Current response to COVID
As of March 1, 2022 the following COVID guidance is in effect at St. Ann's/Sayville:
01 March 2022: letter from Father Jeff, rector Saint Ann's/Sayville
This past Friday, Bishop Provenzano sent an updated pastoral directive regarding COVID-19 and the diocesan restrictions enacted late last year. As of 1 March 2022, the following policies will be at the sole discretion & direction of the Clergy-in-charge in each parish: masks in worship, coffee hour, gatherings involving food, in-person meetings, and the continued use of online/hybrid event processes. The one issue that continues to be restricted at the diocesan level: we are not yet ready to offer Holy Eucharist in both kinds (which is to say, we will continue to serve only the bread and not the wine).
What does this mean for us? It is my intent, after discussing with our vestry, that the following changes will start this week.
We will no longer require masks during worship. This does not mean that masks are banned, in fact I will encourage you to wear a mask if you have compromised immune systems, if you are feeling under the weather (even if it is allergies), and if wearing a mask will bring you comfort. Also, if you are present at service and you prefer to stay seated to avoid close contact during communion, we will happily bring communion to you in the pews. If you are not feeling well, please consider staying at home and watching online which we will continue to stream weekly. Masks will also be an individual’s choice in the offices, at the Food Pantry, and at the Thrift Shop.
On 6 March, this weekend, we will return to Coffee Hour with food and drink. Noah and I will cover Coffee Hour this week, please consider signing up for the weeks ahead! Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.
A big test of returning to a pre-COVID stance on the serving of food will be the Soup Supper Learning Series (starting March 9). We had planned on this being online-only, so we are scrambling a bit to get an in-person gathering organized. Forgive us if this means it’s a little slimmed down at first, but we are “Supper” excited to come together to break bread as a parish-family. Look for final details coming soon about the Soup Supper Lenten Series.
Though it may take some time to return to our “normal” schedule, external & internal meetings will be returning to the calendar. If you were a leader or an active member of one of these groups that met regularly before COVID, please contact the office with a plan to return. We can’t know what the trajectory of this pandemic will be, but my hope is that we grab this opportunity to be in a less restrictive communion with one another.
Peace, Fr Jeff +
24 February 2022: letter from The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island
Updated Pastoral Directive Re: Covid-19
February 24, 2022
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As of this writing, the Covid-19 infection rate has plummeted, hospitalizations and deaths have reached all-time lows, and the rate of vaccination has reached over 70%. All of this indicates that, unless there is a significant spike in infections (or a new variant), this should serve as one of the last directives from this office related to Covid-19.
In every instance, it is the sole duty and responsibility of the clergy-in-charge to set protocols within the context of the congregation and setting in which they serve.
As of March 1, 2022, the use of masks during the liturgy will be at the sole discretion and direction of the clergy-in-charge, taking into consideration the age, vulnerability, and health concerns of the members of the community at any given gathering. Coffee hour and other gatherings involving food and beverages may now resume, again at the discretion of the clergy-in-charge. In-person meetings, classes, and other activities may resume, taking into consideration the use, accessibility, and access of livestreaming, Zoom, and other electronic communication that now easily expands the options available for full inclusion given a multitude of circumstances.
We are not yet resuming the offering of Holy Eucharist in both kinds (ie. the common chalice).
It is my hope that every parish community will continue to offer livestreaming and full electronic connection for liturgy, meetings, and classes as much as possible.
It has been a very long two years. I am keenly aware of the toll this pandemic has taken on all of us, especially the most vulnerable amongst us. Please accept my sincere gratitude for every effort that has been made to connect with one another, care for one another and offer hope and help to one another during this unprecedented time in our lives.
As we move into Lent, I invite you to consider it your Lenten discipline to love your neighbor, pray for peace, and grow in witness to Jesus Christ. And as we journey toward Holy Week and Easter, carry with you the names and faces of those who have died, and the circumstances that have tested our resolve and made us stronger as the Body of Christ.
With my sincere gratitude, love and prayers,
I remain, your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano
Bishop of Long Island