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Updates from the Diocesan Restart Team: Communion Outdoors on Pentecost 2021

Revision to In-Person Outdoor Worship Guidelines

After consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, the Restart Committee is revising the space requirements published in guidelines released April 12.  Rather than requiring 10 feet of space between persons at outdoor services, the new guideline requires 10 feet of space per person for unvaccinated individuals. Six feet of distance is required between each vaccinated person or pod of vaccinated individuals. Read the updated guidelines.

Requirements for Outdoor Communion on Pentecost, May 23

Congregations must have an approved plan for outdoor services. All tracking and reservations, masking, distancing of a congregation’s previously approved Phase 3 plan remain in effect, as does the requirement regarding Designated Health Officers.

The worship service and the consecration of the bread and wine must proceed in accordance with approved Phase 3 requirements.

The priest’s hands should be washed and/or sanitized thoroughly before the Great Thanksgiving. Bread or wafers may be distributed. Wine may not be distributed using an open chalice. Individual containers such as the True Vine chalice for bread and wine are acceptable. 

The Restart Team offers three options for distribution of consecrated bread or True Vine chalices at an in-person outdoor service. If a congregation is offering a hybrid service, allowing people to join online, previously consecrated elements should be made available to them prior to the service.

Option One: elements consecrated during service, communicants receive from priest

Following the Fraction and the offering, each communicant or family pod comes forward separated by at least six feet to receive from the priest. The priest and communicants remain masked. The priest gives the communicant the consecrated elements and, saying the usual words, drops the elements in the hands of the communicant. The communicant returns to their seat (which is properly distanced) and removes their mask to consume communion.

Option Two: elements consecrated during service, communicants pick up from table

Following the Fraction and the offering, the priest carries the consecrated elements to a table at the back of the worship area and sets out the elements spaced apart on the table. The priest retires and the communicants individually go to the table and pick up their elements, remaining properly spaced. While remaining distanced, communicants remove their masks briefly and consume. Note, it could take quite a little bit of time for the priest to lay out the elements on the table.

Option Three: elements consecrated and set out on table prior to service

In this option the priest has consecrated the elements in advance of the service and has placed them on the table, also in advance of the service. At the appointed time, communicants individually go to the table and pick up their elements, remaining properly spaced. At the appointed time, while remaining distanced, they remove their masks briefly and consume.

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