When will we be able to gather in our Sanctuary at Trinity Church for worship?? This is a frequent question! Let me take this opportunity in our weekly E News to give an update.
How and when to safely “re-open” the Trinity Church building is a matter of discernment and planning. But first, let us remember that the body of Christ – the people of the parish – have never stopped being a Church! We have engaged in worship and carried on with our ministries all through the lockdown.
We spent the summer installing an amazing live-streaming system. We now offer high-quality worship online. We even hired a new Priest! And the question of re-opening our building was necessarily on hold until that person moved to town, unpacked the socks and silverware, and learned a few names.
The very first meeting on my first day of work was, in fact, the question of safely re-opening Trinity Day School. Along with the Wardens and Vestry, we worked closely with the leadership of the School to ensure protocols and policies for safety in this ongoing pandemic. The school is now open. I invite your prayers for these children and families and teachers!!
I also met, immediately, with the “Re-Opening Task Force,” which is a subset of our Vestry. We consult weekly with Diocesan leadership and clergy in the ECCT about best practices, and want to be very clear that our ECCT Bishops, Canons and leaders urge caution about worshipping inside our buildings. The Confirmation service we hoped to have is postponed, in this same abundance of caution. None of us, as clergy, want to be viral super-spreaders. Your health and well-being is of utmost importance to us.
That being said, we recognize that we also have a deep need for community, for relationship, for being with each other in person. Some Episcopal parishes in our ECCT are beginning to worship inside the building, while many continue with the safer choice of outdoor worship.
As soon as I arrived, we began offering an outdoor Compline service on Sunday afternoons. Our youth are gathering outdoors. Blessing of the Animals and a trip to Camp Washington’s ‘Second Sunday’ will happen, outdoors, in early October! I am holding ‘Gazebo Office Hours,’ with rather fabulous success. A new Worship Commission is now offering Wednesday evening prayer with candlelight on the front steps of the Church – a very important outreach to our neighbors, with visibility on Main Street!
The “Re-Opening Task Force” and the Vestry have sent you a survey, inviting your feedback about worshiping inside the Sanctuary. We have also written policies and procedures about building use and cleaning. This document is a rather dry and clinical - but necessary - precursor to re-opening.
When the Task Force meets next, we will review your survey responses. We will consult with the Worship Commission about that team’s wisdom, and then make a recommendation to the Vestry in October about next steps. We watch, to determine whether a predicted autumn surge of COVID cases arrives.
So, friends, hang in there! Stay tuned! God is not done with us yet! I hope you understand that with a question of this importance and urgency, we need to have appropriate process and discernment, feedback and consultation. In the meantime, join us at one of our outdoor gatherings, or sign up to read or offer prayers as part of a small group at one of our live-stream services in the Sanctuary.
But remember, the Church – the body of Christ gathered – never closed. We stayed away from the building, out of love for one another and for safety – but we never stopped being Church. Let us work together, with patience and with wisdom, to discern the next steps in this journey.
Peace be with you,
The Rev. andrea castner wyatt
The Rev. Andrea Castner Wyatt is honored to accept the call of Trinity Episcopal Church to serve and lead as Rector. She looks forward with joy to walking with the people of Trinity Church, and to discovering with you what Jesus is up to in Newtown, CT. Contact Rev. Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 203-426-9070.