Dear Apostles Family,
Last Monday we received guidelines from the Knox County Health Department regarding the phased reopening of public buildings in our city and county. Phase I of this reopening begins on May 1, 2020, and lasts for a minimum of 28 days. Our local government addressed specific guidelines for places of worship in this plan. You may view the plan by following this link.
I have reviewed this document and there are numerous restrictions on public worship services in Phase I. Apostles has not made a final decision at this time about resuming public worship services during Phase I. I will continue to discern this decision with Apostles’ Vestry and staff. We will continue to keep you informed as Apostles develops a plan for resuming public worship services.
This Sunday, May 3rd, we will conduct an online worship service only. The decision for this Sunday does not determine our plan for the remaining Sundays in May. Our clergy and lay leaders need more time for prayer and discernment before we resume public worship services.
Two factors are especially important in this decision:
- The safety of our congregation
- Leading liturgical and sacramental worship in keeping with government guidelines and restrictions.
Our bishops have informed us that we must follow local guidelines in a reopening process. We will also follow any additional guidance our bishops may offer ADOTS churches in days to come.
Phase I of Knoxville’s reopening for places of worship requires several strict restrictions on liturgical worship, specifically related to Holy Communion, singing, the use of hymnals and Bibles, and physical distancing. Facemasks are required for all parishioners and attendance must be less than 50 persons in Phase I.
All of us long to gather for worship at Apostles again. I really miss seeing you all each Sunday. We miss passing the peace. We miss conversations in person with one another. We miss discussing our faith with one another in the Christian Formation hour.
I am confident that the Lord will guide us with his wisdom as our leaders discern these decisions. Please continue praying for Apostles and stay connected to our website and email updates in days to come.