The congregation of Christ the King Church, on Highway 34 near Sharpsburg, began the re-opening of the church on June 7.
Previously the public services were closed, due to Covid-19, with the Sunday service being live streamed. A small cadre of clergy, singers, acolytes, musicians, and technical personnel worked every week to present a full service for those at home.
A few weeks ago, the families of the live stream team were invited to return. One of the big surprises was the number of people who tuned in to the live stream service, with 1,347 people who viewed the Easter service.
The church staff polled every person in the church with, basically, two questions: (1) If the church re-opens, will your return under guidelines and restrictions? and (2) If the church re-opens, will you choose to stay at home for now? Based on the results, the people that said they would return were divided into two groups.
Group A will attend on the 1st and 3rd Sundays while Group B will attend the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Social distancing will still be practiced and other safeguards have been put in place.
People who later decide they wish to resume attendance will call the church office and be assigned to a group. While Holy Communion, or Holy Eucharist, was celebrated for those who were live streaming, the June 7 reopening was the first public Eucharist in some time.
For the past two months, the church has remained open from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on Sundays so that parishioners can come by and be served Communion safely. That will continue, for now. There are no plans to discontinue live streaming.
“The first Sunday back went far better than I expected,” said David Epps, rector at the church. “We are looking forward for a return of all our folks in the near future.