While Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church remains closed, we will be having services virtually. Be sure to check our Facebook page during the times listed to watch that day’s service! We will also have them available on our YouTube account around 1 hour after the conclusion of the service.
- Holy Eucharist (Rite II) on Sundays at 11:00am
- Evening Prayer on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:00pm
- Compline on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00pm
We also have the following opportunities for connection with the congregation of Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church:
- Virtual Prayers of the People
- Virtual Coffee Hour – information on these goes out in our Weekly Email Update!
- Vacation Bible School – This year at Saint Peter’s, VBS was a three-day virtual event, where we took a trip to Camp Compassion! During these three days, we talked about what compassion is, what it means to be compassionate, and how we can show compassion to others. Our Children’s Coordinator Heidi Mackey made videos covering these lessons and uploaded them to the Saint Peter’s Family Ministries Facebook group. If you would like for Heidi to email you these videos, send her an email!
Starting on Sunday, September 6th, we will be gathering in-person at 9:00 a.m. in the courtyard. We have space for about 60 people (more if families join). We’ll add more services if demand requires. Restrooms will be available. PLEASE READ ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION BEFORE SIGNING UP TO ATTEND.
How do I know if I am healthy enough to attend church?
Saint Peter’s is using the COVID-19 questionnaire from the State of Washington to help you determine if you are healthy enough to attend church in-person. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you cannot attend an in-person service. Due to the nature of COVID-19, symptoms might not appear for up to two weeks, so it is important to rigorously check and re-check your health and those around you. If you are sick or are around someone who is sick, please remain at home and watch the pre-recorded versions of our services at our Facebook and YouTube pages (linked above).
- Within the last 14-days, have you experienced a new cough that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
- Within the last 14-days, have you experienced new shortness of breath that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
- Within the last 14-days, have you experienced a new sore throat that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
- Within the last 14-days, have you experienced new muscle aches that you cannot attribute to another health condition or a specific activity such as physical exercise?
- Within the last 14-days, have you had a temperature at or above 100.4° or the sense of having a fever?
- Within the last 14 days, have you had close contact, without the use of appropriate PPE, with someone who is currently sick with suspected or confirmed COVID-19? (Note: Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for more than 10 consecutive minutes)
Is Saint Peter’s/The Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas providing safety equipment to the congregation?
We will have some surgical masks on hand if you forget to bring your own, but we are asking people to bring their own masks with them for each family member. As part of our COVID-19 education work, here are links to videos on how to properly wash/sanitize your hands and how to properly put on and take off a mask so you can come to church ready for communal worship. We even have tips from a surgeon for properly fitting your mask if you wear glasses to keep them from fogging up.
We will have a Greeter at the Courtyard Gate with hand sanitizer, disposable masks, and a thermometer to take temperatures. A second Greeter will confirm contact information for members/visitors for contact tracing. An usher will take individuals/families to their assigned seats.
Additionally, we will be offering communion (wafers only at this time). Guidelines for safe dispersal of communion wafers have been provided by the Diocese.
What other measures are we taking before we re-open?
In addition to providing information for keeping you and your family members healthy, happy, and safe during this pandemic, Saint Peter’s is taking a three-phased approach to re-opening.
Phase 1 included Information-Gathering, Communication, and Education. Our COVID-19 Task Force has been researching how to clean surfaces to kill the virus while protecting surfaces and people in the process. We have met to share and compile our research and recommendations into communication and training to clean and maintain the buildings and grounds, and ways to share information with all our
members and potential visitors.
Phase 2 (this phase) will include re-opening the courtyard and Parish Hall bathrooms for in-person gathering at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
The church office will be open 12-4 p.m. on Monday-Thursday. We will begin to explore offering outdoor worship opportunities on the church grounds as well as continue online opportunities for Small Groups, Anti-Racism Book Club, and Servant Leadership School and Wednesday Bible Study. Later in the Fall we will begin Confirmation/Reception preparation and mentoring.
The Revs Greg and Peggy will continue making home visits to outdoor areas (front porch/back yard) for worship and pastoral care. Visits to nursing homes and hospitals are still restricted by those institutions.
Phase 3 will include re-opening the Nave, Education Building, Parish Hall/Kitchen, and the Morgan House for Christian Formation and social gatherings. We will also re-open the office for regular office hours with ability to assist those who request help from the church in-person rather than just over the phone.
Please note our ability to gather is dependent on the COVID-19 case rate in Faulkner County. If the recent declines reverse, we’ll move back to only online worship.
What will worship look like in the Nave when we re-open in Phase 2?
Due to CDC recommendations for social distancing and the seating capacity of our Courtyard, we have determined we can safely seat 60-80 congregants with two worship leaders seated in the altar area for the worship service. We will start with one worship service at 9:00 am on Sunday, with the option of expanding services if demand requires it. We will also expand to a Wednesday evening service once we have Sunday working smoothly.
We will continue to offer a pre-recorded worship service for those who are not able to attend Sunday worship, with provision of communion at home by the Rector or Eucharistic Visitor by request via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church office at 501-329-8174. A link to the pre-recorded service will be available to view on Sunday.
