Beloved members of the Diocese of Kansas:
We keep asking God to guide us to the sweet spot of being the incarnate Body of Christ in this place, and keeping people safe from the coronavirus. Many have been asking for the best approach to the many feeding and other outreach ministries we provide to the people of our communities.
After meeting today, the Council of Trustees and I offer the following guidelines to help keep safe those we serve as well as those who serve. These hold true for ministries that provide prepared food as well as for food pantries:
- Our motto is “Feeding without Gathering.” Try to continue to feed people in need but do so without gathering more than 10 people i n a space at any given time. People always must remain 6 feet apart.
- Food needs to be packaged so recipients can take items with them.
- It may be helpful to have one member of a family or party pick up food containers for everyone, to reduce the number of people waiting in line.
- Limit those who prepare food at any given time to the smallest number possible.
- Those who serve and distribute food should wear single-use gloves that must be changed if the wearer touches their face or another person.
- Proper handwashing must be observed and repeated frequently by those preparing or serving food.
I ask leaders of all churches to carefully think through the processes involved in your food ministry and make any needed alterations to your normal procedures to adhere to these guidelines.
Other outreach ministries
I know that many of our churches provide space for people in recovery to meet – AA, NA, etc. My heart goes out to those who struggle with addiction in this time of high anxiety.
If a group that meets in your building numbers fewer than 10 people, we leave it to the local parish to decide whether to host them while buildings otherwise are closed. Groups larger than 10 people may not use space in our buildings at this time. For churches that decide to continue to host: to keep group members safe, a high level of disinfecting cleaning should be done before and after meetings.
Thank you to everyone who is working so hard to meet the needs of the people of our communities under such challenging circumstances.
The Right Reverend Cathleen Chittenden Bascom
Tenth Bishop, the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas