UtahBuilder

Safely Passing The Sacrament These Days

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So, logistically speaking, does anyone have any ideas for how to pass the Sacrament in a manner that will not only minimize the risk of spreading the virus but also allay the fears of the congregation? Obviously you would use gloves, masks, etc. Maybe a bread slicer to prevent any hands from touching the bread? Individual cups for the bread as well as the water? I know that asymptomatic spread is very unlikely but we obviously want people thinking about God when they receive the Sacrament and not worrying about the possibility of infection. Thoughts?

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I understand the concern for safety. But yet I also understand the symbols in the Sacrament as well.  Using a bread slicer would take away the thought for me that we are breaking bread just as Christ did for his disciples.  

I could see the deacons with gloves handing a piece of bread and the cup of water to each individual.  Right now I know they are advising having every other row empty for social distancing and the deacon is passing the sacrament to each person instead of passing the tray down the row.  

 

 

 

 

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45 minutes ago, UtahBuilder said:

So, logistically speaking, does anyone have any ideas for how to pass the Sacrament in a manner that will not only minimize the risk of spreading the virus but also allay the fears of the congregation? Obviously you would use gloves, masks, etc. Maybe a bread slicer to prevent any hands from touching the bread? Individual cups for the bread as well as the water? I know that asymptomatic spread is very unlikely but we obviously want people thinking about God when they receive the Sacrament and not worrying about the possibility of infection. Thoughts?

From my observation, most congregations are going extreme precautions while preparing the sacrament, and then bread & water both placed in individual cups spaced apart, and delivered to each person directly (rather than the traditional pass-it-down-the-pew).   Of course any one with any symptoms should say home, and at-risk people too.  Sacrament at home is still authorized.

All in all, it is still a risk (anything is), but one that's managed and minimized as much as it can be.  

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We can train the young men to wear masks and wash hands to prepare the sacrament.  I'm more concerned about the airborne spread possible from one unmasked person at the podium, or a bunch of people singing.

https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-superspreader-singing.html?fbclid=IwAR3k2mj9rbta1kTQUmojMDAz9AxaecNb6_UrRJ5NAJ5pXvz5ymruOzOXi48

Quote

So, 61 members of the Skagit Valley Chorale, half of the choir's singers, came to the evening practice at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, according to the Los Angeles Times, which broke the story. 

One of those singers had COVID-19. This person had cold-like symptoms starting on March 7
...
Once seated, the singers practiced together for 40 minutes, split into smaller groups for a 50-minute practice block, took a 15-minute break that included shared snacks of cookies and oranges, and reconvened for a final 45-minute singing session.
...

Excluding the superspreader, 52 of the 60 singers (or 86.7%) became ill.

 

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4 hours ago, UtahBuilder said:

So, logistically speaking, does anyone have any ideas for how to pass the Sacrament in a manner that will not only minimize the risk of spreading the virus but also allay the fears of the congregation? Obviously you would use gloves, masks, etc. Maybe a bread slicer to prevent any hands from touching the bread? Individual cups for the bread as well as the water? I know that asymptomatic spread is very unlikely but we obviously want people thinking about God when they receive the Sacrament and not worrying about the possibility of infection. Thoughts?

My suggestion is two-fold:

1. The teachers who prepare, priests who bless, and deacons who distribute the sacrament, as well as the leaders and congregation members who partake of those emblems, take care to wash their hands carefully and avoid coughing on the emblems of the sacrament or otherwise acting in an unhygienic manner.

2. Everybody calm the heck down about COVID-19 and quit freaking out about a virus.

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If you want the minimal risk of transmission, you can have each household bring their own bread and water. They can hold their emblems at their seats when they are blessed, and then consume them when the prayer is done. 

After that, sealed, pre-packed containers (as described by @prisonchaplain) are your best bet. 

If you're willing to tolerate a little more risk, there are countless ways you can manage passing the sacrament.

How you manage this is highly dependent on what your goal is.  If your goal is to balance minimal disruption with minimal risk, truthfully, careful hand washing (be everyone, not just those handling the sacrament) combined with having adults retrieve emblems for their young children is probably enough. But your risk profile has to include considerations for your congregation.  Do you have any immuno-compromised members? How many of your members are elderly? 

If your goal is to make the ordinance comfortable for as many as possible, then you may find yourself making more alterations. My bishop made the decision that we would make every reasonable effort to make sacrament meeting as free-from-worry for as many people as possible.  The process we settled on was that, for the bread, a single oyster cracker is being poured into a sacrament cup placed in a water tray where only ever other space is used. Those who pass the emblems will carry a second tray to collect the used cups.  Similarly, for water, only ever other space is used in the tray, and a second tray is carried to collect the cups.  Parents are being asked to retrieve cups for their young children.

When developing your plan, remember that you have a great deal of flexibility. Scripturally, the only requirements for the ordinance are that 1) the priest kneels when saying the prayer, and 2) the words of the prayer are said exactly as recorded in Moroni/D&C (substituting the word 'water' for 'wine'). Everything beyond that is cultural/policy/whatever. (some of it is great symbolism, and I would be reticent to give it up forever, but we can survive for a period of time without it)

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13 hours ago, Grunt said:

We're still at home.

We're still at home in San Antonio too.  I know my sister's ward in Utah went back last week.  Which surprises me since they are now talking about taking the level in Utah back up due to such an increase in confirmed cases.  

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12 hours ago, Fether said:

We just pass around a goblet that we all sip from, everyone gets their own inch length of rim they can sip from. No one sick yet.

