March 6, 2020
My Friends –
I am writing in response to the coronavirus, to tell you what we’re doing at Grace Church, to remind you of basic health precautions, and share what is being done in the wider Martha’s Vineyard community to be ready if we have cases of the coronavirus here.
The virus is spread by respiratory droplets. Precautions therefore follow the same for any other respiratory droplet infection.
At Grace Church, following the guidance from the Diocese, Episcopal Relief & Development, and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, we have implemented the following precautions:
• We are wiping down the backs of the pews and surfaces in the parish hall and kitchen;
• Bathrooms are being cleaned and wiped down;
• In the church, we have placed hand sanitizer on the piano and at the back of the church for you to use;
• We ask that you refrain from hugging or kissing at the Peace;
• If you feel uncomfortable shaking hands at this time, put your right hand over your chest and exchange the Peace with a smile;
• All Eucharistic Ministers will clean their hands using hand sanitizer before the liturgy of the table;
• Receiving the Sacrament in one kind (the host) is perfectly acceptable and implies reception of the second.
• To reduce any potential transmission of respiratory droplets, we ask that if you intinct the Sacrament, you hand the Eucharistic Minister the wafer so that they can intinct it for you and place it in your hand.
• If you do not feel comfortable coming to church for services, please call the parish office to let us know – it will be our honor to bring you Communion and visit you in your home.
• If you do not feel well, stay home, go see your physician, Nurse Practitioner or the hospital’s Emergency Room as you would normally do.
• We are talking with the leaders of the groups that rent our space to coordinate common guidelines for cleanliness and use during this time.
Guidance from Episcopal Relief & Development (https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-we-do/us-disaster-program/faith-based-response-to-epidemics/):
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and throw the tissue in a trash can.
• Wash your hands (20 seconds with soap and water) after coughing, sneezing, handling diapers, preparing food or using the bathroom.
• Stay home if you are feeling ill.
The Press Release regarding preparations and plans on the Vineyard is attached below as a separate document.
Individually and as Church, we have gotten through other events before. I am confident that we will get through this too. The big thing on the coronavirus is to take care of yourself and those around you. If you don’t feel well, stay home, seek medical care early, and call the Church office to let us know how we can help.
God bless you,