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Be safe at congregational worship

worshipAs Virginia’s reopening continues, churches, synagogues and mosques are reopening their doors – and that’s good for seniors who’ve been self-quarantining for months.

Seeing and talking in person with friends from your congregation is good for psychosocial and mental health. So is the sense of joining them in connecting to a higher power.

But if you’re over 65, you’re still at higher risk of Coronavirus infection.

That’s why it pays to make sure your place of worship and you yourself are following the CDC’s Guidelines for Communities of Faith.

 

Specifically:

  • Do they have enough soap and/or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol? Tissues for covering sneezes and coughs? No-touch trashcans for hygienically disposing of used tissues?
  • Will you be wearing a cloth facemask? Will your congregation have enough on hand for worshippers who aren’t?
  • Are they stepping up their schedule of routine cleaning and disinfection? Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared items between each use? Are they locking away items that can’t be easily sanitized or disinfected?
  • Are they holding services in a large, well-ventilated area – or, better yet, outdoors? Opening windows and doors or turning up the air conditioning and using fans to increase fresh air circulation?
  • Are they limiting the number of participants in services to allow for social distancing? Are they marking physical guides to social distancing or creating one-way routes?
  • Will you bring your own prayer book, hymnal, prayer shawl or prayer rug, or other worship aids – and take them home with you afterwards?
  • Will you avoid handshakes, hugs, kissing and other kinds of physical contact?
  • Will you pass up buffets or family-style meals after conclusion of services?
  • Will you pray at home if you’re not feeling well?

The more of these questions you can answer yes to, the more likely your return to congregational worship will be as good for your body as it is for your soul.

If you have any questions about coping with the Coronavirus outbreak, or your retirement years in general, please feel free to call or email us. Just as we always have, we’ll be happy to give you honest, objective answers.