Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church will be opening its doors to the congregation this Sunday, June 14th. We have slowly navigated through these unprecedented times, and are reopening the doors to our congregation step by step. We would like to express our deepest gratitude for your steadfast support during our closure, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you. There was no road map for this process, but working together we managed to accomplish something quite extraordinary and we can’t be happier or more grateful to see you once again in the church.
We will observe all the guidance that has been provided by the State of New Jersey and, most importantly, our Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian. The scope of this info is limited to the celebration of the Soorp Badarak, it is not addressing other sacramental rites.
- Due to social distancing rules and in order to fairly accommodate everyone desiring to attend Soorp Badarak, we request that you call the Church office at 201 943-2950 or email (email@example.com) to reserve your seat at least one week in advance. Requests will be accommodated on a first call basis. Currently we are permitted to have 25% of our normal capacity which amounts to approximately 48 people with social distancing rules. We do apologize for this inconvenience, but this must be done in order not to exceed the number of attendees allowed by law.
- Anyone who is feeling sick or exhibiting a fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell, or has potentially been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, should remain home and participate through the live streaming.
- You should take your general health, any underlying medical conditions and age into consideration when deciding whether or not to attend church.
- We will continue to live stream our Sunday Divine Liturgy (Soorp Badarak) to accommodate those who are not feeling well, are at high risk, or who simply do not yet feel comfortable being in a public setting. We leave this decision to each person and fully respect each person’s decision.
ENTERING THE CHURCH
- Front Doors Entry Only: Only the front doors of the church on Bergen Boulevard will be used for entry.Parishioners will exit from the side door by the coat rack.
- Face Mask Required: Each person entering the church must wear a face mask which we ask you to bring with you. We will have a supply of disposable face masks available if needed. The only exceptions are for persons who, for medical reasons, cannot wear a face mask and for young children (0-2 no mask; 3-5 at parents’ discretion).
- Sanitize Hands: Every person must sanitize their hands upon entering and again if they leave and return for any reason. Sanitation stations will be available in the Pongal (foyer) and the entrance to the sanctuary. Please do not congregate in the Pongal or anywhere else in the church.
- Weekly Bulletins: Weekly bulletins will be available on the Trustee table when entering the church.
- Prayer Books: No hymnals or pew bibles should be used, please bring your own if you wish.
- Lighting Candles: Parishioners are welcome to light candles. The floor area where candles are lit will be clearly marked for social distancing. Please observe these markings and do not congregate in this area.
- Designated Pews for Seating: Pews will be roped off to maintain the required 6-foot distance between parishioners. People living in the same house may sit in the same pew. All others must sit in separate pews.
- Donations: Plate, stewardship, candle, requiem, and all other donations should be placed in the donation box on the Trustee table. All donations other than for the weekly plate or candles should be in an envelope and clearly marked with the purpose of the donation, such as requiem, and the donors name and phone number.
DURING SOORP BADARAK (DIVINE LITURGY)
- Soorp Badarak will continue to be celebrated with only a few servers. The Procession (Tapor) around church will be omitted; the celebrant and the deacons will remain on the altar throughout the Soorp Badarak.
- The celebrant will offer the Kiss of Peacefrom the altar and parishioners may respond in unison by saying “Ortnial eh Haidnootiunun Kreesdosee”.
- The donation plate will not be passed. Please use the donation box in the back of the church.
RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION
- Personal Decision: Whether or not to receive Holy Communion is a personal decision. Each person’s decision is always respected, especially in these special circumstances. Close personal contact between the celebrant and the faithful is unavoidable in distributing the sacred body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Recognizing this, several additional precautions have been implemented.
- Celebrant: The celebrant always sanitizes his hands before celebrating the Soorp Badarak. Only the celebrant handles the gifts (bread and wine) and the chalice during Soorp Badarak. Holy Communion will be placed in the palm of the right hand or on the top of the right hand of the faithful.
- Parishioners: Face mask coverings will be kept in place while approaching the altar and maintaining social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be provided both at the entrance and exit to the chancel for use both before and after receiving Holy Communion. After receiving Holy Communion, the faithful will proceed toward the exit of the chancel, remove one side of their face mask covering and place the Holy Communion in their mouth. They can then reattach their face mask covering, proceed out of the chancel area, and return to their pew for prayer.
- Head Coverings for Women: We strongly encourage women to bring their own head covering for receiving Holy Communion. The church has a limited number of head coverings which must be laundered and sanitized after each use.
Leaving the Church
- At the conclusion of Soorp Badarak, the Gospel will not be presented for the faithful to kiss. We ask that everyone proceed out of the church through the side door without congregating and maintaining a safe distance. The Trustees will direct the exiting out of the church.
- After each service, the sanctuary and all common areas that are used will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with appropriate cleaning products.
Fellowship/Coffee Hour· Fellowship/Coffee Hour is suspended until further notice.We will continue to live-stream the Soorp Badarak at 10:30 am on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/StsVartanantzNJ/.
We are implementing these guidelines out of an abundance of caution and love for our church family. Together, we can begin to come together again with confidence if we all follow these guidelines. We look forward to welcoming you back to church as you feel comfortable.
Very Rev. Father SahagYemishianand the Board of TrusteesJune 10, 2020