Skip to main content
#
 
our facebook page
Our Site Map
Google
All Services will be Live Streamed on our Facebook Page

Friends,

Due to the spread of the Coronavirus, the Bishop of our Diocese has suspended public services in all the Episcopal Churches in Alaska for two weeks, at least. Below is his letter

But even though our doors are closed temporarily, our hearts and minds are open and we regularly pray for all who are affected.

We are live-streaming our services on our Facebook page

     Sunday morning worship - 10:30 AM

     Wednesday evening Compline - 8:00 PM

     Wednesday evening Bedtime Stories - 8:30 PM

     Noonday prayers, Monday - Friday at Noon

Please join in our worship opportunities.

If you need to reach us, our phone number is: 907-456-5235... follow the prompts to leave a voice message for the Parish Administrator or the Rector (Priest).

Love God, Love Your Neighbor...Practice Kindness, it's contagious...

and... Wash your Hands.

We will return to our regular worship when it is safe to do so.

****************************************************************************************************

However, this ONLY applies if social distancing guidelines are strictly enforced.

*************************************************************************************************************

The Right Reverend Mark Lattime

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska

1205 Denali Way, Fairbanks, AK  99701

A Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Alaska

April 24, 2020

To Christ’s beloved in the Diocese of Alaska,

Alleluia!  Christ is risen.

I write to you in the hope and joy of the resurrection of Christ.  We are an Easter people: raised with Christ by the water of baptism and knit together in an abiding fellowship through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I give thanks for this fellowship and the hope that continues to sustain us during this period of physical isolation. 

This week, the Governor announced amendments to the current Public Health Mandates.  These amendments ease some of the social distancing and gathering restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.  While the amendments are intended to allow the phased reopening of businesses in Alaska, it was also reported that the amendments would permit limited physical gathering by churches and faith groups—20 or fewer with strict adherence to social distancing, masks, and CDC guidelines for hygiene and sanitation.   

Despite these amendments, I do not support the wholesale return to public worship in the Diocese of Alaska at this time.  

While these amendments may allow space for congregations to respond to specific pastoral needs, there are too many variables, potential exposure concerns and risks that need to be considered before a return to our previous patterns of gathering for worship and fellowship.  In fact, our congregations should prepare for the reality that we may never return to our previous patterns of gathering.  This is not to say that our traditions, liturgies, and fellowship will be abandoned, only that we must be prepared for doing these things in new ways that are welcoming to all while also mitigating health risks, especially to the most vulnerable among us. 

Anticipating this future time when we will again gather in our church buildings and communities, every congregation should be discussing plans for what a return to public worship and ministry will look like for their community. While it is the responsibility of Vestries, Church Councils, Church Committees, Tribal Leadership, and Clergy to lead this work, every member of the community should take part as able.  Our ability to move forward toward returning to our church buildings for worship and fellowship depends on the work we do planning.  I urge you to begin now.

Risk of transmission of illness will always be a part of community life—there is no way for a community to plan for zero risk.  However, with thoughtful planning, communities can greatly reduce risks to public health.     

I will certainly take into consideration the information and guidance provided by our Chief Medical Officer and Public Health Professionals; however, the Diocese of Alaska will decide when it is appropriate to begin gathering again. Consistent with my leadership style, I will arrive at these decisions with input from our communities. As we have a very broad range of communities and contexts in this diocese, we know that ‘one size’ does not fit all.  Therefore, some congregations will have longer timelines, more complex plans, and further requirements before public gatherings can happen; while in other communities, limited and modified forms of gatherings could be possible sooner and with less planning. But for now, we need to continue the work of asking questions, envisioning adaptations, and planning for the possible.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

In the Love of Christ Jesus,

(The Rt. Rev.) Mark Lattime, 8th Bishop of Alaska

PS: I have included a list of some planning questions to help you and your congregation. 

 

A few Questions to Start Conversation

This is NOT a comprehensive list.  It is intended to start conversations about planning for the future and public gatherings.

  1. If it is possible to gather in our buildings provided that physical distancing is required (6ft), how would you plan or organize for that restriction?
  2. What hygiene supplies or personal protective gear (masks) would you provide if at all?
  3. What if your worship gathering is initially limited to a number of people that is fewer than your average attendance? 
  4. What adjustments will you make to the liturgy, the distribution of Holy Communion, baptisms, and your choir ministry?  What are the “boundaries” imposed by Episcopal Tradition, Doctrine, and Discipline?
  5. Is a physical “pass the plate” offering a thing of the past?  How might the risk be mitigated with the Offering of gifts at the altar?  What are other creative solutions?  Who would be omitted by these solutions?
  6. How will you sanitize and sterilize your church building? In real time?
  7. Are you going to continue offering children’s church? What changes or adaptations would be required if social distancing remains necessary?
  8. Are you going to continue hosting special events? Outside activities? Non-parish meetings? What accommodations or restrictions will these require?
  9. Will you continuing to provide coffee hour/meals/adult education/Fellowship time?
  10. Will you continue offering virtual online worship after public worship returns?
  11. Will door greeters do their jobs differently, or at all?  Will you distribute weekly bulletins?
  12. Because people may return very slowly to church, how will you count attendance and effectiveness?  How will you re-engage or invite people back?
  13. Should you add and/or shorten worship services to allow for social distancing?  More services so the numbers are smaller?
  14. Will you reopen the doors of your church with a “worship only” strategy?
  15. What is your financial plan for possible loss of offerings and gifts?
  16. Should you be investing in new digital equipment right now?
  17. Many have identified the opportunity for evangelism through the outreach of online worship during this period of social isolation.  How will you develop this ministry?  What opportunities exist for serving these individuals?  For formation? 

Site Mailing List 
OUR MISSION: We the people of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Fairbanks, Alaska receive God's love and are becoming a warm and loving community who share that love with ALL God's Children.

Regular Sunday Services: 8:00 AM & 10:30 AM 

Wednesday Services (Sept. - May):

7:00 PM Evening Eucharist & Healing Prayers

8:00 PM - Compline streamed live on our Facebook Page

Office Hours:  Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church

1030 2nd Avenue
Fairbanks, Alaska  99701
Phone# 907-456-5235

Entrance to the Church itself is on 1st Avenue through the wooden doors.

For pastoral emergencies please call 907-456-5235 ext. 6.

Contact: coordinator@stmatthewschurch.org
for all your comments and suggestions for this site. Thank you!

Copyright 2001-2020
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
All Rights Reserved