guidelines the ask that all those who touch the communion bread/wafers, including altar guild members, wash their hands for thoroughly beforehand and use hand sanitizer during the service if handling communion elements during that time.
- If you are sick, please stay home – both to heal and to protect the most vulnerable from infection.
- During worship services, if you are feeling even slightly unwell, you are encouraged to refrain from contact with the chalice.
- Please remember that consuming only bread is also full communion with the Body of Christ.
- At the peace, please consider alternatives to handshaking or hugging. A nod, a wave, or touching our hands to our hearts are among the many ways we can acknowledge Christ in one another.
- Take time now to consider who in your congregation and surrounding community may be most vulnerable in the event of a coronavirus outbreak and/or quarantine. How can you help them prepare and stay connected to you and others who can offer comfort and support?