UPDATE AS OF 03/13/2020, 4:25PM
The following services will be held:
Saturday, March 14 @ 5:00 PM – Celtic Eucharist
Sunday, March 15 @ 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM – Sunday Holy Eucharist
After Sunday Services on March 15, the Cathedral will be closed and no classes or meetings will be held. Morning Prayer services will be live streamed on the St. Stephen’s Facebook Page . Follow us on Facebook for further updates.
We are in the midst of a season marked by illnesses like influenza and now Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Cathedral Church of St. Stephen is responding by:
- Diminishing fear with knowledge, in order to encourage preparation and to decrease stigma.
- Maintaining continuity and continuing our worship, in the case of potential quarantine and disruption.
- Showing compassion and care to those in our communities who are affected.
Mindful of the well-being of our members and visitors, especially those with compromised immune systems, St. Stephen’s is already doing these things:
- We will continue with Sunday services until we are told not to. We encourage you to continue your regular pattern worship, as this strengthens our community and uplifts our spirits. We also encourage you to allow some physical space (3-5 feet) between yourselves and your neighbors in church.
- We have discontinued shaking hands for sanitary reasons. We encourage greeting one another and sharing the Peace in ways that do not involve physical contact. Gentle bows, elbow bumps, and peace signs are all acceptable.
- Ushers will not pass the offering plate to people sitting in pews. Offering plates will be held by ushers for receiving offerings.
- All communion ministers (clergy and lay eucharistic ministers) will wash their hands with soap and hot water before services and will use an antibacterial hand sanitizer before serving Holy Communion.
- We serve bread and gluten-free wafers from the altar rail during Holy Communion. The Episcopal Church teaches that the full grace of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is conferred in each element – that is through both the consecrated bread and wine. To receive only the bread is not to receive “half communion.” Receiving in one kind is to fully partake in the Eucharistic feast.
- We serve consecrated wine from a silver chalice at the altar rail during Holy Communion. Those wishing to receive wine may do so. At this time, intinction (or dipping) of wafers in the cup is performed by the chalice minister only. Communicants may also sip from the chalice, and the minister will wipe the cup after each use. Please do not receive wine if you show any signs of contagious illness (fever or coughing).
- We follow CDC recommendations by taking normal flu precautions. (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm)
Those who show signs of contagious illness (sneezing, coughing, fever…) should consider staying home to rest and recover fully, notifying clergy if you need prayer.
- If quarantine becomes an issue, we will find ways to live stream our services.
- We will continue to do God’s work in Harrisburg and hope you will continue to support the mission. Online giving options are available through your bank (arranging for an EFT is fairly easy) and through the St. Stephen’s website (https://ststep.org/how-we-serve-god/).
- We ask everyone to be extra vigilant in checking with on each other to make sure all may receive the care they need.
In addition to these, we ask that everyone be mindful of the ways everyone is treated in our extended communities.
Be aware of the rise of anti-Asian bias. Be prepared to counter such fear-based scapegoating with kindness and facts. China is not to blame for this virus. People of Asian heritage are no more likely to be infected than other groups. You can find more information regarding the coronavirus by visiting CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
Our friends and neighbors who have loved ones in areas that have been hard hit by the virus are carrying an extra burden of worry for those friends or family. Please be aware of these concerns and offer your support and care.
People working in hourly jobs without paid sick leave may not be able to stay home from work if they are sick. If you are in a supervisory role or have a position of influence in a workplace, please advocate for financial consideration to make good health possible for all.
Some persons may be afraid to seek medical care for fear of consequences. If you are in relationship with such persons, you might offer to accompany them to a health care provider as a kind supporter.
Together we can continue to build a loving community in which we proclaim salvation to the world.