Updated Guidelines for the Diocese of New York and New Jersey,
On the Continuing Re-Opening of Our Churches, Missions, and Chapels
Thanks be to Almighty GOD for His faithfulness and His countless blessings! Truly it is fitting that during this joy-filled season between Holy Pascha and Pentecost, when the Risen Lord and His disciples rejoiced in His victory over death, so too does our Diocesan family rejoice in the triumph of communion and community over isolation and fear. We reach out with love and care to those who have yet to return in person to their parishes. We commend into the loving Lord’s hands all those whom this pandemic has claimed. And, we pledge – Archbishop, clergy, and laity – to pour ourselves into the continuing reopening of our churches, missions, and chapels, as lighthouses of hope to all who have endured the painful journey of the pandemic.
As has been widely publicized, updated recommendations have been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Essentially, the CDC recommends that masks and social distancing need no longer be mandated for those persons who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The State of New York has announced that, effective Wednesday, May 19, fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to wear masks or to be socially distanced in most settings. Most indoor capacity restrictions have been lifted in New York State. Social distancing is still required by New York State for venues that are following the CDC guidelines, where unvaccinated persons are in attendance.
Throughout the Diocese: The clergy and faithful are to respect the personal choices of their parish community members concerning the reception of the COVID-19 vaccine. Each adult and each parent must discern whether to receive or to have their children receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and whether to continue to wear a mask, vaccinated or not. As your father in Christ, I sincerely beg you to recognize that the “vaccinated” or “unvaccinated” status of any individual or group is not, and is not to become, a source of division, criticism, or indiscriminate discussion in the Church. The Church is a hospital, where health and healing are valued goals for everyone. Respect, love, and support are essential tools of Christian service in furthering those goals for every member of the parish family.
These Guidelines are issued with profound gratitude to God for His mercy and many blessings, and to all the faithful of our Diocese for their steadfast faithfulness during this unprecedented time of crisis. It is my sincere hope that the coming summer season will bring a great restoration of communion and community, which the evil one has sought to destroy during these past fourteen difficult months. As we look forward to the revival of summer barbecues, sports events, church camps, and family celebrations, may our hearts echo the triumphant Resurrectional cry still ringing forth in our beloved churches: “Christ is Risen!”
With my humble prayers, archpastoral blessing and sincere love,
Archbishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey
UPDATED GUIDELINES OF ST. BASIL’S CHURCH, WATERVLIET, NY
MAY 31, 2021
- There will no longer be a sign-up sheet.
- Face masks are optional for those who are vaccinated. It is recommended that those who are not vaccinated wear a face mask for their own protection and safety.
- Social distancing will still be practiced in accord with CDC guidelines where unvaccinated individuals are in attendance.
- Persons 65 years and older, persons with medical conditions that increase susceptibility to COVID-19, and particularly persons in these groups who are not fully vaccinated should continue to exercise caution with respect to wearing masks at church and being socially distanced,
- Children may or may not wear a face mask at their parental or guardian’s discretion.
- Holy Communion, antidoron and zapivka will be distributed in the normal manner of the Orthodox Church. The spoon will no longer be sanitized.
- Kissing the icons, cross, etc. is now permitted. If you are uncomfortable at this time to resume kissing the icons, you may continue to just bow to them.
- You may light your own candles.
- Confession will no longer be heard by phone or other social media but in church only as usual. Social distancing will continue to be practiced during Confession.
- The church and hall will be sanitized once a week instead of after every use.
11. Persons at parish coffee hours and fellowship events may serve themselves food and beverages.
12. At parish coffee hours and other fellowship and fund-raising activities, social distancing will continue to be maintained as noted in previous Diocesan directives and guidelines.
St. Vladimir's Seminary is celebrating 2021 as "The Year of Schmemann," the 100th anniversary of the birth of Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983). Fr. Alexander, former Dean of SVS, was one of the most foremost of theologians, scholars, writers, professors, lecturers, missionaries, ecumenists, church and spiritual leaders of the 20th century. His writings and influence will continue for the ages. Visit St. Vladimir's Seminary website www.svots.edu to listen to some rare recordings of Fr. Alexander. See also two recent publications of SVS Press: "A Voice for Our Time Vol. 1," a translation of broadcasts made by Fr. Alexander over Radio Liberty, and "On Christian Leadership: The Letters of Alexander Schmemann and Georges Florovsky 1947-1955." Visit St. Vladimir's Seminary website for more information about celebrations planned in memory of the legacy of Fr. Alexander. May the memory of Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann be eternal! (Photo courtesy of St. Vladimir's Seminary)
Confessions are currently not being heard before or after services because of COVID precautionary procedures. Confessions are heard at this time by appointment only. They may be heard in person in the church or by Zoom (or FaceTime, etc.) or by telephone. When confessions are heard in church, the penitent and I sit at opposite ends of the pew and maintain social distancing. There is complete privacy. Please call me to make an appointment when you would like to go to Confession. Remember, Holy Communion and Holy Confession are two separate Mysteries of the Church. If for whatever reason you are uncomfortable to receive Holy Communion at this time, there is no reason to deprive yourself of the grace of Holy Confession. ~ Fr. Peter
St. Basil's Orthodox Church is a Christian community of people from various ethnic and social backgrounds sharing a common commitment to the Lord, each other, and the Apostolic Faith. We warmly welcome all families, couples, and individuals who are looking for a deeper experience of the salvation offered in Jesus Christ. Come and see!
His Eminence Archbishop Michael of NY and NJ
We encourage you to visit the official website of the Diocess of NY and NJ, www.nynjoca.org
It includes information about the Diocese, the Bishop’s schedule, “Lessons in Our Faith,” a series of highly recommended videos of instructional talks given by His Grace Archbishop Michael on matters of faith, belief, and the teachings of the Church, and the on-line edition of the Diocesan publication “Jacob’s Well.”
Capital District OCF meets every Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm at the home of Priest Matthew Markewich, 213 Sunset Ave, Ballston Spa NY 12020. Contact James Boffa at 862-485-9955 or Fr. Matthew Markewich at 518-212-7845 for further information. Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend! It is suggested that you call ahead before attending in case the location of a meeting is changed.