Message from Fr. Lawrence
September 30, 2020

My Beloved Flock:

Glory to Jesus Christ. The blessing of the Lord be upon you and yours. I am writing you to let you know that our county (Santa Barbara County) has moved us from the purple to the red tier and that means the restrictions about in-person services in the church building have been relaxed. We can now do indoor services again with up to 55 persons in the church (1/4 capacity of our maximum occupancy of 220).

During this time of our keeping records of attendance (since the pandemic arrived), we have not exceeded this number for any of our Sunday Divine Liturgies. We have, however been close. If we exceed 55, we will open the large doors at the back and have the overflow crowd stand-- safely-spaced with masks-- on the front porch. While I do not anticipate an overage, given the numerous people that are currently not attending (due to health concerns), we will need to obey the restrictions.

If we see that we are exceeding the maximum allowed and the porch will not suffice in the weeks ahead, we will have to move to a rotating system. This will likely be based, alphabetically, on the first letter of your last name. We do not have a large enough parish that we need to divide it into two or more groups. Worst-case scenario, it will mean that once every three weeks, you will attend the on-site, televised, livestream. We do have permission to overflow into the social hall (with mask and distancing restrictions in place)--so even if we have to rotate the membership, you’ll still be able to come and attend the on-site service in the hall and come to the temple to receive Holy Communion.

We have a donation to improve our livestream equipment and are busy working on getting a hard-wired, cable connection for the internet set up into the temple. It will take some time, but, when all is completed, we anticipate having a very high-quality picture and sound conveyed through our livestream.

While we will be acting on a first come, first served basis, there is no need to stay away this Sunday, in deference to others. I do not expect that our numbers will change in a very dramatic way from last Sunday to this Sunday. As I said above, the restrictions of mask wearing, and safe distancing remain in place. We are still very mindful of doing our part to be responsible about stopping the spread of the virus. Still, I think you are probably in agreement with me when I say that we must rejoice at returning to our beautiful temple for the Divine Services.

With Love in Christ,
Fr. Lawrence Russell, Rector