A Message from the Rector: September Beginnings
I find that September is a time of new beginnings. A new school year, the beginning of the weather changing from summer to fall and a time of embracing new patterns in our lives. This September there is an added layer of the continued pandemic and how best to care for our community, ourselves, and our children during this strange time.
I am so grateful for the faithfulness of the St. Paul’s community over the last year and a half. And I also know that it is deeply important for us to be together as a community in Christ, whether that is digitally or in-person. While last September, much of our gathering was online, this September, much of it is in person.
Our community continues to be blessed with many new faces, some of whom started knowing St. Paul’s online. Please continue to play your part welcoming, or welcoming back, everyone into our common life. It is good for us to be together.
Service Schedule Change beginning the weekend of September 11 & 12
Beginning the weekend of September 11 and 12, we will be returning to our pre-pandemic regular weekend worship schedule. For September 11 only, the 6PM service will be in the Parking Lot so that we can wrap up the Pig Roast together. On September 12, our 8AM service will also return to the lower Chapel, and we will move the early service back to 8:45AM. We will continue to worship outside at Old St. Luke’s on Saturdays until it is not feasible due to weather. Here is the schedule below:
- Saturday, 6pm, outside, no music (inside Old St. Luke's if raining)
Old Saint Luke’s Burial Ground (bring your own chair) * In Parking Lot September 11
- Sunday, 8am, Chapel, no music
- Sunday, 8:45am, Sanctuary
Music led by the band with Children’s Chapel during the service
- Sunday, 10:45am, Sanctuary
Music led by organ and choirs
- Wednesday, 11am, Sanctuary
We continue to be aware of creating an environment that mitigates the spread of COVID19.Over the last many months, we have learned a lot about how to do this effectively, and we will continue multi-layered approaches to mitigation, as we prioritize in-person gathering as a community.
We do know that the vaccination rate of members of our community is extremely high. The entire St. Paul’s staff is fully vaccinated. However, there are also many children in our community for whom vaccinations are not yet available. If you have not yet been vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to do so.
Additionally, we will continue to require universal masking, regardless of vaccination status, inside the St. Paul’s building while Allegheny County is at substantial or high community transmission levels as defined by the CDC. Masks are optional at outdoor events. We will also continue to use physically distant seating in the Sanctuary and Chapel, along with the practice delivering communion to the pews. We will also continue not physically sharing the peace.
Our main Sanctuary and Undercroft have enhanced ionization and filtration systems, installed summer 2020, to also mitigate COVID19. Additionally, the Chapel and other classrooms have free standing air filtration systems as well.
Sunday School and Adult Education Programming
Sunday School begins September 19 at 9:45am. Sunday school classes will use larger rooms for classes which will allow children to spread out as a COVID19 mitigation measure. Consequently, we will not have space to have large Adult Forums. Instead, our Spiritual Growth and Formation Commission is developing a series of smaller classes during the Sunday 9:45AM education time, some starting in September and October. Weekday classes, groups and meetings will meet in the St. Margaret’s Tent as much as possible. Please see the website and parish emails for information on all these offerings.
Weekday Access to the Church Building
As the school year resumes for St. Paul’s Nursery School, we will return to using the Mayfair entrance to the church building on weekdays for all church visitors and business. During active school hours, the lower parking lot doors will all be locked. If you need to use the elevator, please let the office know, and we can open the elevator door for you. If the Mayfair door is locked, please ring the doorbell.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you at our Pig Roast on September 11th and for the beginning of our all our programs over the weeks to come. Know that your presence is a blessing to our entire community, and to me as well.
The Reverend Noah H. Evans