Our parish reopening committee met yesterday to discuss how we can gather responsibly and safely during the current Covid surge in New York City. I write to share with you our plans for the month of January based on the public health advice currently available to us. We hope and believe that the surge will begin to abate after a few weeks, particularly if we act with prudence and care for each other now.
The 11 a.m. service will be live-streamed through Sunday, January 29, with clergy, musicians and altar party present in the church. The livestream will be accessible both directly through Local Live and through a Zoom link which will be hosted by parishioner Jacob Scott (thank you, Jacob!). The link will be sent with the weekly constant contact.
Following the service, we will have a Zoom coffee hour. I am excited about returning to this way of connecting with each other! You will be able to participate either by staying on the Zoom meeting you use for the service or by joining after watching it on Local Live.
Our annual parish meeting will be held Sunday, January 30 via Zoom. As we discovered last year, this can give us ample opportunity for sharing important information and for conversation. We will plan for both. Voting is quite straightforward! It will be available either online or by paper ballot and instructions about how to do it will be forthcoming early next week.
We will resume the 6 p.m. Sunday service of Meditation and Sacrament in person on January 23, maintaining our protocols of mask-wearing and distancing. Our midweek Eucharist will likewise resume on Wednesday, January 26.
The church will reopen for weekday prayer and meditation during the week of January 16. Stay tuned for details about which days and times we will be open. Please contact the parish office if you are vaccinated and boosted and would like to volunteer to host this ministry to the community.
We will continue to monitor the situation with Omicron and communicate with you if plans must shift. I ask your prayers and patience as we care for one another and for the larger community in this season of restraint. This is not the same as the spring of 2020! I look forward to gathering in person again soon, and in the meantime look forward to gathering and checking in online. Like all of you, I am weary of Covid protocols and concerns, but I trust that God is holding us through it all.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns — or just to check in. May the blessings of Epiphany — unexpected gifts, deep guidance, next right steps and the human face of love — be revealed to us in this season.
The Rev. Elizabeth Maxwell,
Rector, The Church of the Ascension