- Trinity Voices
Touching Home: Praying Trinity Church In-Person
Dear Trinity Church and friends,
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope this message finds you and yours continuing to take care and stay well.
Seeking inspiration and spiritual nurture during these COVID-19 days, I invite you to join a procession back to our Copley Square altar. Next month, we will launch a new, in-person program – Touching Home: Praying Our Place at Trinity Church.
Schedule (beginning October 5)
Sundays, with availabilities at 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 p.m.
Mondays, with availabilities at 11 a.m, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 p.m.
Wednesday, with availabilities at 11 a.m, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 p.m.
Beginning Monday, October 5, on the hours listed, parishioners can visit the church, pray our sacred space, and receive Communion for home.
The Pilgrim Path
The Touching Home program will follow what we have named “The Pilgrim Path.” After entering the Clarendon Vestibule from the Cloister Porch (the door facing Clarendon Street), a greeter from our Visitor Services staff will welcome registrants. Following a simple check-in procedure, that (in this time of pandemic) will include a brief review of health and safety matters for the good of all, these pilgrims will continue into the church, turning left under the pulpit, and then right – up the center aisle to a central place for taking in our space and praying three stained glass windows: an Easter panel in the in the south transept; a Christmas panel in the north transept; and the Christ in Majesty window on the west wall. With a combination of stanchions with print materials and media accessible online, pilgrims can read and listen to recorded reflections and prayers mindful of the challenges in this moment of our common life, and reassuring of God’s powerful presence with us even now.
Pews in this central area will be designated for children to make themselves comfortable, and age-appropriate materials, including coloring sheets of each featured window, will be available for their engagement. Adult pilgrims may choose to sit or kneel in these same spaces before making their way to the Altar Rail. At the Rail, pilgrims may continue their prayers, before picking up a “Communion Kit” of bread and wine blessed at our Trinity altar. These kits will include prayers for making one’s Communion at home.
Pilgrims will then retire from the Rail, down the Broadstep, turning right at the crossing beneath the pulpit, and walking toward the Clarendon Vestibule and the same doors used for entry. Pilgrims will complete a simple checkout procedure before leaving by the Cloister Porch breezeway.
Sharing The Experience
Visiting pilgrims will have opportunity to leave a post-it note on a central board we will have established in the space for this purpose. The note might be a prayer, or a greeting, or a word of encouragement – inspiration as our pandemic pilgrimage continues. In addition to this means of connection with fellow parishioners, we encourage pilgrims to post their experience to social media using #PrayingTrinity.
As we launch Touching Home, we will register in two blocks: October 5 – 21, and October 25 – November 18. Registration for the second block is now open here. Because of the limited number of pilgrimage times available and the necessity to provide for strict contact tracing in the event of an illness, registration is required and will be limited to Trinity parishioners. While we expect an individual household will be the usual registrant, those who live alone or who would like to share this experience with fellow parishioners can register as a group. The organization of these groups will be the responsibility of those interested, and all groups will be limited to 10. Finally, please do note that while evenings in our church hold their own magic and movement, as the days shorten the stained glass will be more difficult to see during the pilgrimages beginning at 4, 5, and 6 p.m. each day.
Health and Safety
As in all the precautions we are taking in these days, our devotions to safety not only benefit ourselves, but serve to protect our neighbors. We ask all pilgrims to do their full part in caring for our community and those who will come after them. These basic protocols include:
. Maintaining healthy social distances with staff and all others on campus
. Coming to one’s registered hour only if fever-free and feeling well
. Sanitizing hands upon entry in the space
. Wearing a face mask for the entirety of the visit
. Contacting the Rector’s Office should one test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of their visit to the church. All disclosures will be handled anonymously and in confidence.
Facilities staff will sanitize high-touch areas after every pilgrimage. Even so, we invite pilgrims to disinfect areas they touched as a simple expression of our concern for those who will come after us.
During this fraught time, we want every pilgrim to feel at home in our sacred space. Therefore, at least one Visitors Services staff member will remain in the church during pilgrimages – not as a distraction from prayer, but as a reassurance of safety. These staff members will have a two-way radio and can be in immediate touch with a Facilities staff member in the Parish House who has access to cameras and other communications. Please note that restrooms will not be open except for an emergency.
Within the constraints of the public-health protocols, please know that we intend to do all we can to support your full participation in the Touching Home program. Our Facilities team can provide ramps up the two sets of stairs (from the crossing to the Broadstep, and from the Broadstep to the Altar Rail). If you would like to share concerns about your ability to manage movement in the space, please indicate your needs in your registration form.
Early in the pandemic, we imagined a glorious, single moment of return to our Copley Square worship home – parishioners packing every pew, the organ filling the space with sound, and a teeming procession leading us to our altar. That service would mark the end of this anxious, isolating season, and, if ever we were grateful for the blessing of a church community, our unrestrained joy in what we had taken for granted – the exchanging of the Peace, drinking from the common cup, shaking hands and sharing hugs – would lead to a tangible, gratitude on that day. On that day.
People of God, believe: that glad day will still come! Even so, we know now that our approach to that service will necessarily be more incremental. With this Touching Home program, we begin that procession, and we hope that you will choose to be a part of these encouraging first steps toward home.
Praying this path with you,
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen