You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
Christ is Risen … Truly He is risen …!
Thanks to God, Liturgies will resume in Saint John the Beloved Coptic Orthodox Church the weekend of, May 16, 2020.
We are living tough times now and God may bless us and protect us through it. For your own and our own safety and wellbeing and also to abide by the regulations of Arizona State, in particular Pima County, and the CDC, the Church will enforce and maintain social distancing rules.
Please read these guidelines carefully and share them accordingly with your family members. All family members must fully comply in order to maintain safety of others not only in the Church but in our society at large.
Our objective from this initiative is to create and provide a safe environment for the congregation of Saint John the Beloved Coptic Orthodox Church, Tucson, Arizona in order to prevent contagion in our society while still being able to safely pray the Divine Liturgy and take Holy Communion.
Rules are categorized and as following:
❖ Regular liturgies will take place throughout the week and over the weekend according to prior schedules before closure. Modification of the schedule is likely due to any unforeseen circumstances and will notify the congregation in a timely fashion.
❖ The church door will be shut as soon as the Liturgy starts, and will not be opened under any circumstances until the end of the Liturgy, so for example if the Liturgy starts at 8:30AM, the door will be shut at 8:30AM. You will need to be there before the Liturgy starts, allowing time for screening.
❖ Be prepared to arrive 30 minutes before the Liturgy’s start time
❖ If you arrive at the same time as another family please remain in your car until the other family has entered the church to avoid crowding.
❖ A volunteer will measure your temperature at the door and conduct the questionnaire with you and your family members. Most IMPORTANT, if one member of the family is having high temperature or other symptoms as such listed in the questionnaire, the whole family will be asked to leave immediately.
❖ As per the questionnaire below, you are required to check your temperature and the temperature of each member of your household. You must check the temperature the morning of the liturgy service. If you or any member of your household is identified to have a fever defined as a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, you and your household members are kindly asked to refrain from attending the church service.
❖ Each member of your household, including children above the age of 2, must wear a mask during the service. The mask must be used all the time except during communion. If you do not have a mask please let us know a day before so we try to arrange for one.
❖ Continue social distancing with at least 6ft apart from one another during the service and when approaching for Communion.
❖ No walk-in visitors will be allowed.
❖ No greeting during the Liturgies, and no kissing the priest's hand, the gospel or the Cross. This applies for deacons and congregations. Also no touching to the icons, relics, walls, surfaces, doors, curtains, etc...
❖ Parents are responsible of their children. Parents are expected to monitor and ensure that their children are maintaining social distancing and remain in their designated seats. If you have concerns about your children following these guidelines then please wait for a future opportunity to attend. No use allowed to the Family Room (Cry room), it will not be allowed for use to anyone.
❖ You need to bring your own supply of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes for you and for members of your household. It is advised to use disinfectant wipes prior to and after using common public places such as the bathrooms.
❖ Before leaving the church and immediately after the service concluded, please use the sanitizing wipes to clean the areas you and your family used or sat.
❖ Families should exit one row at a time starting with the last row closest to the exit door.
❖ People should leave immediately after the Liturgies. No grouping and any social gathering. No Agape meals. Sunday School will be served through online services (ZOOM).
❖ The Church will need donations for masks, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant spray, Clorox wipes, isopropyl alcohol and sanitizers. Thanks in advance for your donation.
❖ Members of your household must be seated on the same row and are not allowed to sit on multiple rows.
❖ Each family will be seated at a designated location to ensure social distancing. Please do not enter the blocked areas. Please do not allow your children to enter the blocked area.
❖ Men and women of each household are asked to be seated together.
❖ To avoid physical contact when taking communion, it is recommended that you tilt your head backwards as much as possible with the mouth wide open while receiving the Holy Body. Please teach your kids so that the Priest does not have to make contact with anyone while giving them the Holy Body.
❖ Please bring your own veil (for women), handkerchiefs for Communion and water bottle for after Communion.
❖ Only come to the church if you or one of your household member(s) are planning on taking communion. The Divine Liturgy will be broadcast life, so people not taking communion can attend it from their home.
❖ The blessed bread will be cut into pieces and bagged by Abouna wearing gloves for those who wish to take a piece home. 302220
❖ Deacons will be assigned separately. One to two deacons will serve in the altar and 1-2 deacons will support the congregation while standing on the platform.
❖ Deacons are refrained from using microphones to avoid any unnecessary contact and contagion.
❖ Deacons will also keep social distance to 6 feet apart between themselves and the Priest except the limited times when required to interact with the Priest
Attending Liturgy Questionnaire
Please review the form below prior to attending the liturgy. If any of the questions answered NO, please stay home and refrain from attending the service. You are advised to contact your primary care doctor with any concerns if abnormal temperature or any symptoms noted.