Pre-registration online or by contacting the church office via phone/message for each worship service is needed to give everyone a chance to worship in the church, to give the Altar Guild and other servers exact count on Communion, and to provide contact tracing in case someone is later diagnosed as sick. You should have received an Event invitation in Realm for the September 6 service. If you did not or do not use Realm, please call the office at 501-329-8174 and leave a message with the name(s) of the attendees and phone number(s). We’ll make sure you’re registered.
Worship bulletins and inserts will be placed in your seating area. Each person will take his or her bulletin and inserts home. Please help us ensure your health and safety by “entering” through the Courtyard gate after checking in and ‘exiting’ through the Courtyard Gate.
The bathrooms will be available for use in the Parish Hall. We will provide materials to allow you to sanitize surfaces after each visit. Please be considerate of your neighbor.
Instructions for Receiving Communion in the Nave during COVID-19 Phase 2
For the foreseeable future, the procedure for worship services with Eucharist in the courtyard is as follows:
Each chair or seating area will have a number hanging from it as you enter the courtyard. An usher will direct you to and/or point out your seating. If you are a couple or family sitting together you will be seated in one of the seating areas together.
At the Passing of the Peace, we will stand and “throw each other a hug” or a “sacred bow” from our respective seats. Please do not exit your area to pass the Peace while in the Courtyard. In case of rain, we will send a text message/call to the attendees informing them the service has been canceled; they will automatically be signed up for the next week’s service unless they choose to opt out.
If you need to use the restroom before, during, or after the service – the Parish Hall restrooms will be open for use. Parents: please accompany children to the restrooms to make sure the touch surfaces are properly disinfected with a sanitizing wipe after each use for the next person.
What safety measures will the Priests and worship leaders be taking during services?
Our two Priests will sit on opposite sides of the outside ‘altar’ for the service. We will be unable to have a procession with the Cross and acolytes, in order to maintain proper social distancing measures. We will have a volunteer lector for the service. Readings will be shortened. All attendees will be given worship booklets with scripture readings included.
The officiating Priest will bless a separate paten with wafers for the congregation. It will be covered during the service. He/She will be the only one in the Altar area during the Eucharist Prayer. She/he will distribute the wafer to each congregant—please remain in your seating areas during the distribution. Per the Diocese, we are not able to serve wine at this time.
Why will we not be singing for the foreseeable future?
The CDC and other scientific institutions that have been studying COVID-19 transmission have noted that as singers and musicians project their voice or sound through their instruments, just as the sound waves travel, so do the moisture droplets from your mouth that can spread COVID-19 germs through the air further than the 6-10 feet recommended by normal social distancing measures. The most current recommendations are that we do not engage in group singing inside until there are better studies on how to do that safely, especially in enclosed spaces. As we offer an outdoor worship service, we will explore how to offer some form of singing in that setting.
How will donations be processed during these altered in-person services?
If we need to contact the church about an issue or come into the office for something, what is the procedure for doing so?
Please call the church office at (501) 329-8174 and leave a message or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Greg or Peggy will return your call. If you come to the church office physically (for church business or an appointment), please sanitize your hands as you enter the office and have your mask on as you enter the lobby. Please log in your visit for contact tracing (a book is at the entrance). Let us know you are outside so that we can have our masks on and open the door to receive you. Otherwise, we request that people not come into the building unless absolutely necessary.
Information on Phase III: In-Church Gatherings and Christian Education
When will Saint Peter’s re-open the rest of the buildings and grounds?
The Nave, Lobby, Parish Hall, Kitchen, Morgan House, and Christian Education wing will remain closed until at least October. We will begin working on ways to re-open these areas after we have successfully re-opened the Phase 2 area for worship.
Will the church be offering any Christian education opportunities this fall?
We will try! We are planning to offer an ongoing education opportunity this fall, including continuing the Tuesday Anti-Racism book club, the Wednesday afternoon Bible study, and small groups. We will continue with our Virtual Coffee Hour at Noon on Sundays. Kelly Jeffus is working on EYC programming for the school year. Childcare is on hold until we safely re-gather in person.
As we move through the fall, we will communicate how we plan to gather in-person to share coffee, meals, and Christian education safely. We are also observing the various school systems in the area monitor their re-opening.
We will be sending out a survey periodically to discern the level of interest in providing in-person indoor worship services, Christian Formation, coffee hour, and pastoral support via videoconferencing. If you have an idea and/or talent to share, we welcome your willingness to volunteer your time, talent, and treasure to make your idea a reality for the people of Saint Peter’s and the community.
When will we resume community gatherings like church lunches or large events?
There will be no church potlucks, dinners, or community gatherings for the foreseeable future unless we decide to have some sort of outdoor service where proper social distancing and safety measures can be followed, especially as it regards the free movement of the children in the congregation. While our worship services and church life will not look the same as it did pre-COVID-19, even after implementing Phase III, we are confident that we can work to implement measures that will allow us to resume “normal” church activities. Thanks so much for your patience!