Our current Covid Plan – 04.01.22(subject to change)
COVID: Holy Week & Eastertide
As promised in our last COVID update on February 21st, (See Below) we will have additional updates to our Cathedral COVID protocols beginning on Palm Sunday, April 10th, and running through Eastertide. While much will remain the same, a couple important changes will begin.
- The full Cathedral choir returns to the chancel – proof of vaccination required; and
- The Common Cup returns to Eucharist – – either sip or dip (‘intinct’) w/ care.
What’s the same:
- Masks are still required – Cathedral leadership continues to discern our path forward;
- Modified procession – the choir and some others will not process through the Nave;
- Food service is still paused – light beverage service continues on the 1st floor; and
- Full vaccination is expected, for those eligible, and symptom-free prior to arrival.
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Mpls
Epiphanytide: February 21, 2022
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30: 5b
Dear Saint Markans & Friends,
Epiphanytide greetings to each of you! We pray this note finds you and yours well, savoring these final days of winter’s slow, reflective pace and eagerly anticipating spring’s dawning of verdant renewal, which is ever within, among, and around us. We have endured much together these past two years. And, while we’re far from clear of COVID’s long shadow, we have reason to rejoice at the bright, hopeful signs emerging just beyond our present horizon.
We are grateful here at Saint Mark’s to have been afforded an Advent and Christmastide together, to celebrate the joy of hopes fulfilled in the new birth of Jesus among us. Following our celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th and the Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism on January 9th, we put all Cathedral in-person gatherings ‘on pause,’ as local COVID positivity rates soared well beyond 200/100k. We remain ‘on pause’ at the writing of this update, yet have begun planning and preparing for our return.
We are pleased to report that Hennepin County has reported sustained COVID positivity rates below 100/100k for nearly two weeks now and that, as we write today, we are comfortably below that figure at about 50/100k. This suggests that our post-Christmas COVID spike and decline are trending much like those of other major metropolitan areas. As such, we plan to lift the pause on all in-person gatherings at the Cathedral, beginning Tuesday, February 22nd. Therefore, our first Sunday back together will be on February 27th, including the 8am, 10:30am, and 5pm services. This means we’ll also be in-person to begin Lent together on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd at 12:15pm and 7:30pm. All current on-line worship and program offerings will continue. For all this we can and should give thanks!
Here are the mitigation strategies that will continue:
- Masks will continue to be required indoors at all times, except when food/beverage has been approved and a person is actively consuming food or beverage;
- Seasonal meals (e.g. Mardi Gras, Maundy Thursday) will remain on pause;
- The full procession of the choir will remain on pause;
- The sharing of our Common Cup in Eucharist will remain on pause; and
- Those eligible for COVID vaccinations will be expected to maintain complete vaccination status.
Here are the things that will be different:
- All Nave seating, including pew pads, prayer books, and hymnals, will return to normal;
- The designated seating for young families and those with limited mobility will return to normal;
- The masked congregation may once again sing all hymns and service music;
- The number of choir section leads will increase from four to eight and proof of full vaccination status will be required for their on-going and safe participation;
- The full procession of the altar party will return, including passage through the chancel; and
- Light beverage service will return to the 1st floor Banquet Rooms, subject to the aforementioned rule that masks should be worn at all times except when actively consuming food or beverage.
Further reduction in COVID mitigation will be based on vaccination saturation among those dear members and guests ages 6 months to 5 years. Please continue to hold those families close in prayer as we all await their safe access to the COVID vaccine.
For those individuals wishing to spend time at their Cathedral, we look forward to welcoming you back during regular hours of operation. And for those groups wishing to resume in-person gatherings at their Cathedral, we look forward to hearing from you to reserve program space.
And, last but not least, another heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of you who’ve been so gracious and understanding and patient throughout these two years of our enduring the COVID pandemic together. We are certain our efforts have not been perfect, but they have been well-informed, prayerful, and intentional, aiming always to strike a proper balance between our desire to be together and our mandate to keep one another safe. We have demonstrated, not only to each other but to the world around us, that when Love demands we make sacrifices for the Common Good, THIS is a faith community on whom others can depend to make wise and compassionate decisions.
We are immensely proud and deeply grateful to serve among you, and we remain ever yours,
Paul+, Tim+, and Brian
The Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, Dean
The Rev. Canon Tim Kingsley, Canon Pastor
Mr. Brian Childs, Senior Warden