On September 12, we will resume indoor worship for the first time in 18 months. We look forward to this milestone, long in coming, with a mix of joyful anticipation and some trepidation as the Delta variant of the Coronavirus continues to make its presence known in our community, country and world. As your leaders, we want to do everything we can to ensure your safety while we welcome all those who seek us. We are excited to see you in person!
As we return to in-person worship, many things will be familiar, but there will be some changes. We ask for your grace and kindness as we navigate these waters together.
What we are doing to keep you safe
Requiring masks for everyone age 2 and older.
Requiring all eligible participants to be fully vaccinated.
Enforcing physical distancing by roping off every other pew and limiting attendance to 75 participants initially (i.e., 25% capacity; an average pre-pandemic congregation was 75-100).
Enhancing ventilation and air cleaning by keeping doors and windows open, using the blower to bring in fresh air, and using 8 large capacity HEPA air purifiers in the church and smaller devices in all other shared spaces.
Making surfaces and hands extra clean through cleaning protocols for the church; hand sanitizer dispensers are stationed throughout the building, and touchless devices for paper towels and soap are in bathrooms.
Outdoor option (weather permitting): during the Sunday 10am service, the central courtyard will be open for anyone who is unvaccinated or does not wish to attend inside. Seating will be provided, and the service will be projected on a large screen.
GET VACCINATED if you are eligible and haven’t already done so. The Vestry, at a meeting on August 25, was UNANIMOUS in support of requiring proof of vaccination as recommended by the diocesan leadership.
INVEST in and WEAR good quality face coverings.
MAKE A RESERVATION if you want to attend the indoor service, as this speeds up entry and allows us to manage capacity in the building and to contact you for public health reasons if necessary.
STAY HOME if you have tested positive for COVID, if you feel unwell, if other family members are unwell, if you have had an exposure to COVID, are in quarantine, or are waiting for the results of a COVID test.
Notify the church office at 510-834-4314 should you test positive for COVID within 10 days after attending a service in person, and they will initiate contact-tracing.
St. Paul's Regathering Plan, submitted to the Diocese, August 2021
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What was the thinking behind requiring vaccination? On August 25, the Vestry met to discuss the strong recommendation of the Diocese that we require proof of vaccination for participation in indoor worship for all those who are eligible to receive the vaccine. The Bible commands us to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ and getting the jab is an act of great love for both yourself and your neighbor. Remember that children under the age of 12 are not eligible for the vaccine yet, and they especially need your love and protection.
How do I show proof of vaccination? When you arrive at church, be prepared to show an usher: - your original vaccine card, or a copy - a photo of your vaccine card on your smartphone - a document from your health provider or electronic health record showing your vaccine and dates - a digital vaccine record. A digital vaccine record which can be easily obtained by visiting www.myvaccinerecord.cadph.ca.gov. The state of California maintains an immunization registry, so if you were vaccinated in California you will be able to access your digital record (using your phone or email) including a scannable QR code.
How do I make a reservation? You should get an e-mail invitation from Jackie Kamakate, the Parish Administrator, on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you don’t see it, go to the church Home page, find the service you wish to attend, and click on the yellow button below the description. To get on the email list, send an email to email@example.com.
Will there be singing? Yes, both by the choir and the congregation, with everyone masked.
What about communion? We will have communion, but without a common cup.
Can we pass the peace? Yes, within your household group. For folks outside your household, maintain 6 feet of distance and bow or do an air hug. We welcome you to connect with your fellow parishioners outside in the courtyard after the service concludes.
Are the restrooms open? Of course. There are two restrooms in the church building that can be used, one in the Mustard Seeds room and one next to the Priest’s sacristy in the ambulatory. Please use the second option if a family is using the Mustard Seeds room. If you require an accessible bathroom, an usher can assist you in accessing one on the first floor of the school building.
What about coffee hour? We have delayed the start of formal coffee hour. However, you are welcome to BYOC (bring your own coffee) in your favorite insulated mug and socialize in the courtyard after the service.
Which services will be in person? At this time, we are planning for the Sunday 10 am, Compline 8 pm (4th Sunday), and Evensong 4 pm (1st Sunday) services to take place inside the church, predicated on a sufficient number of ushers. These services will also be live streamed via our Facebook group page. The Sunday 8am and Wednesday 12:20pm services will be only online. Please check the Home page for the most up-to-date information.
What is a good face covering? One with at least three layers of material that fits your face well without gaps around mouth, nose and face. Masks that offer a high degree of protection (N95, KN95 or KN94) are readily available. For more information, click here.
We will have chairs set up in the courtyard with the entry door open. If you are uncomfortable being inside, you are welcome to sit outdoors, follow along on Facebook, and partake of the sacrament of communion if you wish.
What can children and youth do at St. Paul’s? We have decided to delay the start of Faith Quest until we have a better understanding of parental interest and COVID spread in the community associated with children going back to school. Children are welcome to attend services with their parents inside the church, or outside in the central courtyard.
There will be no Mustard Seeds program initially. The Mustard Seeds room (aka Bride’s room) will not be staffed but will be available for use for family respite, one family at a time.
What about other church activities? We are taking a phased approach to other activities. All meetings will be outdoors, weather permitting, or virtual, until further notice.
What happens if we can’t worship indoors? In the event of an outbreak, or very poor air quality (AQI > 150), we may opt to temporarily return to virtual worship.
How are decisions made about regathering? The Regathering Task force, chaired by Sharon Pilmer and Bill Davis, with a number of leaders from a variety of ministries and subject matter experts, developed our regathering plan which is consistent with Diocesan, CDC, and ACDPH guidelines. The Rector and Vestry have reviewed and approved both this current plan and all previous regathering policies.
What role does the staff play in controlling COVID? Staff have been trained in disease transmission, prevention and when to stay home. Notify the church office at 510-834-4314 should you test positive for COVID within 10 days of attending a service in person, and they will initiate contact-tracing.
Can you guarantee that I won’t get COVID at St. Paul’s? Unfortunately, no. The delta variant of COVID-19 is highly transmissible. We are taking every precaution to keep you safe, and have been extremely cautious in our reopening. Whether you decide to attend in person is a decision that you must make based on your degree of risk tolerance, your own health and the health of your close contacts. We hope to see you but we completely understand if you feel this is not in your best interest.
We will do our best to provide options to allow you to worship in ways you feel most comfortable, and stay connected!