It is with great joy, tempered with diligent precautions, that we announce the planned reopening of our church doors to the faithful on
Sunday, June 14, 2020.
This will be a gradual process as we observe all the guidance that has been provided by the State of Michigan and, most importantly, our Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian. Throughout this pandemic, our focus has been on safeguarding the physical and spiritual health and well-being of our parishioners. With that in mind, we ask for your cooperation in following these guidelines.
Note that these guidelines will be updated as we progress to the next phases or as otherwise deemed necessary by the Pastor and the Board of Trustees.
- Anyone who is feeling sick or exhibiting a fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, should remain home.
- Anyone who has potentially been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, should remain home.
- You should take your general health, any underlying medical conditions, and age into consideration when deciding whether or not to attend church.
- We will continue to live-stream our Sunday Divine Liturgy (Soorp Badarak) to accommodate those who are not feeling well, are at high risk, or who simply do not yet feel comfortable being in a public setting. We leave this decision to each person and fully respect their decision.
ENTERING THE CHURCH
- Arrival time: We encourage you to be in the sanctuary prior to the start of the Liturgy of the Eucharist (by 10:30 am). This will help avoid unnecessary distractions during the service.
- Entrance Door: Only the front doors of the church will be used for entry and exit.
- Contact Info Requirement: Upon entering the church you will be required to provide your name and telephone number. This gathering of information is in accordance with recommended guidelines to help disseminate information in the event of COVID-19 exposure.
- Face Mask Requirement: Each person entering the church must wear a face mask. We ask parishioners to bring their own, but we will have a small supply of disposable face masks available to those who need one. The only exceptions are for people who cannot wear a face mask due to medical reasons and children under the age of two. This requirement is for the well-being of all our parishioners, many of whom are in the vulnerable category. Individuals who do not wear masks will not be allowed to enter the church.
- Hand Sanitizer: Every person must sanitize their hands upon entering and exiting the church. Sanitation stations will be available in the Narthex. After sanitizing your hands, please do not congregate in the Narthex or anywhere else in the church.
WITHIN THE CHURCH
- Designated Pews for Seating: Pews will be roped off to maintain the required 6-foot distance between parishioners. People living in the same house may sit in the same pew; all others must sit in separate pews. The ushers will direct the parishioners to their designated seat. We are currently operating at 25% capacity, so only approximately 100 people can be in the church at any given time. Therefore, there is a possibility that you may not be able to enter the church if it has already reached capacity. We encourage you to arrive early.
- Kiss of Peace: The celebrant will offer the Kiss of Peace from the altar and parishioners will respond from their pews in unison. Ushers/Trustees will not share the Kiss of Peace with parishioners until further notice.
RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION
- Personal Decision: Receiving Holy Communion is always a personal decision. Your decision is always respected, especially in these special circumstances.
- Celebrant: The celebrant will thoroughly sanitize his hands before starting Badarak. During the distribution of Holy Communion, the celebrant will place the communion on the top of the hand of the faithful.
- Head Coverings for Women: We strongly encourage women to bring their own head covering for receiving Holy Communion. The church has a limited number of head coverings, which must be laundered and sanitized after each use.
- Confession will be done from the pews.
- Ushers/Trustees will invite the congregation forward row by row. Face masks must be worn while approaching the altar and distance must be maintained between parishioners.
- Individuals must use the hand sanitizer prior to entering the chancel.
- The faithful will extend the top of their hand to the Celebrant to receive the Holy Communion.
- After receiving the Holy Communion, parishioners will remove one side of their face mask and place it in their mouth. They will then reattach their face mask.
- Before leaving the chancel, they will hand sanitize again and immediately proceed back to their pew to receive the final blessing from the Celebrant.
LEAVING THE CHURCH
- At the conclusion of Badarak, the Gospel will not be presented for the faithful to kiss. We ask that everyone proceed out of the church through the front doors while maintaining a safe distance between each other. Parishioners should not congregate after church. The Ushers/Trustees will direct the exiting out of the church.
- After each service, the sanctuary and all common areas that are used will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with appropriate cleaning products.
DONATIONS AND CANDLES
- Requiem Service: As usual, parishioners should call the church by noon each Thursday to schedule a requiem service for that Sunday. Any requiem service donations brought to church on Sunday must be put in an envelope, clearly marked with who it is in memory of and who it is from, and placed in the donation box in the Narthex. We strongly recommend, however, that you mail your requiem service donations to the church. The board office will not be open to collect donations.
- Lighting Candles: Parishioners are welcome to light candles. The floor area in front of the candle boxes will be clearly marked to promote social distancing. Please observe these markings and do not congregate in this area.
- Donations: Plate, weekly, candle, requiem, and all other donations must be placed in the donation boxes in the Narthex. All donations other than for the plate collection or candles should be placed in an envelope and clearly marked with the purpose of the donation, such as requiem, and the donor’s name and phone number. The easiest way to make a donation is on our website at www.saintsarkis.org.
Fellowship/Coffee Hour is suspended until further notice.
CLASSROOMS AND NURSERY
There will be no Sunday School classes or use of the nursery until further notice.
We are committed to working diligently to help protect the health and safety of our parishioners when we join together in worship. We ask for everyone’s cooperation and understanding as we reopen our church doors. We know that over time these restrictions will gradually be lifted and we look forward to that day. In the meantime, we need to work together and exercise due diligence as we pray for God’s protection and a cure for the COVID-19 virus. We look forward to welcoming you back to church as you feel comfortable.
Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian
O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in Him.