Covid-19: Archdiocese guidelines as of Dec. 8, 2020

Dear Faithful in Christ,

 
I am praying you all are doing well. We all continue to navigate life during the time of COVID. At the recent Diocesan Assembly, this loomed large on everyone's mind, most of all our Archbishop Alexander. I am so very grateful for His guidance, support, and Archpastoral direction. We are very blessed to have him as our Bishop. With the situation of the Pandemic ongoing, the Diocese has issued frequent updates to guidelines and directives. Our administration has sought to offer the safest directives, while considering above all the pastoral needs of all the faithful. 
 
As a priest of the Diocese of the South in the Orthodox Church of America, I am committed to faithfulness and obedience regarding the guidance and directives of our Diocese and Archbishop Alexander. All the guidelines were reaffirmed by Archbishop Alexander at our Assembly. I would like to take this opportunity to remind and exhort all the faithful at the three Missions I serve of the following:
 
If you are sick, please stay home. I am happy to arrange Holy Communion for you outside of normal services.
 
It is mandatory for all the faithful to wear a mask when inside the Church/chapel/ building. If you are unable to wear a mask for an extended period of time, please stand near the door/Church entrance so you might step outside to remove your mask as needed. 
 
Please maintain a distance of 6 feet between family units at all times when you are indoors.
 
The Church/Chapel/Area used for worship should be cleaned regularly, especially before a service. 
 
Coffee Hour/Fellowship, whether outdoors, but especially indoors, must be done observing appropriate social distancing.
 
Choir members should also observe social distancing. In this case, it is probably a wise arrangement to limit our singers at the Missions to no more than two or three people. Remember, tonsured Readers do not need to sing in the choir, as they have their own important role to play in the Liturgical service. While masks have not been mandated for choir members, they nonetheless are encouraged. Servers should all wear a mask. 
 
I realize this might be hard for us all to read, especially since we all are already fatigued. I exhort and encourage you to stand fast and united in our obedience to our beloved Archbishop Alexander. Please, if you have any concerns or questions, reach out and contact me. I am here to faithfully serve you. 
 
Let us all work together WITH each other during this tremendously difficult time. Let us not add in any way to division. We all count on one another for support. All of us support each other, in prayer, in gathering even with the directives. Each and every one of you are a needed part of the Church community!
 
God Bless you all and keep you!
 
In Christ,
Fr. Alexis

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