COVID-19 Protocols

As we collectively navigate the changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Paul’s has developed guidelines and protocols to help us adapt to new ways of being Christ’s hands in the world. From livestream worship to limited office hours to Zoom-based coffee hour and small-group meetings, we aim to support each other and our spiritual community in this time of physical distance.

The guidelines below offer further details on our policies regarding worship, parish services, pastoral care, and building use. We are following both state and local guidelines and the Journey by Stages protocol developed by the Diocese of Massachusetts to help guide our decision making and offerings. Please note that our plans continue to evolve as the public-health situation changes. We may adapt, add, or eliminate protocols and services as needed.

If you have further questions after reading the guidelines, please feel free to contact us at 781-275-8262 or info@stpaulsbedford.org.

WHAT TO EXPECT . . .

WHEN YOU ATTEND SUNDAY WORSHIP
We intend to continue livestream worship as our principal Sunday worship offering during the Diocese’s Phase 2. We may offer occasional outdoor worship in the summer and fall in the Memorial Garden, either as part of the Sunday-morning livestream, or as a separate late-afternoon or evening service on Sundays, with up to 50 attendees and up to 10 staff.
For more information: Sunday Worship 

WHEN YOU ATTEND OTHER SERVICES
Funerals
St. Paul’s is prepared to host small indoor funeral services for up to 45 attendees in the sanctuary. All attendees must sign up in advance and wear masks for the duration of the service.
For more information: Funerals

Daily Office (Morning Prayer)
St. Paul’s has been hosting Morning Prayer on occasional weekdays via Zoom. We may offer Morning Prayer in person for very small groups (fewer than 5 people) in the courtyard garden outside the Parish Hall. Participants would sign up in advance to attend, observe social distancing, and remain masked throughout the short (20-minute) service.
For more information: Daily Office

WHEN RECEIVING COMMUNION
St. Paul’s has adopted protocols for the safe consecration and distribution of the Eucharist (wafer only) during Sunday in-person worship and for at-home consumption. Home delivery of consecrated hosts is also available for those unable to come to church for pickup.
For more information: Communion 

WHEN YOU NEED TO VISIT THE PARISH OFFICE
During Phase 2, visitors may make appointments to visit the parish office during regular office hours (Tues. and Thurs., 9am to 1pm throughout the summer). All visitors should wear masks and should sanitize their hands when they arrive. Visitors must also sign a form confirming that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been around anyone with symptoms; these forms will be kept on file to help us with contact tracing as needed. When you enter the building into the narthex or by the back door to the Parish Hall, you’ll find a table with the forms, sanitizer, and extra masks.
For more information: Visiting the Parish Office

WHEN YOU NEED PASTORAL CARE
Rev. Chris and Rev. Rachel are available for pastoral care via phone, Skype, email, and Zoom. Please contact the parish office (781-275-8262 or info@stpaulsbedford.org) to arrange an appointment.

WHEN YOU ATTEND A SMALL-GROUP MEETING
Committees and ministries will be encouraged to continue meeting remotely. Any committee or small group wishing to gather in person in the church will be required to obtain clergy permission and follow our small-group meeting protocols.
For more information: Small Group Meetings  

FOR CLEANING AND SANITIZING
St. Paul’s has established protocols for regular cleaning and sanitizing of the building, and for additional cleaning after any confirmed or suspected COVID-19 exposure. We have a backup cleaning contractor in addition to our regular sexton, in case of illness or one-time needs for extra cleaning.

We have removed all hymnals and prayer books from the pews and stored them for future use. Designated pews and portions of pews that are closed will be marked with signage. We have also removed the offering plates; we encourage parishioners and guests to make their offerings online, via mail, or via a “no touch” drop box in the Narthex, which will be made available during any limited in-person worship gatherings.