Beloved Members and Friends of St. Martin's,
The Diocese of Missouri has issued new guidelines regarding gathering in our buildings. This is prudent and consistent with our call to love our neighbors. It must be noted that the US set a record for the number of new reported COVID infections yesterday at over 1 million-- and since tests are in short supply, the actual number in undoubtedly higher.
The ReGathering Committee met tonight to discuss these new requirements, which are reasonable and as unrestrictive as possible. They are as follows:
"Effective January 3, 2022, the following guidelines and recommendations become effective in The Diocese of Missouri to further enable the safety and security of our siblings in Christ, the people we have been called to serve.
Masks that cover the nose and mouth are required for all persons for all indoor gatherings.
KN95 Masks are strongly recommended and encouraged.
Physical distancing of 3’-6’ is required for all indoor gatherings. Cohorts or pods within the same family may continue to safely interact.
Distribution of the consecrated wine is suspended.
Worship capacity is limited to the percentage of maximum occupancy that safely allows for physical distancing.
Contact tracing is required for all building activities including worship and outreach projects.
Registration to attend worship is strongly encouraged.
Worship services should be limited to under an hour.
Communal meals are strongly discouraged.
Coffee-hour should be done as a to-go or the room should be set up to allow maximum physical distancing.
Annual Parish Meetings should be conducted with physical distance or done via videoconference. "
Due to our cautious, deliberate approach at St. Martin's throughout this pandemic, we already we largely in line with these guidelines, and we are hoping to be able to safely gather for worship, caring for each other even as this wave continues, with proper care and prevention exercised. Therefore, due to sharply rising COVID case numbers, all in-person meetings during the weekdays are suspended through January 22: Bible Study, chair exercises, Boy Scouts, River Blenders, etc.
As of right now, worship will continue to be offered in-person with a cap of 11 people at the Saturday 505 pm service and 52 people at the 10:30 am Sunday service. I have ordered a quantity of KN-95 masks to be available for any worshiper or staff member, and I encourage you to take one and not only wear it while we are in worship, but take it home with you (these are reusable) to wear when you go out in public.
Signing in or registering online and proper masking, hygiene, and social distancing will be required. Please help us by registering for worship ahead of time if you can on our website. Please abstain from in-person worship if you have, or suspect you have, come in contact with someone who is ill.
Please understand that it is possible that in-person worship may need to be paused, with the decision made on a week-by-week basis.
Please make sure to check Facebook, email, and the website before leaving for church each weekend.
As always, we are blessed to be able to offer online worship opportunities on our Youtube channel, Facebook page, and website. As we enter the season of Epiphany, we celebrate that we can all be the light the world needs right now. God-with-us, Emmanuel, is with us always, long after the nativity sets have been put away. I give profound thanks for your continued witness and discipleship of the loving, compassionate Way of Jesus. In Christ, Leslie+