RESUMING IN-PERSON WORSHIP AT SAINT MARK'S
UPDATE: Starting Sunday, July 4, most pandemic restrictions listed below, including pre-registration, will be lifted.
Read about these happy developments here.
Beginning August 22, 2021, masks are again required for everyone while inside the cathedral building.
(The historical information below is no longer the active policy.)
Registering to attend on Sunday:
- A limited number people will be able to register in advance each week to attend the liturgy, in order to maintain social distancing and other safety protocols. Attendance was limited to 30 at first, and has now been increased to 100. (This number does not include liturgical ministers.) All in attendance must wear masks throughout.
- Reservations for each Sunday service will be made available on the preceding Monday (so only one Sunday at a time will be open for reservations).
- You will register online or by phone, and registration will include signing a waiver and agreeing to safety protocols (online, or in-person when you arrive on Sunday).
All records of attendance, seating, waivers, and questionnaires will be confidential, but will be kept for a period of time after each event as directed by the Cathedral Chancellor and will be accessed specifically for contact tracing or notices should the need arise.
Entering the cathedral:
- Please come 15–30 minutes early. When you arrive, maintain six-feet social distancing as you wait your turn to enter through two doors on the nave portico.
- As you enter the narthex, you will go to the registration table where a Hospitality Minister will ask you health questions relating to COVID-19 symptoms and record responses on a list—or, for those who have not already done so online, will ask you to fill out and sign the waiver and agreement. If you have any adverse health symptoms, you will be asked to return home. Bringing your ticket or confirmation email or having it on your mobile device will help facilitate the process.
- A Hospitality Minister will lead you to your seats.
During the liturgy:
- Everyone more than two years old must agree to be masked for the entire time you are at the cathedral—no exceptions, because masks are for others’ safety, not primarily your own.
- You will be asked not to stray from or move the seat you are initially directly to, in order to maintain safe social distancing and to facilitate contact tracing should the need arise.
- We will share the Peace with a bow or nod – no physical contact outside your family group.
- We will be receiving the Eucharist in bread, but not the wine at this time. The Presider will give specific instructions for safely coming forward to receive.
- At dismissal, you will be asked to leave in an orderly fashion guided by Hospitality Minsiters and to not linger. There is no in-person Coffee Hour or programming after the liturgy.
The Cathedral is now open for in-person worship, but you must pre-register to attend. Aligned with the Governor’s Safe Start Plan, we began having a limited congregation attend Sunday worship on March 21, 2021. Depending on the trajectory of COVID cases, the Cathedral will continue or increase opportunities for participation, or may at any time need to close again for safety.
The 11 a.m. Sunday service, and all special services continue to be streamed online. (The 9 a.m. Sunday service will not be livestreamed.) Saint Mark’s has been livestreaming the 11 a.m. Sunday liturgy since 2017, and our worship together online will continue.
In this brief video, Dean Thomason provides an introduction to both the "why" and the "how" of the gradual restarting of in-person worship.
PLEASE NOTE: Beginning Sunday, April 11, the procedure for distributing Holy Communion will be modified from what is described in this video (around the 5' mark). Priests will place the bread directly into worshippers' hands. You will still be asked to return to your seat before removing your mask to eat.
Cathedral Reopening Plan Document
For safety and comfort, great care has been taken to pore through the research and advice of experts, the experience of other churches, and the guidance from the CDC and other bodies, while also abiding by the guidelines from Governor Inslee and Bishop Rickel for our reopening plan. The full Reopening Plan can be found here, or downloaded by clicking on the cover image below:
PLEASE NOTE: This version of the document is dated March 23, 2021. Please discard any earlier versions.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can come?
All are welcome! Of course, if you have a fever or any symptoms of illness, you must stay home to protect others and take care of yourself. If you are a person in a high-risk group or have any misgivings about gathering at this time, please be comfortable to continue to worship from home and know that worshipping via livestream affords a full measure of grace!
If I have trouble registering online, is there someone who can help me?
Yes. Just call Erik Donner at the cathedral for assistance or to register via phone: 206-323-0300 x217.
Will there be music?
Yes! While there’s still a smaller choir at this time, congregational singing is allowed, with everyone masked at all times during the service.
Will there be Communion?
We will be receiving the Eucharist in bread with special precautions, but not the wine at this time. The Presider will give instructions for coming forward safely to receive. Once you’ve returned to your seat, you may lower your mask to consume the Eucharist and immediately replace it.
