June 29, 2020 UPDATE:

Dear ones,

As you know, our In-Person Worship Task Force has been hard at work these past few weeks implementing our plan and then evaluating and re-evaluating based on feedback from our volunteers and service attendees. In our meeting this past Monday, one thing was clear to me: it takes a lot of work to make worship happen from week to week! The precautions we are called to take in order to help keep one another as safe as possible while still trying to create a meaningful worship experience requires a great deal of time and effort. I am grateful to all of our volunteers and staff who are contributing to making in-person worship a possibility for our parish. It is truly a labor of love!

In our meeting this past Monday, our task force decided to tweak some things based on your feedback and the feedback provided by our volunteers and to send out some reminders and recommendations:

  • Starting in July and going through August, we will follow a pattern of Holy Eucharist on 1st and 3rd Sundays and Morning Prayer (with homily) on 2nd 4th, and 5th Sundays. While in an ideal world many of us would prefer to have weekly Eucharists, set-up for Eucharist services is a big undertaking at this time, especially for our altar guild. The best way we can care for them and honor their ministry is to follow this schedule for the time being.  
  • The restroom by the flower guild room will be open during the 8 o’clock service. The upstairs restrooms will be open at 10:30. If you need to use our restroom facilities, please be sure to practice proper hand hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap and water and visiting the hand sanitizer station outside of the restroom before returning to worship. 
  • Please remember to RSVP to Bart Cousins (bartoncousins@me.com) by NOON on Friday if you plan to attend one of our in-person services. (This includes people who are slated to serve.) Our altar guild needs to know how many to prepare for. In addition, we have limited space for the indoor service. It makes VPODs, ushers, and the rector nervous when we have a full slate of RSVPs, and extra people begin to come in.  None of us wants to be the “bad guy” and turn people away— especially people who RSVP’d. Moving forward, if we have 40 RSVPs, then out of respect for those who reserved a spot, we will ask people who arrive without RSVPing to wait outside on “standby” until the prelude begins. Then, if seats are available, we will admit those on “standby.” And please remember, our 8 o’clock outdoor service is a great option, and our online services are an even better option in terms of safety. 
  • As the 4th of July holiday approaches and vacation season continues, please remain mindful of any high-risk activities you may have participated in. If you feel that you’ve been in a high-risk situation (large crowds, no distancing or masks) or you’ve visited a “hot spot,” out of care for your fellow parishioners, please consider refraining from in-person attendance for two weeks and join our online worship service. And, of course, if you know that you have been exposed or have tested positive and have had direct contact with parishioners or staff, please notify us so that we can take appropriate safeguarding measures for the health of our congregation and community. Please be assured that confidentiality will be maintained, and we will do our best to provide any support we can. 

Finally, thanks to our in-person worship task force for the thought and time they continue to put into this work. These are challenging times, and the decisions are difficult. Each time we meet, I am impressed by their dedication, their prayerful and collaborative spirit, and their wisdom and perspective. Please continue to keep me, Bart Cousins, Sam French, Doug Overbey, Gretchen Prisock, Louise Stevenson, and Tamra Turberville in your prayers. And if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Peace,
Amy+

June 9, 2020 UPDATE:

To accommodate as many people as possible within the constraints of the ongoing pandemic, we will be offering two morning services and an afternoon online video of the service. Regardless of which in-person service you wish to attend, an RSVP to Bart Cousins is required. Please email him as soon as possible and indicate which service you wish to attend and how many people will be in attendance. 

8:00 am Outside Service: 

  1. The location will be under the shade of the giant tree at the backside of the church, facing the outside altar.
  2. We highly encourage you to bring your own seating (lawn chairs, blankets, etc) as our outside-available chairs are limited in number. Should you need a little help in the seating department, please let Bart know when you email your RSVP.
  3. The restrooms, office, library, and nursery all remain closed. Plan ahead before leaving home.
  4. All in attendance will wear a mask. There will be a supply of disposable masks available for those who did not bring one to the service.

10:30 am Great Hall Service: 

  1. Seating at this service is very limited due to the social distancing requirements and space constraints. 
  2. The restrooms, office, library, and nursery all remain closed. Plan ahead before leaving home.
  3. All in attendance will wear a mask. There will be a supply of disposable masks available for those who did not bring one to the service.

We hope to accommodate everyone’s preferred service. If you are unable to attend an in-person worship service, we will post a video of the service to Vimeo (www.vimeo.com/user110319651) and Facebook Live at 3:00 pm (www.facebook.com/StAndrewsMaryville). 

May 29, 2020 UPDATE:

Dear parishioners,

As much as we all would like to join each other in worship at St. Andrew’s, we know that this is not possible for all. At this point in time, we want to offer a variety of ways for people to live out their faith and to respond to the options they are being presented faithfully. We understand that there are many for whom a faithful response is not worshipping in person at this time. We are going to do our utmost to make sure we are continuing to meet those needs.

