Dear friends,With the changing guidance from the CDC and State of New Jersey, diocesan guidance about worship in this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed.
Beginning Sunday, June 6, six-foot distancing will no longer be required at our worship services. Distancing is recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated, including children, and several pews will be set aside at most services to allow for distancing for those who are not yet vaccinated or prefer to maintain distance.
As our seating capacity increases, we will no longer require registration for most services. You may attend any service without registering ahead of time or at the door.
At this time, masks are still required at worship services at Trinity. Please plan to wear a mask, fully covering your nose and mouth, when at an indoor worship service.
You’ll also notice other changes we are making as the opportunity arises, including the return of hymns and singing to our worship services.
Special considerations will apply on Sunday, June 13, when Bishop Stokes joins us in worship for his official visitation to Trinity, offering confirmation for our J2A youth at the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist.
I anticipate that there may be further changes over the course of this summer as we continue to adapt available guidance to the needs and life of Trinity, so please stay tuned.
Thank you for your generous care for one another, and for the more vulnerable in our congregation and community over the course of this pandemic so far. That care and love continue to be needed as the world around us continues to change and we adapt, experiment, grow and stretch at Trinity.
I look forward to worshipping with you through all these changes, offering our common prayer and praise to God with full and open hearts, wherever and however we worship.
May 5, 2021
I have been delighted to see the Covid case levels and infection rates dropping recently in our county – as I am sure you are, too! The sacrifices we have all made in staying distanced, and the dedicated work of health professionals and public officials and neighbors in providing and receiving vaccines is making a substantial difference here and now.
The good news for Trinity is that we have crossed the threshold recommended by our diocese for resuming in-person worship, and thanks to the support of key volunteers like ushers and altar guild, the wardens and I are able to announce that we are returning to limited in-person worship in the church for our 8:00 a.m. services this month.
Our 10:30 a.m. services will continue to be in the church-yard, outdoors and weather dependent, through the end of this month, as previously announced.
All services will require registration, masks, and physical distancing, for all participants, whether vaccinated or not, as we have been practicing throughout this year.
I am truly delighted to be able to be worshipping together in our beautiful church again, and I look forward to more opportunities to gather with you as the risks from this virus are reduced. I ask you to continue to pray with me for the health of our community and our world, as we continue to face the challenges of managing this pandemic, and the changes it has brought and will bring for some time.
April 5, 2021
Beginning Sunday, April 11, we will be adding an outdoor in-person worship service at 10:30 a.m. to our current Sunday schedule.
Our new Sunday worship schedule for the spring will be:
- 8:00 a.m. livestream only (available online all day)
- 9:15 a.m. by telephone
- 10:30 a.m. outdoor worship in the churchyard, weather permitting.
I anticipate that this will be our worship schedule through May.
We are fortunate that the spring weather should allow us the opportunity to gather in person, which I know many of us (myself included) have been longing for. COVID cases and infection rates have been rising steeply in our county in recent weeks, so we cannot yet return to indoor in-person worship, and will continue to exercise care for one another in our gatherings.
The outdoor service will conform to all the same masking, distancing and registration requirements that have been in place since last summer. In case of rain, the outdoor service will be canceled, and those registered will be encouraged to worship by livestream or telephone.
Wishing each and all of you the blessings of Easter throughout this season of resurrection and new life,
February 26, 2021
Your wardens and I have been carefully watching Covid metrics and conditions throughout the winter, and while we are now near to levels that would allow us to resume our limited in-person worship under diocesan guidelines, we are not yet there. So we must extend our remote-only season of worship again, possibly through the end of March.
I believe there is reason to expect that case numbers and infection may decline further during the month of March, so we will re-evaluate this in the middle of the month. If conditions then allow us to re-start in-person worship, we will do so (no earlier than March 21).
I know that many of you are eagerly longing for the return of in-person worship, and I share that longing. I also know that as a community, Trinity is committed to the health of the whole community, with an emphasis on care for the most vulnerable as taught by Jesus and Paul and the prophets. So we will continue to proceed with caution, often more than the caution of the world around us, but always toward the worship and community life that binds us together and nourishes our souls in this time of lasting crisis.
Please continue to pray for all who suffer illness and loss as a result of this pandemic, for those who cannot avoid risk, and those who care for others. And continue to listen for the presence of our whole community – praying and praising God together with you in each moment of worship, even as we are separated in time and space.
January 31, 2021
After reviewing COVID data for Burlington County, and in accordance with guidance from the Diocese of New Jersey, our suspension of in-person Sunday worship at Trinity will continue through the end of February. Online and phone worship will continue through our regular channels.
Until further notice, our Sunday worship schedule will be:
* one live-streamed worship service at 8:00 a.m., which will be available any time during and after the service on our website and Facebook. It will also be available live on our YouTube channel at 8:00 a.m., (and available again there some time later when YouTube finishes processing the live video).
* our 9:15 a.m. audio-only telephone worship service (call 862-799-9987)
Even when we are physically apart, it matters that we continue to pray together, joining the worship services online or by phone, joining in the prayers aloud where possible. Even if the only voice you hear as you pray with us online is your own, God hears our voices in chorus, and helps us stay joined in heart and mind, if not in body. I can feel your presence in prayer as I lead our worship from the church, even if you are praying with me at a different time, from a different place, and I hope that you, too, can feel that shared presence of prayer even in this separated time.
January 7, 2021
In consultation with the wardens and other leaders, I have reached the difficult decision that we will suspend in-person Sunday worship at Trinity through the rest of January to ensure the safety of all involved. Online and phone worship will continue through our regular channels.
For the next four weeks, our Sunday worship schedule will be:* one live-streamed worship service at 8:00 a.m., which will be available any time during and after the service on our website and Facebook. It will also be available live on our YouTube channel at 8:00 a.m., (and available again there some time later when YouTube finishes processing the live video).* our 9:15 a.m. audio-only telephone worship service (call 862-799-9987).
It has become increasingly clear that with current case and transmission rates, almost any one of us who are leaving our homes at all could have been in recent contact with the COVID virus at any time, and may bring it to church unaware of the danger. While our protocols are designed with care to make it very very difficult (no one can say “impossible”) to transmit the virus, I find that it’s not reasonable for us to sustain those protocols strictly enough to offer peace of mind at the current transmission levels. With attention to the guidance offered by the diocese and the CDC, it is the wisest course to temporarily suspend our Sunday in-person worship.
I know that this decision comes at a time when the urge to pray together may be particularly strong, so it’s important to remember that the church has always prayed together outside the walls and pews of our buildings. The church prays together every time one of us offers a prayer from our treasury of common prayer – not just the book of our church, but the Lord’s Prayer, and other prayers, hymns, and psalms people of faith have spoken for years.
We can pray together in more tangible ways, too. Call a friend, and explore the resources of the Prayer Book (which can be found online here) together. I especially recommend the “Daily Devotions” (pages 136-140) and the “Prayers and Thanksgivings” (pages 814-835) which cover many different needs of daily life.
And listen, as you participate remotely in worship, for God to show you the voices of all the rest of us, praying remotely together. I can truly feel your presence in prayer as I stand in the church leading worship, even when you are not physically there, or may be connecting to that service at a different time of day.
I am hopeful that we will be ready to resume limited in-person worship on Sunday, February 7, and you’ll hear from me closer to that date with regard to whether, when, and how we will resume.
You are in my prayers, each and all.