Reopening Information

St. Mark's Reopens for In-Person Worship

As of Sunday, September 13th, St. Mark’s has resumed in-person worship with Sunday services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and Thursday services at 10:00 a.m.

Online services will continue, and will be available on YouTube at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays.

 Please scroll down to learn more about St. Mark’s in-person protocols, online services, and more.

Learn What to Expect

St. Mark’s has released a video which outlines what worship will look like this fall, including in-person services, online services, children’s ministry, and more. 

Watch now to see St. Mark’s new in-person protocols for entering, exiting, and communion in action.

Learn more about in-person protocols below.

 

In-Person Protocols and Changes

Several new health and safety protocols will be in place during St. Mark’s in-person services to help limit the spread of Covid-19.

Below is a descriptive list of St. Mark’s new protocols and changes from typical services. The video located above summarizes these protocols and changes.

Please only come to St. Mark’s if you are comfortable doing so.

General Protocols

Masks
Masks must be worn by everyone attending St. Mark’s in-person services, with no exceptions. Masks must be worn correctly (over the nose and mouth) at all times while inside the building.

Entering & Signing In
Everyone attending St. Mark’s in-person services, including staff and volunteers, must enter through the Northwest Narthex doors. Once inside, all attendees must sign in at the front table, providing contact information.

First Come Basis
St. Mark’s is bound to a strict capacity limit of 50 people within the whole building, including staff and volunteers. Seats will be available on a first come basis, with doors opening at 8:00 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. Eucharist and at 9:45 a.m. for the 10:00 a.m. Choral Eucharist. Doors will close at the service time or once building capacity is met.

Video Recording
Due to the production of online services and and contact tracing efforts, by entering St. Mark’s building you must agree to being video recorded.

Singing
While service music and hymns will be present during the 10:00 a.m. Choral Eucharist on Sundays, congregational singing is not permitted.

Please Remain At Seat
Once inside the church, please remain at your seat unless directed otherwise by a staff member. If you need to use the washroom or exit during the service, please make your way out via the Narthex while social distancing.

Entering the Church

Entering St. Mark’s
Everyone attending St. Mark’s in-person services must enter through the Northwest Narthex doors, including staff and volunteers. 

Signing In
Once inside, all attendees must sign in at the front table, providing information for contact tracing. Additional masks and hand sanitizer will also be available. Please inform the greeter at the table if you will need St. Mark’s elevator or other assistance.

Order of Service
Moving through the Narthex, a second greeter will provide you with a booklet which includes the full order of service (all service books have been removed from the Sanctuary). Following the service, please place your booklet into the provided basket.

Donations
The offertory/donations plate is now located in the upper section of the Narthex, outside the doors to the Sanctuary. Guest envelopes are available near the plate.

Entering Sanctuary
A greeter will meet you at the doors to the Sanctuary. Please do not enter the Sanctuary without a greeter. Please tell the greeter the number of individuals in your group and your preferred pew. We will do our best to accommodate requests on a first come basis.

Please Remain At Seat
Please note that St. Mark’s Sanctuary has been laid out to maximize social distancing. Please do not move from the seating you are assigned unless asked to by a greeter/staff member. If you need to exit the Sanctuary during the service, please do so through the Narthex while social distancing.  

The Peace & Communion

No-Contact Peace
The Peace will be exchanged without any physical contact. Please do not move from seat you have been assigned (you may stand).

Prior to Communion
A greeter will approach your pew and indicate that you may enter the middle aisle in preparation for communion. Please maintain social distancing and leave your mask on.

Sanitize Hands
While making your way to the front, please sanitize your hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available on the sides of the pews.

Communion
Please approach the Celebrant near the Alter rail. Please leave your mask on, and extend your hands to receive the Eucharist in one kind (the Bread). Once you have received the Bread, please move towards the outside wall of the Sanctuary, remove your mask, and eat the bread. Once finished, please put your mask back on and return to your pew using the outside aisle.

If you would prefer a blessing instead of the Eucharist, please indicate this to the Celebrant by crossing your arms. Following the blessing, please return to your pew. 

Please note that the Wine will not be available to the congregation. 

Leaving the Church

During the Service
If you need to leave the Sanctuary during the service, please exit via the Narthex. The back staircase and the Choir doors are emergency exits only. 

After the Service
Please wait until a greeter approaches your pew and indicates that you may exit the Sanctuary via the Narthex. Please maintain social distancing and keep your mask on while exiting the building.

Clergy Visits
If you would like to have a short word with the Clergy, they will be located in the lower Narthex following the service. Please maintain social distance and exit through the Northwest Narthex doors if visiting with Clergy.

If you do not want to meet with Clergy, please exit through the South Narthex doors.

Online Services

St. Mark’s online services will continue, and will now premiere on YouTube at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays. Our weekly online services will be based on our Sunday Choral Eucharist service.

St. Mark’s may experiment with additional services, different times, and new technologies later in the fall if demand is warranted.

Children's Ministry

The Lions Children’s Program will return in a modified form on September 13th during the 10:00 a.m. Choral Eucharist service.

Families attending in-person worship will stay together in pews, and will receive a dedicated family “care package”. The 10:00 a.m. service will feature multiple sections of children’s programming in an effort to keep children engaged throughout the service.

Families watching online will be able to access the same resources included in the “care package”, the online service at 1:00 p.m., and some exclusive videos uploaded to YouTube.

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Where were St. Mark’s reopening protocols developed from?
St. Mark’s reopening protocols and procedures are primarily based on the Diocese of Niagara’s Parish Reopening Guide and local Public Health guidance. St. Mark’s staff, corporation, and Reopening Team all contributed to St. Mark’s reopening protocols.

Will any of St. Mark’s protocols change?
St. Mark’s reopening protocols are subject to change as required by local health officials, St. Mark’s leadership, the Bishop of Niagara, and others. Any changes will be outlined on this web page and sent out via St. Mark’s email list.

Will we need to pre-book seats?
At the present time, St. Mark’s is taking a “first come, first serve” approach, so pre-booking is not required. This approach may change if St. Mark’s is regularly exceeding capacity.

What happens if St. Mark’s has to close again?
St. Mark’s will only remain open if it deemed safe by St. Mark’s leadership, the Bishop of Niagara, and local public health officials. If St. Mark’s does need to close again, St. Mark’s will return to its online format from the Spring/Summer.

Online Services

Why isn’t St. Mark’s live-streaming?
St. Mark’s has chosen to initially record its services instead of live-streaming them for two major reasons. First, live-streaming music has additional copyright considerations for the church. Second, live-streaming is ineffective for many in rural areas due to poor internet connections, something that is less of an issue for pre-uploaded videos. St. Mark’s may expirement further with live-streaming later in the fall.

Will the Thursday service be posted online?
Currently, St. Mark’s does not plan to record and post 10:00 a.m. Thursday services or 8:30 a.m. Sunday Eucharist services. However, this may change if demand is warranted.

When and where will online services be available?
St. Mark’s online services will first be available at 1:00 p.m. on YouTube. Online services will continue to be available on Facebook and saintmark.ca, but at a later time. St. Mark’s may adjust service broadcast times as the fall progresses. 

Children's Ministry

Are St. Mark’s classrooms open?
St. Mark’s classrooms are closed for the foreseeable future, as required by the Diocese of Niagara’s Parish Reopening Plan. The Lions Children’s program continues to operate in a modified form online and from the pews in the Sanctuary.  

Thursday Bible Study

Is St. Mark’s Thursday Bible Study resuming?
St. Mark’s Thursday Bible Study will resume via Zoom on September 17th, following the in-person Thursday service. Please contact us if you are interested in participating.