Guidelines for Worship Services at Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church - Ogden, UT
1) Deciding to Attend
While we will take precautions to create a safe environment for in-person worship, including the sanitation of the church after each service, each parishioner must consider their personal situations and determine what is best for themselves, their families, and other parishioners.
Fellow parishioners need to accept and support these decisions.
All those who are 60 years old or older, and those with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus (former or current smoker, are immunocompromised, have been diagnosed with diabetes, chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, neurologic, kidney or liver conditions) should consult their personal physicians regarding in-person attendance. Everyone in this category SHOULD NOT attend Sunday Services. Weekday services will be scheduled and reserved for these parishioners exclusively.
2) Exposure to Covid-19
Per His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, individuals who are experiencing symptoms of the virus, or who have been in recent contact with others who are experiencing symptoms, should stay home and participate via live stream - Fr. Mario will be available to make necessary house visits. These individuals should consult their personal physicians before attending in-person services.
3) Use of Face Coverings
Every parishioner in attendance must wear a mask when worshipping in person at Transfiguration. If everyone wears a mask, it will significantly reduce the chance for spread of the virus in the event someone is sick or a silent carrier. We will provide masks for anyone who does not already have their own. Children should be encouraged by their parents to wear face coverings, within reason.
Fr. Mario is required by the Metropolitan to wear a face mask while distributing Holy Communion.
4) Holy Communion
Per the instructions given us by His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah, the manner in which Holy Communion will be distributed will be unchanged. We believe that the Sacrament is the true Body and true Blood of our Lord, which can never be corrupt or tainted. Recognizing that this present crisis will pass in time, we must remain steadfast in our belief that the Holy Eucharist leads to life and salvation, and not to decay. We will carefully close our mouths on the spoon, and Father will carefully draw it out of our mouth. We will not dab our mouths with the red napkin.
Antidoron will not be distributed.
5) Contact Tracing
All persons attending any service will be asked to give their name and phone number to the candle attendant, who will record them on a dated list for the purposes of contact tracing. These records are kept by Fr. Mario only, and are reserved for the purpose of notifying attendees of potential exposure, should that case arise. They are not given to any other entity or person.
6) Social Distancing
Under current guidelines, there is no limit to the size of a religious gathering in Utah, provided that a minimum distance of six feet is maintained between “family groups” in attendance.
7) Non-Liturgical Funtions
All non-liturgical gatherings are suspended (coffee hour, meetings, etc.)
8) Choirs and Congregational Singing
The choir is inactive until further notice. A single chanter is to be utilized in the worship of the church. Other chanters are permitted if they are arranged far enough apart.
9) Services for Vulnerable Parishioners
For those worshipers 65 and older, and those with underlying conditions, weekday services will be celebrated every week, and will not be open to any others. This Divine Liturgy will be offered to those who require an extra blanket of safety measures and we are happy to offer it to them.
10) House-Call Ministries
Communion, Confession and Unction are now, thankfully permitted. Please contact Fr. Mario directly to schedule a visit, either in your home or at the church for individual opportunities to participate in the Mystical Life of the Church.
11) Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals
Weddings, baptisms and funerals are now permitted to resume. Although His Eminence recommends that these services (except funerals) be postponed if possible, the church is able to offer these Sacraments, with modest numbers of participants and while exercising social distancing protocols.
Livestreaming will continue for all services, even after the pandemic has been put to rest.
With caution and faith, we believe that we can reasonably protect each other and reopen our church, but we need the cooperation of all. We pray for the health, safety and spiritual well-being of all of our faithful. God bless all of you!
On behalf of the Parish Council,
Fr. Mario Giannopoulos
Dr. Kent Nabers
Parish Council President
UPDATED "PLAY-BOOK" FOR SERVICES
1) We will post signage on the outside of the narthex from the CDC which will indicate best standards and practices for social distancing and safe gathering.
2) We will limit our movements inside the church, utilizing the instructions given below.
3) We will close the basement of the church to everyone, and will open the door of the parish hall for access to restrooms. (easier to clean, and easier for our elders to access)
4) If necessary, we will set up chairs in the social hall, facing east, with the live-stream broadcast onto the eastern wall of the hall, and will make accommodations to the below playbook for them to be ushered in for Holy Communion as well.
