COVID-19 Precautions: Spread the Word, not the virus

We are all keeping track of reports from local health officials about the potential spread of this virus in Central New York. We at Grace Church are blessed by a lively but relatively small congregation in a relatively large space, which can help us gather — but not too closely — for worship and community. First, if you feel ill, suspect a cold or the flu, or because of your age or underlying medical condition are cautious about interacting with crowds, please stay home. And if you do, PLEASE let me know, so we can phone or visit you as appropriate, and include you in our parish prayers if you wish.
We encourage good public health practices in church. Hand sanitizers are available in prominent and accessible places, and we encourage liberal use, especially before or after exchanging the peace and receiving communion. Please respect others’ needs or comfort levels, and acknowledge each other with a nod, a smile, an elbow bump.
Many Episcopalians like to intinct, or dip their wafer into the chalice for only a bit of wine. Please refrain from that practice now. Hands carry the most potential for spreading the infection. You may acknowledge the chalice with your wafer, or nod in prayer to the person holding the chalice. Please remember that we receive the full benefits of the sacrament if we receive the bread only. The words of Anglican theologian Richard Hooker, from the 17th century, ring true to us today: Holy Communion is about changing lives, not bread. The Real Presence of Jesus is contained in the bread, in the wine, and in the community which remembers and receives him.
You may find updated guidance about COVID-19 from the Diocese of Central New York here. If you can’t access the link or want a printed copy, let us know. Please let us know if this virus affects you in your daily life, either if you are ill or feel you must keep yourself separate from the rest of the community, or you need help, even with daily tasks like shopping or errands. — Jackie Schmitt, priest-in-charge.