This is the Catholic way.  But you forgot about the linen rim wipe in between sips. :)

 

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4 minutes ago, pam said:

We're still at home in San Antonio too.  I know my sister's ward in Utah went back last week.  Which surprises me since they are now talking about taking the level in Utah back up due to such an increase in confirmed cases.  

What's up with San-An?  We're open here in Houston.  But we're rotating portions of the ward at a time.

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3 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

If you want the minimal risk of transmission, you can have each household bring their own bread and water. They can hold their emblems at their seats when they are blessed, and then consume them when the prayer is done. 

After that, sealed, pre-packed containers (as described by @prisonchaplain) are your best bet. 

If you're willing to tolerate a little more risk, there are countless ways you can manage passing the sacrament.

I thought the BREAKING of the bread kinda needs to be there.  No?

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5 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

What's up with San-An?  We're open here in Houston.  But we're rotating portions of the ward at a time.

We're at home too.  The Stake did a survey and majority replied that they'd rather do backyard sacrament meeting (with families gathering with other families in somebody else's backyard) than go to temporary restrictions in ward sacrament meetings.  They'd rather go back to the ward building when everything is back to normal.

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14 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

What's up with San-An?  We're open here in Houston.  But we're rotating portions of the ward at a time.

My only guess is that Bexar Co. has had such an increase in Covid-19 cases.  

Okay an update.  I just got an email last night that I just saw.  We are resuming services on July 5th.  

Only one ward will hold meetings in the building on Sunday but will have multiple times to allow social distancing etc.

The stake has authorized a shortened sacrament meeting at our ward building. Only one ward will meet each week, holding as many sacrament meetings as needed to accommodate all who want to attend while still providing for social distancing and limiting attendance to about 50 people per meeting. The Leon Valley ward will have our first sacrament meetings on July 5th. Social distancing must be followed and masks are strongly encouraged to help prevent the spread of disease. Please note that local face mask and gathering ordinances are in flux and circumstances may change at any time.

We had to let them know if we prefer to continue doing it at home.  

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2 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

We're at home too.  The Stake did a survey and majority replied that they'd rather do backyard sacrament meeting (with families gathering with other families in somebody else's backyard) than go to temporary restrictions in ward sacrament meetings.  They'd rather go back to the ward building when everything is back to normal.

That's actually a good idea.  I haven't had outdoor church since my days as a scout.

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11 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

We can train the young men to wear masks and wash hands to prepare the sacrament.  I'm more concerned about the airborne spread possible from one unmasked person at the podium, or a bunch of people singing.

https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-superspreader-singing.html?fbclid=IwAR3k2mj9rbta1kTQUmojMDAz9AxaecNb6_UrRJ5NAJ5pXvz5ymruOzOXi48

 

We were back in service for the first time this past week. Everyone had masks. Those on stage were allowed to take them off, since we had plexiglass partitions. Poor pastor wanted to come out into the audience so much---he always does--but refrained. We were model citizens and still able to worship. 😁

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Utah Coronavirus Data is not where you were in May.  The thing to watch for is the death rate versus the infection rate especially with increased testing and immunity.

These are your numbers today:

Total Population:  3.2 Million
Total Tested:  299,312 (approx 10%)
Total Positive:  17,906 (0.6% of population, 6% of tested)
Total Dead:  158 (0.9% of positive, 0.005% of population), 78% of these deaths are in Salt Lake and Utah Counties

To put this into perspective, 334 people in Utah died of influenza in 2017, 663 died of suicide.

Here's a nice graph:

image.png.d7076fa13e08a232495533a31e263a3c.png

 

image.png.4405548d714ca1e46bfa11b30824a750.png

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17 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

That's actually a good idea.  I haven't had outdoor church since my days as a scout.

We've been loving it.  We started with video conference with the missionaries and investigators.  When the missionaries got the go ahead to visit people but not inside their homes, we started the backyard sacrament meeting and we even do the lysol treatment on everything.  My husband's family (from different wards) started joining us so there's more of us now and so we started calling it the "bring your own chair" sacrament meeting. 

sacrament.jpg.6b323b97d8992e7f7964883f1c617432.jpg

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13 minutes ago, anatess2 said:

Utah Coronavirus Data is not where you were in May.  The thing to watch for is the death rate versus the infection rate especially with increased testing and immunity.

These are your numbers today:

Total Population:  3.2 Million
Total Tested:  299,312 (approx 10%)
Total Positive:  17,906 (0.6% of population, 6% of tested)
Total Dead:  158 (0.9% of positive, 0.005% of population), 78% of these deaths are in Salt Lake and Utah Counties

To put this into perspective, 334 people in Utah died of influenza in 2017, 663 died of suicide.

Here's a nice graph:

image.png.d7076fa13e08a232495533a31e263a3c.png

 

image.png.4405548d714ca1e46bfa11b30824a750.png

Who were you directing this to?

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Just now, pam said:

Who were you directing this to?

To everybody as my contribution to the OP's reference to "these days" and "allaying fears".  Why?

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1 minute ago, anatess2 said:

To everybody as my contribution to the OP's reference to "these days" and "allaying fears".  Why?

Quote

Utah Coronavirus Data is not where you were in May. 

That confused me.  It seemed you were directing it to someone specific.  

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2 minutes ago, pam said:

That confused me.  It seemed you were directing it to someone specific.  

Yeah.  UtahBuilder is the OP.  I assumed he's from Utah with that name.

But you can pull the graphs from your own State if you're not from Utah.  It tells the same story.

Edited by anatess2

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