5) We will designate a group of Young Adults to be the Cleaning/Disinfecting Team.
6) We will delegate responsibilities for service as Ushers and/or Pangari Attendant. If members of the Parish Council do not wish to fill these roles - which is of course understandable - then we will fill the gaps with other parishioners.
5) We will have at least one walk-through with the parish council and cleaning team before re-opening the church for public worship.
1 of each
No mask** or gloves
- The priest will arrive at least one half-hour before all scheduled services
- One altar server will serve with Father on Sundays, and on weekdays when possible, arriving at least ten minutes before the beginning.
- One chanter will be present for each service, arriving at least ten minutes prior to the beginning.
- Upon arriving, the first step taken by these will be to wash hands.
- Doors will open to the church 10 minutes before the start of any service, and will close 10 minutes after the conclusion of any service.
- The priest and altar server will regularly use hand sanitizer during the course of liturgical services.
**Masks will be worn by the Altar Server and the Priest during the distribution of Holy Communion.
- The Priest and Altar Server will be responsible for wiping down hard surfaces within the altar area with disinfectant wipes.
- The Chanter will be responsible for wiping down the Analogion and Stasidia with disinfectant wipes.
Wearing gloves and mask
Candles and Donations
- Does not touch money, but directs people to insert their donations in the slot
- Hands the parishioner their candles
- Parishioner places candles in sand, or carries 5-day candles into the Nave with them.
- Hand sanitizer will be prominently placed.
Wearing at least a mask, gloves optional.
Standing just inside the nave
- When parishioners enter the nave with five-day candles to be placed before an icon, or in the candle stands on the North and South sides of the nave, the usher will guide them to that place, and then to their pew.
- There can be no “preferred pew” seating. Pews are to be filled from front to back.
- Families can sit together if they live together.
- The ushers will try to fill the pews first from front to back, placing one family unit in each pew, and then adding additional groups into the pews as necessary, while maintaining 6-ft. spacing between groups.
- One pew may fit one large family, and only have room for a single person or a couple. If this is the case, the usher must try to fill that gap as possible.
- Lead groups up center aisle to the next available pew (for the middle segments), and ask the group to move down the pew (toward the outer aisle) as far as is possible while keeping 6 ft buffer between groups.
- Lead individuals/couples to the outside pews via the outer aisles.
- Return directly to the narthex door
- Walk up center aisle to front-most pews.
- Pews will be released one at a time, to avoid any unnecessary crossing paths; North side first, then South.
- Parishioners who will not approach for communion will move out of the pew and into the aisle, allowing communicants to approach, and then will re-enter the pew.
- Communicants will remove their masks only at the moment of communing, will not dab their mouths on the cloth, and will return directly to their pew, refilling it from the outside aisle.
- Communicants in the outer pews will be released after the final group from each inner pew moves forward - before the usher moves on to the next pew back.
- When all pews have been cycled, then the ushers may approach for communion, and then the Pangari Attendant.
- Exiting the church will be done in an orderly fashion, through the narthex.
- As there will be no distribution of Antidoron, dismissal order will not resemble communion order.
- Instead, pews will be released from back to front, to prevent parishioners from unnecessarily crossing paths.
- Exit after last group, closing doors behind you.
** CLEANING/DISINFECTING TEAM will leave with all others, and circle around to the narthex to prepare for their task*
Wearing masks and gloves
- Two people will be dedicated to wiping pews on each side (north/south) with disinfectant wipes
- The third will vacuum
- The fourth will be wiping surfaces in the Narthex.
- Once wipe-down/vacuuming is complete, one person will spray disinfectant with battery-powered paint gun (method recommended by Myles Carrera), leaving a disinfectant micro-mist which can safely rest on all surfaces and fabrics, resetting the space for the next service.
- Training will be provided for the paint gun, and extreme care will be taken to immediately wipe any traces from the holy icons, should they have mist resting on them.
- After cleaning and disinfecting the church, the team will repeat the process of wiping down and then misting with disinfectant the two restrooms in the parish hall.
**If overflow has been established in the social hall, the folding chairs will be wiped, ** and the area misted, before moving on to the bathrooms.