Dear Members in Christ,
As you are aware, the COVID numbers in Maryland, as well as the rest of the country, have turned around and are again on the upswing. Governor Hogan has just recently started to impose tighter restrictions on groups of activities, particularly restaurants, bars and other indoor gatherings.
Here at Saint Matthews, we continue to be diligent, with the safety of our parishioners at the top of our concerns while allowing them to attend liturgy and receive the Holy Communion. At all times, we have met and exceeded the Synodal, State and Howard County COVID guidelines with respect to “religious institutions”.
In light of the recent upward trend in cases across Maryland, we have decided to make some adjustments to our current processes for attending liturgy. Effective immediately, we will be increasing the spacing of parishioners by an additional 30% from that already recommended by the CDC and other health authorities. Although this will reduce the total number of parishioners able to attend liturgy in the sanctuary, we believe that it’s important that we do everything we can to help keep our parishioners safe while attending liturgy. We will also reduce the number of parishioners in the church hall, currently used as overflow using live-streaming with in-person communion during liturgy.
The safety of our parishioners, and that of our clergy, is of our highest importance during these times. Since we began in-person services, we have had no instances of any COVID infections; a direct result of strictly following established protocols and the thoughtful consideration of our parishioners attending. We are continuing to encourage our faithful to attend liturgy and receive the Holy Communion. However, we also want to encourage those that may be at high risk, or those that are otherwise uncomfortable with attending in person for any reason, to participate via the livestream liturgy. In addition, I am always available to talk, or for any special circumstances, can visit with the Holy Communion.
Yours in Christ,