Members of the Trinity Community:
As concerns mount over the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19), the Church has a duty to ensure that our dedication to our community and to the tenets of our faith is met in equal measure with attention to the recommendations of public health organizations dedicated to ameliorating the societal effects of COVID 19.
Places of worship bring together large numbers of people from their various walks of life, and even as we celebrate the beauty of our sacramental meetings, we must also acknowledge that public gatherings of all sorts present opportunities for the spread of infectious diseases, and accordingly, we face unique challenges in preserving the integrity of our worship even as we preserve the health of the faithful. The Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) has issued a statement (“A message from our Bishops: Coronavirus”) urging initial precautionary steps that local parishes can take to limit the spread of COVID 19 and related infectious diseases like influenza among our congregations. Additional recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) will be used by Trinity in assessing and implementing programmatic actions to minimize disease vectors and promote healthful, pragmatic responses to COVID 19. Trinity’s response to this disease will evolve as more information about it becomes available and as epidemiological conditions in Connecticut develop.
Alterations to Ritual Practices
In the short term, Trinity on the Green will implement small, common sense alterations to our ritual practice to combat the spread of COVID 19:
- Trinity on the Green will be closed to the public until further notice. All Trinity functions will be conducted by minimum, essential staff. All liturgical, service, and recreational events must be attended remotely. Instructions for doing so will be provided in the eNews, on the Trinity website, and on the Trinity Facebook page.
- Trinity will immediately implement a practice of broadcasting all services involving the chancel of the Church via live-streaming and our conference call system. We encourage anyone feeling ill or those with underlying risk factors (immunosuppression, diminished respiratory capacity, advanced age, etc) to avail themselves of these remote means of worship to minimize the spread of pathogens. Kyle Picha is available at (203) 624-3101 or email@example.com to answer any questions or to help coordinate access to these services.
- Remote attendees are invited to light a candle, to join Rev. Luk with a piece of bread and a cup of wine. This way we can celebrate communion, while not with regular consecration, then at least with a symbolic representation of the Eucharist.
Healthful Personal Practices
Outside of liturgical practice, we also advocate that individuals develop the following habits to limit personal exposure to COVID 19 and related pathogens and to limit the spread of illnesses among our community:
- Please stay home. At present, there are few tools in the public health arsenal. The most important and effective is social distancing. Reducing exposure to the virus is more than a personal safety practice. It also helps reduce the pace and scope of the spread of the virus. Perhaps most importantly, social distancing slows down the rate at which critically ill people put stress upon medical facilities and staff.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. An easy rule of thumb: every time you walk through the door, wash your hands first thing. Due to a structural quirk of this coronavirus (RNA strands are surrounded by protective lipid envelopes), it is uniquely vulnerable to the traditional soap and water method.
- Practice good respiratory hygiene. If possible, cough or sneeze into tissues, and promptly dispose of tissues into a covered trash bin. If no tissue is available, please cough into your elbow rather than your hands. Pay special attention to hand washing when respiratory symptoms are present.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Make an effort to sanitize frequently touched personal effects and surfaces (countertops, food preparation areas, smartphone screens, etc.)
- Maintain connections with friends and clergy, especially if you or your friends are elderly or home-bound.
Staying Healthy & Keeping the Faith
At present, COVID 19 represents a rapidly developing health concern, and as such, its circumstances are dynamic. Trinity on the Green takes very seriously its responsibilities to the health of our congregation and the larger community, and we will make all efforts to ensure that our management strategies conform to the best available practices indicated by public health officials and are communicated promptly and clearly to our parishioners.
In times of sickness and uncertainty, Christians have the privilege of calling upon a faith tradition richly endowed with stories of God’s compassion for the sick and the saving intervention of Christ the healer. We pray that this sickness might come to its end speedily, that it might pass into memory having spared the world the upset and suffering that our fears portend. Even as we pray, we also prepare, in the knowledge that the strength of our community will serve us well and that the beneficence of God will see us through whatever is to come.