Updated Covid Guidelines from Diocese, May 18, 2021:
I’m excited to share with you new diocesan guidelines for in-person gatherings that will go in effect the Day of Pentecost, Sunday May 23rd. In general, these guidelines allow us to enjoy more fulsome worship and fellowship gatherings. We will be able to offer more in-person musical performances, including signing; more liberal mask guidelines for the fully vaccinated; and the ability to offer refreshments at social gatherings.
I direct your attention to these guidelines for the particulars, but I hope you will join me in thanksgiving for this significant step forward.
Yours in Christ’s love,
Note from Fr. Foster Mays, May 14, 2021:
My Sisters, Brothers and Others,
I am grateful for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised guidelines, which say that fully vaccinated adults do not need to wear masks in most situations. For me it is a sign of hope that we may, before long, be seeing the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. Yet I am also aware this guideline needs to be considered in the context of local and even personal circumstances. For example, Lucas County has the third highest incidence of new cases per capita in the State of Ohio. While we have been trending in the right direction for three weeks, we still have a long way to go before we can truly celebrate our freedom.
While it is up to us individually to decide how we will respond this CDC guideline, I am asking each of you to consider those who are vulnerable: the unvaccinated, those who can’t be vaccinated and those whose immune systems are compromised. I’m asking you to respond in a way that reflects our Gospel’s ethos of putting love of the other ahead of our personal self-interest, and that honors our Baptismal vow to respect the dignity of every human being.
I think we may be seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, and our choices may be the difference between the headlight of an oncoming train of infection and death or the timely release from the grip of this pandemic and new life.
Yours in new life with Christ,
Update March 1, 2021:
“Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, Thank you for sustaining your heroic efforts to maintain parochial community as we continue to combat the coronavirus. I share everyone’s longing to return to in-person gathering. The numbers are finally trending in a positive direction, as a result of adherence to the protocols requested and required by federal, state, and local government agencies.” To read the full letter from Bishop Hollingsworth, please visit the Diocesan website.
Update December, 2020:
“As a religious community, we may be afforded certain exemptions by our government. As Christians, however, we are never exempt from caring for our neighbor and putting the safety of others before our own needs and desires.” to read Bishop Hollingsworth’s full letter to the diocese upon the suspension of in-person worship services, please visit https://dohio.org/blog/march-2020/letter-from-the-bishop-regarding-coronavirus-and-c
To read a letter from Fr. Foster to the congregation upon the decision to suspend in-person worship effective November 22, 2020, please click here.
Update August 31, 2020:
“Now that we have a few months of in-person worship – albeit restricted – under our belts, we are preparing to take another step toward a more familiar form of worship: the reception of the sacrament. As with all things impacted by the pandemic, communion will not be just as you are accustomed to it being, it will be modified in process and attendance in ways to safeguard the communicants. The most notable difference is that the sacrament will be received in one kind (bread only). If you are interested in the details, I invite you to read Bishop Hollingsworth’s letter of August 18th, which is available by visiting dohio.org. ~ Fr. Foster Mays, from the September 2020 Edition of Cross Currents.
Update May 22, 2020:
Attached here is a letter from Bishop Hollingsworth describing the phased approach to returning to in-person parish life. Fr. Foster, together with our staff members, the executive committee, and vestry are discussing the approach that fits our wonderful church, and will certainly keep our congregation updated on plans to move forward.
Update April 29, 2020: Please click on the link below to hear a message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Word to the Church: What Would Love Do? | Episcopal Church
Update April 24, 2020: A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop can be read by clicking here.
March 23, 2020:
Spiritual and Pastoral Home and Family Resources
There are dangers and difficulties for everyone in our current situation. Two possible blessings are:
- that we grow closer to each other – families and friends – by having meaningful conversations about what we are going through; and
- that we take this opportunity to deepen some of our personal and family spiritual practices.
The Rev. Brad Purdom
Canon for Congregations
For a consolidated list of ‘Helpful Resources for Individuals, Families, and Congregations During the Pandemic including:
Resources for Personal Prayer and Spiritual Practices
Emotional Care for Individuals and Families
Resources Specifically for Congregations
….. and more
Please visit https://dohio.org/blog/march-2020/helpful-resources-for-individuals-families-and-c
March 13, 2020:
Our Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Following discussion with clergy colleagues and the Vestry of St. Michael’s, and considering the pastoral letters sent by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and our Diocesan Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, we have decided to cancel in-person worship through Sunday, March 29 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been a difficult decision, but as we consider:
– The current rate of spread of the virus
– The vulnerability of much of the congregation
– The likelihood that some among us have already been exposed and may be contagious while appearing to be asymptomatic, and
– The impracticability of maintaining social distance and verifying sanitization throughout a service.
It becomes clear that we cannot ensure you that there is no risk of contagion at St. Michael’s. Accordingly, we have decided to cancel all in-person worship at St. Michael’s in the Hills through Sunday, March 29. In the interim, worship resources will be posted on our website and Facebook page as soon as they are available.
Yours in Christ’s love,
The Rev. Foster M. Mays, Priest-in-Charge
Julia Burtscher, Sr. Warden