Will there be Compline on Sunday night?
Although it has not been open to a congregation since the closure of the cathedral building, the office of Compline has continued uninterrupted, chanted by a reduced number of singers, and broadcast each Sunday night on KING 98.1 FM and king.org. In addition, a video livestream of the service is available from March 7, 2021 onward. However, due to the unique nature of the Compline congregation, the service is not reopening to the public at this time. It will reopen in the future, as conditions allow.
Will there be Evensong?
Choral Evensong will not reopen in person at this time, but will continue to be livestreamed monthly at 4:30 p.m. on the first Sunday of the month, starting in October.
Will there be childcare on Sundays?
Childcare will not reopen, and the carpet will not be used, when the cathedral first reopens for worship, given risks of infection and difficulty in distancing children in closed spaces such as the childcare room.
Will there be Children’s Formation on Sundays?
Children’s programming will not meet in person, but will continue online with 9:00 a.m. Godly Play (pre-K–2nd grade) and 10 a.m. Practicing Our Faith (3rd–5th grade). Several other offerings are also available. Contact Jennifer Daughtery at email@example.com for the Zoom link.
Will Youth Groups be meeting?
Youth of Saint Mark's will not meet in person, but will be in fellowship online with bible study, service projects, and confirmation preparation. Contact Rebekah Gilmore firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Will there be Choir School and Senior Choristers and Schola?
The Choir School will not meet in person, be will be online for all choristers, with weekly Zoom rehearsals including vocal instruction, musicianship training, liturgical instruction, listening and watching of choral performances, and faith formation. Senior Choristers and the Schola will participate in virtual choir recording projects. Contact Rebekah Gilmore at email@example.com for more information.
Will the restrooms be open?
Yes. Restroom traffic will be guided by Hospitality Ministers in the narthex. The men’s room will serve as an all-gender restroom and can accommodate one individual (or family members) at a time. The women’s room can accommodate two women at a time. Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer are available. Cathedral staff will clean and disinfect the restrooms.
When will there be more services than just the 11 a.m.?
Additional regular worship services will be announced once we have reopened and see our safety protocols are working smoothly and find that more people are desiring to attend. We also have occasional special services of worship outdoors, per the governor’s guidelines (e.g., Memorial Bench Dedication, St. Francis Day Blessing of the Animals, etc.).
Can we have baptisms and weddings and funerals yet?
Special services responding to pastoral needs, such as funerals, baptisms, confirmations, and weddings involving a small number of people, or scheduled personal prayer time, may take place in the nave at the discretion of the Dean and in accordance with the safety protocols described in the Reopening Plan. Once the cathedral reopens for the 11 a.m. liturgy, such rites with more people may be possible within the current safety plans and protocols. Please call the cathedral to inquire: 206-323-0300 x217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When can other groups and meetings be in the cathedral?
All other ministry groups and meeting groups external to Saint Mark’s should plan to continue meeting via Zoom until further notice. Once the rate of COVID infection is low enough and the Facilities Manager warrants that the meeting spaces can be maintained for safe use, we will consider regathering.
Is the cathedral open during the week?
The cathedral building remains closed during the week except for essential workers until further notice.
What are the safety protocols?
Extensive safety protocols, ventilation, and cleaning/sanitizing plans are detailed in the Reopening Plan. See especially the section of “Preparation of the Space” on page 12 and Appendix D on page 21.
Which doors will be open to enter the cathedral building?
All reservation holders must enter the cathedral through the main entrance on the east side (front) of the building; there is an ADA-compliant ramp on the southeast corner. The Hoerster Annex entrance and elevator are not open to the public at this time.
What if local conditions with the virus worsen?
We will monitor local COVID-19 conditions weekly and follow guidelines from the Governor and the Bishop’s office. If we need to close the building for safety, we will communicate it via the website, social media, our weekly newsletter, and email. It is entirely possible that there will be serial reopenings/re-closings in this pandemic time, as conditions warrant. If you do not already receive news from Saint Mark’s, you may sign up here.
Governor's Guidance for Religious and Faith-Based Organizations, Phase 3 (March 23, 2021)
Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-25.12 (January 11, 2021)
Diocese of Olympia's COVID-19 Update Page
Washington State "Safe Start Plan"
King County Public Health Guidelines for Faith Communities
CDC Coronavirus Prevention and Treatment Information
Saint Mark's COVID-19 info page (from the early days of the outbreak)