Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Many in the congregation are asking, “when will the doors of Christ Episcopal Church reopen for public worship?” The answer is June 7, 2020, at least for now. To be very clear: reopening could be delayed by weeks or even months! When open CEC might need to re-close should it be necessary! The live streaming of the Sunday service will continue.
Reopening the church requires reaching several benchmarks. Also, a complex and thorough plan must be designed. Bishop Doyle requires each parish, in the Diocese of Texas, to develop a reopening plan. The plan must follow specific guidelines set forth by the Bishop. Once developed, it needs the approval of the regional bishop: Bishop Ryan.
The reopening will take place in four phases. Bishop Doyle states: “For our purposes phase I is oriented around the work of slowing the spread [of the virus]. Phase II includes lifting of “stay home – work safe” protocols while still prohibiting large groups. Phase III is about returning to work and a regularity of public life. Phase IV is the work of preparing for future pandemics.”
According to Bishop Doyle's guidelines, CEC is in Phase I (Civil governments may be ‘reopening’ areas under their jurisdiction, but the Bishop Diocesan has ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the Episcopal churches of the diocese). Before executing the approved reopening plan, the town and or county where a church is located must be in Phase II.
What are the Phase II benchmarks?