We have Resumed in-Person Worship!
Alleluia! We received formal approval from Bishop Marray authorizing Christ Church to resume in-person worship.
We are happy to announce that we will be holding a service of Morning Prayer on Sundays at 9:30 am.
Due to new check-in and seating requirements we strongly recommend that you arrive thirty-minutes early.
In accordance with the bishop’s directives, people’s safety is the top priority in shaping how we come back together in this era of continuing pandemic. As such, we will be adhering to many new diocesan requirements that will bring some change to what we are accustomed to.
We know that there are many parishioners who have health conditions or concerns that will preclude them from attending in-person services. In our care for them, we will continue to provide on-line resources that will allow them to participate in our worship life from the safety of home.
For those who are able and desiring to attend, we ask that you review the diocesan Covenant for Regathering (see below) and affirm the expectations that are intended for everyone’s safety.
Among the special requirements for everyone attending worship at Christ Church:
- Being free of symptoms of Covid-19 or other health concerns that might put others at risk.
- Being free of health conditions that might put yourself at risk
- Wearing a face mask while on parish grounds.
- Maintaining a six-foot distance from others not in/of your household
- Checking in with our greeters before entering the worship space, and providing requested information
- Supporting our greeters and ushers in their expanded duties, and following all instructions for our gathering safely
We would like to be able to promise that there will be room for everyone who might want to attend, but the truth is we have significantly reduced seating capacity on account of the requirement to safely distance people inside the church.
For now, attendance will be on a first-come first-served basis. We will do our best to seat everyone this Sunday but may find that is not possible. As soon as we believe we are ready, we will add an additional service to be held mid-week.
Patience and adaptability will be required on everyone’s part as we try new ways of doing things and continue to learn. Amidst all the turmoil, it will be uplifting to come back together even if it is not fully “getting back to normal.”
Whatever our circumstances, let us continue to walk the way of love. Be well. Be safe. I hope to see you on Sunday.
Much love and blessings to all,
Loving and gracious God, our vision is so easily clouded by fear, anger, and the many distractions of our lives. Help us to seek and see your presence always, especially in our times of uncertainty and adversity, and help us to remember and to trust, that your life-giving love will see us through all manner of things. In Christ we pray. Amen.
Questions & Answers
Is it safe to return to in-person worship? At the present time, we believe we can safely offer in-person worship as long as we all follow the guidelines and protocols that have been put forth. That said, we cannot guarantee that attending worship is risk free for anyone, and everyone must make an informed decision as to whether they should attend. Certainly, if you are sick you should stay home.
What is Morning Prayer? Will Holy Communion be offered? The service of Morning Prayer (BCP p. 75) is a traditional form of worship in the Episcopal Church that is part of the Daily Office. As many Episcopalians are only familiar with the service of Holy Eucharist on Sundays, this is an opportunity for us to tap into our deep Anglican roots. Christ Church is refraining from celebrating Holy Communion at this time but will continue to develop plans for offering the sacrament in the future.
Why aren’t we singing hymns? Due to significant risks associated with COVID-19, congregational singing has been prohibited by our bishop and diocese.
Why do I have to check-in to attend worship? In accordance with diocesan requirements, parishes must ask basic health questions and keep a log of all persons attending worship services.
Can I sit in my usual spot? We would like to say otherwise, but you should not expect to sit where you normally do. Seating at church services will be determined in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Please follow the instructions of our ushers as they direct you within the church.
Can I sit with someone who is not a member of my family? If someone is a member of your household and you normally come to church together, you may sit together. If they are a visiting friend or family member staying with you, you may sit together.
Can I make advanced reservations to attend a service? At the present time, attendance at church services will be on a first-come first-served basis.
Will additional services be offered? At the outset, we are planning for a single Sunday service each week. After we gain confidence in our ability to follow the new safety requirements, we will look at expanding what other gatherings we might offer. The next step will be to offer the option of a mid-week service. We will also continue to develop plans for potential outdoor worship in the event that might be called for.
When will gatherings for other groups and activities be allowed to resume? Presently, our focus will be on gathering for worship and primary church leadership meetings. Again, after we gain confidence in our ability to follow the new safety requirements, we will look at expanding what other gatherings we might offer.
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, I promise, with God’s help and to the best of my ability, to abide by the guidelines of the Diocese of Easton for participation in the life of my congregation according to the regathering phase in which my congregation is authorized to carry out its mission and ministry.
