Good Day, Good Shepherd,
Gloucester County has moved into the red or high COVID level. The vestry voted at a previous meeting to follow CDC guidance, which recommends, based on current levels, to “Wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider taking additional precautions.”
We request that you kindly wear a mask while attending indoor parish events. Our worship schedule will remain the same, but we will be suspending coffee hour out of an abundance of caution. When the county moves back into the green or low level, masks will again be optional, and coffee hour will resume. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we continue to navigate COVID together.
More information on current CDC recommendations can be found here:
This Sunday, September 12th has been designated as “Homecoming Sunday”. A luncheon will be served in the Church Courtyard immediately after the 10:00AM service (Raindate: Sunday, September 19th). Our theme this year is “HOPE & GRATITUDE”. In addition to lunch, a couple of special surprises are being planned. We hope you will attend; and rejoice that we can gather together as a congregation in the spirit of fellowship and celebrate our youth as they return to Sunday School for the first time in 18 months.
A “Free-Will” offering will be taken-proceeds to go to the Episcopal Relief & Development fund to support relief efforts in Haiti & provide for Afghanistan refugees here in NJ. If you would like to help, please contact Beth Portocalis, Diane Wall, Brad & Jackie Davies, Lori Bathurst, Deb Prieto or Cheryl Burness.
Click on link below to register. There are 150 total “slots” available.
Based on the strong recommendation of the Reentering, Reopening, Reimagining (RRR) Task Force of the Diocese of New Jersey and in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s July 27th recommendations, we will be requiring all worshipers and visitors to the Church, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face mask which covers the nose and mouth. This policy will remain in effect until community infection rates in Gloucester County improve. No one is happy about this decision, but we believe it is the most prudent thing we can do in the face of the increasing threat of the Delta variant of the Covid 19 virus as well as the marked increase in break-thru infections of the vaccinated. As a Church, it is incumbent upon us to follow Jesus’ teachings in protecting the most vulnerable in our community (especially our un-vaccinated children). Your co-operation and compliance with this change in our “in-person” worship protocols will be greatly appreciated.
Sent by David Snyder
In light of the CDC’s recent announcement and the guidelines from the Diocesan Re-Opening Task Force, The Vestry approved the following adjustments to our existing “in person worship” protocols, beginning May 22, 2021:
#1. Vaccinated worship leaders will not be required to wear a mask (Fr. Dave will continue to wear a mask when distributing the sacrament)
#2. Congregational singing (with masks) will resume on Pentecost Sunday.
#3. The Book of Common Prayer and Hymnals will return to the pews.
#4. We will continue to require all worshipers to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. We will increase the maximum # of worshipers to 50..
“In-person” has resumed for Saturday, 5:30pm and Sunday, 10:00am Services. A FlockNote to pre-register will be sent out each Thursday of the week. Deadline for registering will be Friday, 12 Noon for that week.
The Vestry held a special meeting this afternoon and decided to approve a proposal to resume “in-person” worship during Holy Week. The decision was difficult (every member of the Vestry expressed ambivalence: a desire to resume in-person worship but also a deep concern for the health and safety of every member of the parish) and it was not unanimous. But it is the decision and we move forward “Joyfully, Hopefully and CAREFULLY“. It is important that parishioners remember three things:
#1. The protocols that were established back in November will continue to be maintained (masks; social distancing; no congregational singing and the distribution of the host only in the pews)
#2. It will be necessary to pre-register for every service and a maximum attendance of 40 will be permitted (this number includes the Celebrant; Deacon; Lector; organist and ushers).
#3. No one should feel obligated to attend just because in-person worship will be resumed. We will continue to “live stream” all services using the Zoom platform (we are working to upgrade the quality of our presentation with the purchase of new “hardware”).
A FlockNote with detailed information about the schedule for Holy Week and Easter (including pre-registration information) will be sent on Monday.