WELCOME STATEMENT


  St. Andrew's in the Valley is a caring, vibrant, open and diverse parish welcoming all, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance or theological perspective.


(for more information regarding the Episcopal Church's commitment to LGBTQIA+ issues, please click here:  



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THE PARISH NEWSLETTER CAN BE VIEWED IN THE "NEWS" SECTION IN THE MENU BAR ABOVE!


 


 

 

RESUMPTION OF INDOOR SERVICES 

 

 

 

 

 
Revised Guidelines from the Task Force on Operations
The Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania
March 14, 2022
 
As the impact of the Omicron Variant fades across the diocese we must consider how to move forward understanding that the COVID virus will most probably be with us at some level for the foreseeable future and that the potential for future outbreaks remains with us. The CDC has revised their risk measurement and protective recommendations based on the ability of our medical systems to react quickly and effectively to future infections and on a continually improving understanding of disease transmission. The leaders of many civic jurisdictions have modified their guidance as they, too, observe the waning of the virus and strive to maintain safe spaces while supporting resilience and restoring practices that lead to vibrancy and strength in communities.
 
Our resilience and strength as the Body of Christ comes from the power of a God whose compassion and love know no limits. That strength is supported by coming together as God’s people for worship, fellowship, work, and study. We are grateful for the way that our congregations have responded in the time of pandemic and how you have created safe space for gathering, caring for the most vulnerable among us.
 
With the pandemic currently waning, it is appropriate that our guidelines shift, once again. We continue to recommend using the CDC guidelines as the least restrictive measures for gathering and we urge adherence to any local guidelines that may be stricter. We also recognize the importance of offering guidelines that can be adjusted to work in each particular context based on the size of the church building, the specific appointments of each space, (windows that can open, ventilation systems, etc.) and the demographics of the congregation. Thus, we encourage each clergy person to work with their Vestry to arrive at a plan that will work in your space. As your Task Force, we would be happy to review those plans as you desire. Please reach out to your assigned Task Force member or to Carolyn Patterson (cpatterson@diocesecpa.org" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color:rgb(167, 6, 46);font-size:16px;font-weight:bold">cpatterson@diocesecpa.org) if you would like to consult with one of us about your plan.
 
We believe that full vaccination is critical towards reducing risk and creating safer communities. We also recognize that those who cannot be vaccinated and those with underlying health concerns need our support as they choose to maintain more strict personal safety measures. Anyone who chooses to retain mask wearing and social distancing practices in this time of lessened restrictions is to be supported for their decision.
 
At this time, the recommended shifts in our common practice include:
 
  • The wearing of masks for those who desire this personal level of protection. Others may go mask-free in worship and at other church events
  • Restoring regular seating in parish sanctuaries and other spaces
  • A return to receiving communion at the altar rail with an option for those who prefer communion in their pew or the prayer of Spiritual Communion
  • A return of the Common Cup while maintaining other means of distributing wine for those who prefer it, i.e.: small cups. Note: intinction in any manner is strongly discouraged as this practice is unhygienic. If small cups are used to distribute wine, a single vessel of wine shall be placed on the altar to signify our unity in Christ. The small cups must be washed in a manner similar to how the chalice is washed, and if disposable cups are used, they are to be rinsed in the piscina before discarding
  • Singing in church services is to be restored. The Rector and Vestry may decide if fewer hymns are preferred to lessen the presence of aerosols and droplets circulating in the space
  • Restoring Coffee Hour and Food Ministries (i.e.: community meals) in the life of the parish
  • The wearing of masks by church nursery attendants as a means of protecting our youngest
  • The option to continue the practice of recording attendance for the purposes of contact tracing
 
 
The Task Force on Operations and the Diocesan Staff will continue its vigilance studying and posting the rate of virus incidence on our website. If we see a resurgence of the virus in numbers that are threatening, we will recommend restoring the mitigation techniques to keep our parishioners safe.
 
These guidelines are to encourage a return to the former practices of common life at a time when we feel it is prudent to do so while appreciating that safety and risk assessment is personal. Above all, we hope that our parishes will be places where those who practice a higher level of personal safety feel welcomed, and that we can come together in joy and peace to worship our Lord.
 
The Task Force on Operations
 
Ms. Elaine Austin
Ms. Barbara Cross
Canon Alexis Guszick
Canon Chad Linder
Mr. Bill Lord
The Rev. Jeff Packard
The Rt. Rev. Audrey Scanlan
 
Consulting Physician, Dr. Pamela Vnenchak

 

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