In Person Worship
In-person worship at St. John's will resume on July 12, with services at 8:00am, and 10:00am. All are welcome to attend these services which will last about 30 minutes and require that masks be worn throughout the service and social distancing be maintained. For more information, please read our reopening letter and information sheet, which may be found by clicking here.
(It is also copied below.)
To RSVP to a service, please use the following links:
June 29, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In accordance with Diocesan Guidelines and current Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and CDC guidelines and recommendations, St. John’s is planning to resume in person worship on July 12th. The vestry, a small task force, and I have been exploring ways to allow us to come together with as little risk as possible. Churches have been and continue to be “super-spreader” events in this pandemic, and we are making every effort to prevent such an occurrence at St. John’s. Minimizing these risks will only be possible if everyone complies with our expectations, including wearing masks and social distancing. If we do not all do what is necessary, we will need to suspend in-worship again for the foreseeable future.
Even with our best efforts, we cannot make church “safe” at this point. We are striving to make worship no more risky than some other activities that have resumed in our area. However, any indoor activities with groups of people have higher risks of contagion. ANYONE WITH UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS OR OVER 65 YEARS OF AGE IS ENCOURAGED TO REMAIN AT HOME. St. John’s and other churches will continue to offer on-line worship. I would reiterate that no one is expected to be in church at this point. I would encourage anyone who is not one-hundred percent comfortable with being in a public setting at this time to remain at home. Also, anyone who is unable or unwilling to wear a mask throughout their time at St. John’s, has had a known exposure to COVID, or is awaiting COVID test results should remain at home. If anyone who attends St. John’s tests positive for COVID, we will close our facilities for at least 14 days.
Our upcoming worship services will necessarily be different. The attached document describes worship details, including how to RSVP for a service, expectations for attendance, instructions for receiving communion, where to park, and which entrances to use. With everyone’s cooperation, I hope we can offer worship that is appropriate for our community at this time.
General Information: In order to comply with Diocesan Guidelines and public health recommendations, St. John’s in-person worship will be different when we resume on July 12. Masks and social distancing will be required, services will be shorter, and there will be no singing, coffee hour, or physical touching. We will begin by offering three services, RSVP’s will be necessary, and we will welcome those from other area Episcopal congregations that are not reopening at this time. Communion will be distributed at the end of the service in a drive-through fashion, and the services will follow the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer but will differ from what we have usually offered.
Worship Services: All our services will last about 30 minutes, include instrumental music, spoken prayers, and a short sermon, and end with communion distributed after people return to their cars. Except for the differences below, each service will be similar.
•8:00am will be in our sanctuary (which is not air-conditioned). The communion service will follow Rite I (traditional, Elizabethan language).
•10:00am will be in air-conditioned Allen Hall. The communion service will follow Rite II (contemporary English).
•11:00am will be in our sanctuary (which is not air-conditioned). The communion service will follow Rite II (contemporary English).
Public Health Directions
•Masks must be worn by anyone entering the building or in our sanctuary or in Allen Hall and throughout the entire worship service. Masks will be available for anyone attending services that needs one.
•Social Distancing will be maintained. Seating is spaced at a distance of at least six feet. Only those from the same household will be seated together.
•No food or drink will be available. There will be no coffee hour, and the lounge and kitchens will not be accessible at this time.
•Temperature Screening will occur before entering the service. Those with temperatures will be asked to leave and to obtain appropriate medical attention.
•Contact Screening Information is needed in case someone attending church tests positive for COVID-19. We will be maintain lists of attendees from our RSVP lists.
•Disinfecting. St. John’s is ensuring regular disinfecting of all areas being used for worship or by other groups. To ensure adequate disinfecting of spaces being used on Sunday morning, we are limiting access to most of our facilities.
RSVP’s will help us meet diocesan and public health guidelines and to ensure that we have enough services for those wishing to attend. If people without an RSVP come when we are already at capacity, we will need to turn people away, which we do not want to do. We will, however, add services if necessary. RSVPs can be made in the following ways:
•Call the St. John’s church office (724-347-4501) on the Tuesday before the service - 10AM - 2PM
•Sign up via Eventbrite. Links can be found on the St. John’s Website (www.stjohnssharon.org) or our Facebook page.
Communion will be offered at all of our services. However, in order to facilitate wearing masks and social distancing, communion will be offered in a drive through manner. Communion for all services will be distributed in our parking lot on Irvine Avenue.
•The service in the sanctuary or Allen Hall will go through the fraction and invitation to communion.
•After the invitation to communion, all will be asked to exit the church in an orderly fashion, leaving appropriate distance between people.
•Once people have gone to their cars in the main parking lot, they can leave the parking lot, turn right on State Street, and then turn right onto Irvine Avenue.
•Communion will be distributed in the Irvine Avenue parking lot. The entrance and exit to the parking lot will be clearly marked. People are asked to sanitize their hands and to follow the instructions of our volunteers to receive communion.
•Those who do not feel able to be in a public worship service are still able to receive communion in their cars a half-hour after each service.
Parking and Entering the Church. To facilitate distribution of communion, social distancing, adequate disinfecting of space, temperature screening, and contract tracing information, we are changing some of our practices for parking and entering our facilities.
•Parking. Everyone is asked to park in our main parking lot off State Street. The only exception is for those who are attending a service in the sanctuary and will need to use the ramp. Those needing the ramp may park in the Irvine Avenue parking lot as directed by our volunteers.
•Entrance to the Sanctuary. Anyone attending services in the sanctuary (8:00am or 11:00am) must enter through the narthex doors on the corner of State Street and Irvine Avenues. The doors near Allen Hall and the office doors will be locked at these times. Those exiting services in the sanctuary may leave through the narthex doors or the door in the chapel through the outdoor cloister on State Street. The door into the church passing near the organ and the carillon will not be open, in part because social distancing cannot be maintained between the organist and those passing through that hallway.
•Entrance to Allen Hall. Anyone attending services in Allen Hall (10:00am) must enter through the main Allen Hall doors on the State Street parking lot side. All other doors to the facilities will be locked before these services. Those exiting services in Allen Hall may leave through the main doors or the doors near the kitchen.
Thank you in advance for complying with these instructions. Safeguarding those attending services is our Christian responsibility and our primary concern at this time. With everyone’s cooperation, we can Care for People even as we Worship God.