Questions from the First Sunday Survey (with answers)

Those who attended the first in-person Sunday service on April 11 were invited to take a brief survey. 49 people responded, and several questions were raised.

Why do we have to wait until Thursday to register?
Staff judgment was that three days should be long enough for people to register, and a short lead time means there’s less chance of you having to change your plans.

Why are we not singing the hymns?
Our bishop has prohibited congregational singing for now, because singing pushes aerosol spray much farther into the air than speaking, promoting potential dispersion of the virus.

Do we stand or sit for the Gospel?
When the Gospel is read we are still in Morning Prayer mode, so we remain seated. You can remain seated until it’s time to move to the cathedral. Less movement means less dispersion of the virus.

Why can’t the whole service be live?
By seeing the first part of the service online we are joining in the same experience with those who aren’t present. This also allows us to accommodate more congregants, given the limit on numbers (currently 50% of capacity or whatever maintains safe distance).

Why isn’t the sermon live?
The priest who isn’t presiding (usually the preacher) is online in his/her office being present for the online service and answering prayer requests etc. This also opens up a space for a congregant.

Why did we start in the Great Hall? And when will the 45 minute limitation in one space be lifted?
Although the Supreme Court has ruled that all limitations on worship may be lifted, that doesn’t mean that we agree on it being the best or safest way to care for our people. Our Bishop is still requesting that we keep to 45 minutes or less in one space. The science shows that the longer a group is in a given space, the more viral buildup there is; around the 45 minute mark there is a noticeable uptick in risk. We start in the Great Hall so that we don’t spend more than 45 minutes in one space.

Can we sit in family groups?
You can! Feel free to move chairs closer together within family bubbles.

Should we open more windows in the Great Hall?
Absolutely! They were sealed shut while there was concrete work going on immediately outside them but now they can be opened. While we can’t open many windows in the Cathedral itself we can and should open all the exterior doors that we can safely monitor.

We miss the choir.
Agreed! As of May 2 we will have a vocal quartet … baby steps.

Why can’t we have wine at Communion?
Obviously the common cup is not a good practice at this time. Our bishop has instructed us that only one person may consume the wine at present. Adding consumption of wine (in individual containers) will lengthen the time people are unmasked and also make it difficult for some to carry both elements back to their seats.

Why can’t we have coffee hour?
The handling and distribution of food and drink is too risky for us to attempt at present, and we don’t want people to linger in groups after the service, as this increases the risk of transmission, especially if they forget to be distanced. For these reasons the Bishop has instructed us to encourage everyone to leave promptly after the service.

Finally, remember that all these precautions are temporary: we are just doing everything we can to keep everyone safe. If you have other questions, feel free to contact the Dean or wardens.

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2 thoughts on “Questions from the First Sunday Survey (with answers)”

  1. Given what I saw recently at Petco Park and the attendees at a ball game, we (and the bishop) are lagging behind what seems to be possible with regard to congregational meetings. If yelling at a ballgame can be allowed, so can singing it seems to me. Most of us have been vaccinated twice and it’s time to keep up with the latest permissions from the CDC.

    • The virus is still spreading and if you monitor the county website, you will see we are still suffering “Community outbreaks” , many of them from faith centers. Singing unmasked is hands down the most dangerous thing you can do inside . Note the ballpark is an outdoor venue (though no way would I go to a game! I’m not even eating inside restaurants and I’ve been vaccinated since December). And of course, not everyone is fully vaccinated yet. It only just opened up to people under 50, and children <12 can’t get vaccinated at all. I appreciate the due care for all and would rather the Bishop err on the side of caution.


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