Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church

Our mission: "To serve God and the community by commitment to the Gospel's command to grow in knowledge of Jesus Christ through faith, hope and love".

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Procedures for Reopening Church for Services on June 7th Amid Social Distancing

Revised May 28-2020

What we are doing in Preparation for Limited Opening

1. Remove all service books from pews.
2. Cordon off every other row of pews from both the center and the outside aisles. (This gives 6.5’ of social distancing between rows of people.)
3. Put colored tape or signs neatly to mark every 6 feet up the center aisle to mark spacing for the Communion line.
4. Block access to the lower level - set of stairs by the ramp and elevator-
5. The entrance and exit will be through the middle main church door only.
  • a. Admission limited: confirmed reservations required.
  • b. Do NOT enter if you have been exposed to Coronavirus, have any symptoms, are feeling unwell, are elderly 65 years or older, and have existing immune system deficiencies.
  • c. Do NOT touch door handle: an usher will open the door for you. No admission 10 minutes after Liturgy starts, and doors will be locked.
  • 6. Parishioners can sign up for services (at least 12 hours in advance) by either E-mailing Fr. John or calling his Cell. @ 440 665 6724, procedures to be announced after Liturgy this week and cautions for those who should not come to church. 
Procedures for Every Service

7. An usher will be stationed at the main middle door at least fifteen minutes before the start of services (including 15 minutes before the start of matins if matins is scheduled). Usher will wear gloves and open doors for parishioners, making sure they are on the list of those who reserved spaces at that Liturgy and given them general instructions before leading them to their spot.
8. Another usher will take a quick temperature check for all parishioners as they enter. With gloves on, explaining what he’s doing, the user will take either forehead or behind ear temperature reading from 2-5 inches from skin. (Note behind-ear checks are more accurate than forehead readings for someone who has just entered the building from outside, where it is either significantly colder or hotter than the indoor temperature.) Those who have a temperature of 99.0°F will be urged to go home; those who have a temperature of 99.2°F or higher will be required to leave.
9. Procure hand sanitizer pumps to be used in the narthex before entering Church, Ushers will help.
10. Procure supply of face masks. (Everyone should have their own by now.)
11. Ushers to use disposable gloves.
12. Bulletins will be handed out by a gloved usher. Attendees are asked to take their bulletins home with them. Usher will simultaneously instruct parishioners to sit at least six feet away from other households, with no more than two households in the same row.
13. Procure disinfectant wipes for ushers to wipe door handles and Toilet top disposable covers for individuals to use on bathroom surfaces.
14. Wearing of face masks strongly recommended throughout service
  • a. Members of the same household may sit together but keep at least 6 feet away from others.
  • b. No hugging, Kissing, or handshaking.
  • c. The Ramp and the elevators won’t be available.
  • d. Place your tithes and offerings in the basket by the entrance. No collection baskets will be passed.
  • e. Candles will be offered by the Ushers and money to be placed in the basket too.
15. You only can use the under Church bathroom, no access to Metropolitan or Yarid Halls will be allowed and doors will be locked.
16.No Social Gatherings before or after Services are allowed, inside or outside in the Parking Lot.
17.Thorough cleaning and disinfecting by cleaning crew after every service.
18. Cleaning service disinfects narthex, nave, altar, pews, bathroom, door handles, and all other surfaces. should be opened during and after services to allow fresh air into the building

General Policies and Notes

1. We follow strictly the more restrictive of directives from the Archdiocese.
2. We follow CDC-recommended best practices.
3. The State of Ohio advising for responsible social distancing. Bishop Anthony has permitted us to have up to 25% of the Church Capacity at services, at the pastor and P.C. discretion.
4. We will start on June 07, 2020, with 40 parishioners participating physically in the Liturgy, on a sign-up basis. That would allow us to accommodate 160 communicants per month in this first phase of our reopening. Also, we will invite people to schedule appointments to come for Communion individually.
5. We will continue live streaming Sunday and Feastday services.
6. We will keep the church closed for Saturday vespers.
7. No admittance to the lower level.
8. Coffee hour and all non-liturgical gatherings are not to resume at this point. Organizational meetings, Bible studies, etc., will continue by calling or Zooming with Fr. John.
9. People will be required to register themselves and their households for a service at least 12 hours in advance.
10. Admission will be by prior reservation only. Ushers will need to be ready to admit parishioners 15 minutes before the start of service. The ushers on duty will open doors (so parishioners don’t need to touch any doorknobs or other surfaces). They will stop opening doors 10 minutes after the scheduled start of Liturgy.
11. We will ask people to be courteous and to schedule themselves for no more than one service per month.
12. Elderly, infirm, diabetics and those who have asthma, heart conditions, or any chronic illness will be strongly advised NOT to come to Liturgy but to participate via Livestream services and then to schedule an appointment to come and partake of Holy Communion. We will not think less of anyone uncomfortable coming to church at present.
13. Parishioners who have children that they can’t control, who might run around and touch surfaces, will be advised to participate via Livestream services and then to schedule an appointment to come and partake of Holy Communion
14. Parishioners are asked to stay home if they are ill or exhibiting symptoms (even symptoms of a common cold), have tested positive for the coronavirus, or been exposed within the last 14 days to someone who has tested positive.
15. Parishioners should be informed that they will be screened upon entry for a fever, will be asked if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who has, and will be strongly urged to wear face masks at all times while inside the church building, except when partaking of communion. Clergy and chanters, however, will not be wearing masks during the service. Anyone who has a fever, is exhibiting other symptoms, or who does not pass the screening questions, will be asked to leave the church.
16. People will be instructed to bring their face masks from home.
17. Announcements should be made and signage posted in the narthex asking those who feel sick or have a fever to stay home and asking everyone to observe proper hygiene practices – no hugging, handshakes, or kissing, proper handwashing, cough/sneeze into the shoulder, etc.
18. Every other row of pews should be marked off-limits, and ushers should remind families that they should leave at least four seats of space in between their family and any other family in the same row of chairs. A maximum of two families should sit in the center rows at a time, and one family in the side pews to avoid the prospect of someone excusing themselves past another family.
19.No collection baskets will be passed. People will be directed to the donation box at the candle stand for their tithes and offerings.
20. Ushers should wear gloves. Others may also do so.
21. The faithful should be highly encouraged to wear face-coverings. The celebrant should not wear a face covering while serving but should consider doing so at all other times.
22. Bulletins handed out by gloved usher.
23. Service books will be removed from pews.
24. Hand sanitizer must be available at the entrances for the faithful to use upon entering the church.
25. Services are to be conducted by one celebrant (without a second priest or deacon), one altar server, and two chanters –one standing on each side of the sole. Due to the recent research about the spread of the virus through singing, we will not proceed with choirs yet.
26. The church may be open for individual prayer by appointment or posted times.
27. Sacraments and funerals may be served with no more than the allowed number of persons in addition to the clergy at a time. Funerals are highly recommended to be done in funeral homes or at the gravesite due to the difficulty of regulating crowd sizes.
28. We will continue to offer Communion according to our Tradition, but all should allow the priest to pour the Body and Blood by opening their mouths wide and not closing their lips on the spoon.
29. An usher will be assigned to direct people in line for Communion or Antidoron (Blessed Bread) spaced appropriately. Tape could be placed on the floor to further help with spacing.
30. The priest will cleanse his hands periodically through services – especially right before “Holy Things are for the Holy” and once again before giving Communion to the faithful.
31. Antidoron (Blessed Bread) should be given by the priest or a server – either of whom must wear a plastic glove. The priest may wear a face covering to hand out antidoron and greet the faithful after the service.
32. The entire church should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before (or after) every service.