I have checked the temperature of each individual of my family
I confirm that no one has temperature of 100°F or above
I confirm that I am NOT experiencing any of the following symptoms: a- Fever b- Chills c- Repeated shaking with chills d- Muscle pain e- Sore throat f- Diarrhea g- New loss of taste or smell h- Headache (new) i- New cough j- Trouble breathing
I confirm that to the best of my knowledge I have not came in any contact (without personal protective equipment) with anyone experiencing the symptoms mentioned above or that has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
In summary, please refer to the diagram below.
STAY HEALTHY. RETURN SMARTER. RETURN STRONGER.
While Executive Order 2020-18 and 2020-33, did not require places of worship to stop holding services, they did require that such activities be conducted in a manner that provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible. As some places of worship are considering beginning those activities again, the following guidance is intended to assist in limiting transmission of COVID-19.
General Guidelines Under Executive Order 2020-18 and Executive Order 2020-33:
• Attending places of worship is defined as an essential activity.
• When engaging in essential activities that are constitutionally protected, there is no mandated physical distancing requirement. However, such protected activities should be conducted in a manner that provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible.
• All Arizonans should use their best judgment in suspending public activities that can be delayed for the purposes of protecting the individual and the public as well as preserving vital healthcare resources.
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, under all circumstances, the following precautions should be followed by people attending places of worship. To the extent possible, places of worship should take measures to ensure that attendees may follow these guidelines:
• Stay home if sick.
• Protect yourself while visiting places of worship:
• Stay at least 6 feet away from other patrons.
• If you are at higher risk for severe illness, you should avoid places of worship. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
• Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
• After leaving the place of worship, use hand sanitizer. When you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
The Department of Health Services recommends the following additional steps be taken by places of worship:
• Consider spacing out seating for attendees who are not in the same party to at least six feet apart when possible; consider limiting seating to alternate rows.
• Consider adding additional services to the weekly schedule to enhance physical distancing and holding services and gatherings in a large, well-ventilated area or outdoors.
• Consider whether gatherings may need to have limited attendance, be held virtually, or suspended if physical distancing is difficult. This includes worship services, funerals, weddings, religious education classes, youth events, support groups, and any other programming.
• Encourage Arizonans that are most vulnerable (i.e. adults 65 and over and people of all ages with underlying medical conditions) and those with symptoms of illness to stay at home.
• Consider continuing to live-stream worship services and providing drive-in services.
• Consider posting signage at entrances advising those with symptoms of illness to not enter. • •Consider separate services for vulnerable adults with added precautions.
• Provide adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfecting wipes, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
• Encourage use of a cloth face covering at all gatherings and when in the building. Coverings should not be placed on children less than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
• Restrict common areas where people are likely to congregate and interact.
• Distribute and post health messages and materials to staff, volunteers, and the community and educate about everyday preventive actions that includes respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene:
• Staying home when sick.
• Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow.
• Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid or consider suspending use of a choir or large musical ensemble during religious services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition.
• Consider having a soloist or strictly limiting the number of choir members and keep at least 6 feet between individuals.
• Consider having clergy hold virtual visits (by phone or online) instead of inside homes or at the hospital, except for compassionate care situations, such as end of life.
• Identify activities, rituals, and traditions (e.g., hand shaking/holding, sharing items, communion, etc.) that may need to be temporarily suspended or modified.
• Limit community sharing of worship materials and other items, such as worship aids, books, hymnals, bulletins, or other items passed or shared among congregants, and encourage congregants to bring their own. If possible, photocopy or project prayers, songs, and texts using electronic means.
• Modify the methods used to receive financial contributions. Consider a stationary collection box, the mail, or electronic methods of collecting regular financial contributions instead of shared collection trays or baskets.
Recommendations for Employees and Volunteers:
Train all employees and volunteers on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette. Have employees or volunteers maintain at least 6 feet separation from other individuals and ensure the use of cloth face coverings when possible.
• Implement symptom screening for employees and volunteers prior to the start of their shift.
• Nurseries and childcare facilities within faith based organizations should comply with CDC guidelines for childcare facilities.
• Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and all areas after they are touched or used, such as seats, doorknobs, tables, restrooms, etc.
• If a place of worship provides food for employees, volunteers, or attendees, the food items should be individually packaged. Maintain rigorous sanitation practices like disinfection, handwashing, and cleanliness when preparing or serving anything edible. Avoid the use of buffets or family-style food services.
**Note that guidance continues to be updated and those complying with the guidance are encouraged to visit the websites provided frequently to ensure they are complying with the most up-to-date guidance.