Stage 3 Covid Changes Beginning Sunday, October 24
For All the Saints,
With you I give thanks that Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths are mercifully decreasing. Austin Public Health declared we are now in Stage 3. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have been on the front lines of caring for those who have been sick and caring for those who have died. This has been such an ordeal, literally, for the whole world. And we recognize that the pandemic has not ended. But we can now, happily and carefully, relax some of the constraints we have held for the safety of all. The changes mentioned below will be instituted beginning Sunday, October 24.
First, we will address the 10:00am in-person Holy Eucharist in the church.
On Sunday, October 24 – what will not change? The congregation and leaders will continue to be masked throughout the service unless reading lessons, prayers, officiating or preaching. We will continue to receive the communion in one kind (bread only) until we achieve Stage 2 (but we recognize that Stage 2 could be defined differently in the future).
Also on Sunday, October 24 - we will remove the signs in the pews. The congregation will sit where they choose! We will restore a full complement of acolytes, readers, vergers and a full choir! The choir and congregation will remain masked while singing throughout the service. The congregation will take communion at the altar.
As regarding all in-person gatherings while in Stage 3, indoor gathering will require masks. There will be no indoor gatherings with meals, including an indoor coffee hour after church. But to clarify, outdoor gatherings with food are welcomed and masks are not required outside unless unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are participating. And due to the higher risks associated with the Delta variant, our infant nursery and Parent’s Day Out remain suspended until we reach Stage 2.
Alas, Stage 3 does not offer all we want in terms of returning to what we would love to call “normalcy”. But keep your eyes on the horizon as Stage 2 could be announced sooner than later. You will hear back from me if and when that occurs.
Finally, I remind you all that Bishop Kai Ryan will be with us on All Saints Sunday, November 7, for baptism, confirmation and the send-off for our priest and brother, Steve Kinney, as he rides off into retirement. All Saints Day is a beautiful ceremony – we remember and honor our deceased loved ones – we greet very small children being baptized into the church – we rejoice with those being confirmed – we renew our affection for Bishop Ryan (and she for us) – we dismiss our servant Steve with gratitude. I hope to see you then and there, for the benefit of All the Saints!
Faithfully, (The Rev.) Merrill Wade, Interim Rector