Over the past few weeks, a committee has been working to come up with a plan to expand our options of worship. Following the guidelines of the state and Diocese of East Tennessee, we have come up with a plan that allows us to offer the option of in-person worship. To view the full plan click HERE.

We realize that this is not a risk-free option, but we are taking all of the precautions that we can to ensure it is as safe as it can be. It is for those who have weighed the risk and chosen to worship in-person. We are presenting multiple options and you and your family need to choose the option that is best for you.

Some things of note if you choose to attend in-person worship beginning May 31st at 10:30:

  1. The Great Hall and the elevator are the only parts of the building that will be in use. The restrooms will not be open. The service will be short. Plan ahead before leaving home.
  2. In order to safely arrange the Great Hall, we request that you please let us know by contacting Bart Cousins HERE if you intend to attend on May 31st.
  3. All in attendance will wear a mask. There will be a supply of disposable masks available for those who did not bring one to the service.

As we move forward during this uncertain time, please know that how you choose to worship and live out your faith will be respected.

March 15, 2020 UPDATE:

As a precautionary measure we will be closing the church office as well as ALL church activities until April 5th. If you have any questions, concerns, or pastoral needs please feel free to email the church office, or call or text one of us at the following numbers:

Fr. John Dukes- (770) 356-1958
Louise Stevenson- (352) 262-6306
Adam Wilson- (423) 715-7055

We will be sending out periodic updates during this time. Please let us know if you have any questions.

March 14, 2020 UPDATE:

Following the directive of our Bishop and out of deep concern for our friends and neighbors, I along with your wardens and in consultation with members of the vestry have decided that the Sunday Morning and Wednesday Noon services will be canceled for the next three weeks.  The Lenten Wednesday evening gathering will also be suspended. Family Promise will also be rescheduled. Hopefully, this health crisis will be under control by then and we can resume our normal schedule.   

Normal office hours will be maintained and so will communication.  Please know that if there are any pastoral concerns let the church office know and appropriate action will be taken. 

Finally, let me encourage everyone to be even more vigilant in your prayers for each other and the world.  These are unusual times and so we should be resolved in our trust in God and in our faith that all, in the end, will be well.

Yours In Christ,

John

Please read the following statement from Bishop Cole.

Dear East Tennessee Friends,

When St. Paul wrote to the Christian community in Philippi, he did so with thanks even as he was imprisoned. I write to you today with thanks even in the midst of the storm of the COVID-19 outbreak in our country and across the globe. As the facts on the ground have changed daily and hourly, I write to you now, hoping that this letter will remain helpful to you in uncertain days ahead.

As Christians, we are a body and we cannot say we have no need of each other. As the Body of Christ, we are called to care for the least of these, to help those who have no help, to look out for the most vulnerable, to bear each other’s burdens, to be for each other. It is not enough to know that I am currently healthy and whole. I also am touched by anyone in my community who is suffering and broken.

With the current facts on the ground as we know them from public health officials and medical experts working to combat the worst impacts from COVID-19I humbly ask you to forego gathering for large public worship, meetings, and social events in our churches for the next two weeks as an act of keeping faith with those friends and neighbors in East Tennessee who are most vulnerable to this virus. I realize you may choose to gather this Sunday and then begin a two week suspension after the 15th.  It would be my hope and prayer that large public worship would resume on Sunday, April 5th for Palm Sunday.

As Episcopalians, our common life together in prayer is vital to who we understand ourselves to be. The Diocesan website has a variety of ways for us to maintain connections of prayer. I would commend those resources to you, which are attached to this letter.

This also is a time to pray for a renewed sense of creativity and imagination. In the days ahead, how the Church offers pastoral care may change for some time in order to protect against the spread of the virus. So, we may bring back older ways of maintaining connection, such as phone trees and handwritten letters mailed to the most vulnerable and elderly. In maintaining social distance in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, we do not want to create gaps in care and concern for each other.

I understand that this potential outbreak will have impacts upon our parish communities in ways that we have not yet anticipated. Our Diocesan leadership is now making plans to stay connected to every parish and worshipping community to hear how our communities bear this and how we can best be present and for each other in this time. At the end of this outbreak, we will want to be able to say that during this Lent we did not give up on each other even as our common life required us to stretch together in new and potentially painful ways.

If you discern that it remains appropriate for to hold services in your particular parish setting, I urge you to follow the guidelines attached to this letter.

On Ash Wednesday, we were all invited to keep a season of a holy Lent, which included “prayer, fasting, and self-denial…” Today, what it means to pray and fast and practice self-denial has a new and more profound meaning for me.

Peace,

+ Brian