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Church Reopening Plan

In support of growing eagerness and impatience of many to gather anew, and respecting the options for phased reopening set forth by our mayor and bishop, St. Columba's proposes the following plan for re-opening our church, while prioritizing health and safety for the greatest number of people.

♦ We will offer online access to worship indefinitely and will slowly offer opportunities for small in-person gatherings for those who so desire. 

♦ We will reconsider our approaches to serving food and caring for neighbors so that we can be true to our call to serve. 

♦ We will accommodate DC-mandated changes in the Nursery School to meet the critical developmental needs of our youngest and support young working families.

Worship

In coming weeks, St. Columbans will have two ways to worship together –

Online Sunday worship at StColumbas.online.church (and anytime on St. Columba's YouTube channel) and Weekday Morning Prayer will be offered for the foreseeable future. Every parishioner can participate and we can share the Good News near and far.

  • While the response has been positive, we’re continually looking to improve your worship experience.
  • Zoom coffee hour is now offered on Sunday mornings at 11 am (Summer schedule). See your weekly eNews for call-in instructions.

“House Church” will launch next week; groups of up to twenty meeting outside in parishioner’s yards with prayers, sermon, and pre-consecrated Eucharist. 

  • Flexible format so you can adapt as the Spirit moves you
  • Observe St. Columba’s Safety Protocols – SCSP – as noted in sidebar
  • Stay tuned for your invitation to participate

“Courtyard Church” and “Open for Prayer” are under consideration for future launch

  • We’re exploring options to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with a set number of people in the Courtyard and/or having the Church Nave open at set times for personal prayer

Fellowship, Learning and Discipleship

A steadily growing number of parishioners are committed to deepening relationships and faith through Bible studies, prayer circles, book groups, and more. Three options for participation are available at this time – 

Online gatherings continue in abundance 

  • Opportunities are updated regularly on our website
  • Let us know if you need assistance setting up, hosting, or participating in online gatherings

In-person “off campus” – Check-in groups and the Mothers’ Group are among those hosting small gatherings in parishioner’s yards. Hooray! For these and all subsequent in-person St. Columba gatherings please observe strict safety protocols.

  • Observe SCSP – as noted in sidebar

In-person “on campus” – Small groups may meet in person at St. Columba’s when doing so is vital for those involved. 

  • Courtyard, playground, Great Hall, or meeting rooms may be available, some outfitted for a mix of in-person and on-line participants
  • All gatherings at St. Columba’s must be scheduled in advance with Operations Manager, Tony Kittrell
  • Observe SCSP – as noted in sidebar

Serving Others

Serving and caring for others is central to our calling and practice as followers of Christ. Our new initiative to end family homelessness in the District of Columbia is underway in partnership with Housing Up. The early generous response to our request to raise $30k in 30 Days for 30 Families is simply awesome; thank you! Given the safety precautions needed and the advanced age of a majority of those who currently serve as hosts, it is untenable for us to re-open the Water Ministry at this time. We are reimagining how to align the intention of our hearts with the needs of our neighbors. If you want to help please contact Missioner for Community Outreach, Cami Caudill to be connected with our ministries in need of your assistance. 

  • Financial assistance is available to those in need through the rector’s discretionary fund, with thanks to those who have contributed recently and in the past. 

Pastoral Rites and Visits

Love and care for one another, especially in seasons of need or rejoicing, is at the heart of our life as disciples of Christ. If you are having a hard time and would like prayers, conversation with a fellow parishioner, or to speak with a priest, please contact our pastoral team

  • For the safety of all concerned, we will continue to limit pastoral visits to those that can take place outdoors. 
  • To arrange small gatherings for a baptism, marriage, funeral or burial, please contact a clergy member. 

Nursery School

We’ve prioritized opening the Nursery School for full enrollment. The developmental needs of young children and the support of young families makes this paramount. New restrictions limit class size and mandate physical distance for all schools and daycare programs in the District. To welcome every child, we are repurposing some of the 2nd floor rooms for use by the Nursery School for the coming academic year.

Gratitude & Generosity; Stewardship & Finances

While we long for the day we can be back “at church”, this season is a reminder that the church is us; we are the church, dispersed across the region and beyond. Thank you for being the church and thank you for your sacrificial generosity in support of St. Columba’s ministry. Thanks to you we are continually finding new ways to Live God’s Love.

  • If you are in a position to increase your giving to St. Columba’s, please do so. Many are struggling and you can make a difference. 
  • If you are experiencing economic challenges and need to reduce your giving, please notify Bronwyn Roy or Karen Sprague so we can be responsible stewards and adjust our budget accordingly. And of course, if you fall into economic hardship, please let me know so that we might assist you. 
  • If you have not yet made an annual pledge and are inspired to do so, now is the time! Pledge here.

Important Links

St. Columba's Reopening Message (From the Rector's Desk, July 7, 2020)
St. Columba's Proposed Re-entry Plan