In fulfillment of the Baptismal Covenant I will strive to
Love my neighbor as myself.
- I will only attend worship if I am non-symptomatic for the COVID-19 virus and free from any conditions that might pose a health risk to others
- I will abstain from attending if doing so would put me at greater risk due to my own health status
Respect the dignity of every human being.
- I will wear a mask while on church grounds
- I will maintain a six foot distance from others not in/of my household
- I will respect any requests for distance, masking, and cleaning, to ensure the safety and comfort level of others
Seek and serve Christ in all people.
- I will support the decisions of diocesan and congregational leaders for safely gathering
- I will follow all instructions intended for safety in our gathering
Christ Church – St. Michael’s Parish is first and foremost a worshipping community. As Christians, we come together around the communion table week after week to worship and celebrate God through our savior Jesus the Christ. Prayer, reading of scripture, teaching, hymns and songs of praise, and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist define and shape our Sunday morning experience.
As Episcopalians, and probably more than any other contemporary religious group, we are people of a prayer book. The Book of Common Prayer guides our common worship and private devotions and is the source of most of our theology—how we speak about God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
At Christ Church, we have many opportunities for public worship. We offer Holy Eucharist, both Rite One and Rite Two; Evensong, a sung evening service; and various monthly and seasonal services providing meaningful worship of God. Each of our services is described below in greater detail.
USUAL SERVICE TIMES WHEN WE CAN RESUME NORMAL WORSHIP…
Sunday 8:00 AM – Traditional Language Eucharist (Year-round)
At 8:00 AM throughout the calendar year we offer the service of Holy Eucharist: Rite One, with sermon. This service appeals to those individuals who prefer an earlier service time or the more traditional language similar to what was found in the 1928 Prayer Book. Nevertheless, we are inclusive in our language and the service includes piano and organ voluntaries, as well as a closing hymn. Congregation members enjoy this service’s contemplative nature.
Sunday 9:30 AM – Holy Eucharist (Memorial Day Through Labor Day)
A 9:30 AM service of Holy Eucharist: Rite Two is offered during the summer months, beginning the Sunday after Memorial Day and ending the Sunday after Labor Day. Childcare is provided in the nursery from 9 AM – 11:30 AM.
Sunday 10:15 AM – Holy Eucharist with Choirs (Sunday after Labor Day through the Sunday before Memorial Day)
The 10:15 AM service on Sunday mornings features the Chancel Choir, said Eucharist and sermon. The language of the prayers in this service is contemporary, or common speech, again with inclusive language. This is the larger of our two Sunday morning services. (Note: Beginning the Sunday before Memorial Day and ending the Sunday after Labor Day, this service is held at 9:30 AM.)
Wednesday Service – 12 Noon
All are invited to gather in the church chancel (the area near the high altar where the choir normally sits), for a commemorative Holy Eucharist in which we will remember the lives of various saints throughout the church’s history. Be it for yourself or for anyone who might be on your heart and mind, each service will also offer prayers for healing and peace, as well as an invitation to receive sacramental anointing. With a thought towards those who may be on a lunch break with limited time, the service is planned to last no more than 20-25 minutes.
Additional services are scheduled around holiday periods and feast days like Christmas, Holy Week and Easter. These often include special music and ceremonies appropriate to the holiday. For more information visit our “Calendar” page, or contact the parish office at 410-745-9076, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Annual Services
Kirkin o’ the Tartans
Don your Scottish kilts, scarves or sashes and join in the procession, along with our chancel choir, clergy, members of the St. Andrews Society of the Eastern shore, and the Chesapeake Caledonian Pipes & Drums. Procession begins at 10 a.m. on Willow Street. During the church service, the tartans will be blessed and the names of those members of the St. Andrew’s Society who died during the past year will be remembered. The pipes and drums will provide special music during the service and will then present a concert on the front lawn of Christ Church. Oxford’s Scottish Highland Creamery will serve free ice cream. All are welcome.
Blessing of the Animals
In commemoration of St Francis of Assisi, on the first Sunday in October, we will offer an opportunity to have your favorite animals and their relationship with you blessed in churchyard that afternoon. Over the years, a wide variety of pets have been blessed in various places, including LOTS of dogs of all sizes (leashes please), cats (very few, usually in boxes), guinea pigs, guppies. tetras and goldfish, a flying squirrel, as well as assorted snakes turtles and amphibians. Join us as we recognize the special kind of blessing that our pets so often are! (The minister will come outside for horses!)