New Procedure for Sunday Morning Worship

Beloved in Christ,

I am excited to announce a big change to our procedures for in-person worship! Beginning Sunday, February 21, we will shift from our current pre-registration system to a sign-in system. This means that you will no longer be required to register in advance to attend a service. Rather, you will be invited to sign in as you arrive for worship either in the Cathedral or on the Lawn, providing us with your name(s) and contact information. You will then be free to sit in any of the designated, safely-distanced seating areas throughout the Cathedral, or across the Lawn.

In addition to providing a more accurate account of who actually attends each service—necessary information should we be forced to engage in contact tracing—I am confident that this new approach will enable more of us to participate in worship more easily, without sacrificing safety.

So how will this new system work? The COVID-19 protocols provided by our Diocese urge special caution to be taken with regard to entering and exiting worship spaces. We will continue to exercise that caution by inviting all worshippers to enter through specific—and well-marked—doors according to the first letters of last names.

The assignments are as follows for indoors:

  • Worshippers with last names beginning A through E will enter through the Blue Door (indoors: the North Transept door; furthest from Sumter Street and facing the Churchyard).
  • Worshippers with last names beginning F through K will enter through the Yellow Door (indoors: the North Tower door; closest to Sumter Street and facing the Churchyard).
  • Worshippers with last names beginning L through R will enter through the Orange Door (indoors: the South Tower door; closest to Sumter Street, but on the Lawn side of the church).
  • Worshippers with last names beginning S through Z will enter through the Purple Door (indoors: the South Transept door via the South Porch).

Please click here to see a map of the Cathedral (indoors) with entrance assignments.

Cathedral Lawn outdoor entrances are: 

  • Blue (A -E) and Yellow (F-K): enter at the Sumer Street gate
  • Purple (S-Z) and Orange (L-R): enter at Senate Street gate

At each entrance, worshippers must use the hand sanitizer offered by the Hospitality Ministers before signing in. Only one member of each household need sign in, providing one telephone number and writing the names of every worshipper attending from that household.

Once inside the Cathedral, worshippers may sit in any available designated seating area throughout the building, including the transepts and balconies. Hospitality Ministers will be ready to indicate available areas. Please maintain a safe social distance from other individuals and households while taking your seats.

At the conclusion of the service, Hospitality Ministers will dismiss worshippers through the door nearest their seats—which may not be the door through which they entered. For example, if the Boston family enters through their assigned Blue Door (the North Transept), and then chooses to sit in the Yellow Balcony at the rear of the Cathedral, then when the service ends they will wait for a Hospitality Minister to dismiss them through the Yellow Door in the North Tower. This will prevent traffic jams in the Cathedral at the conclusion of services, and will allow all worshippers to exit quickly and safely.

Naturally, there will be questions about this new protocol. Here are a few we’ve heard already:

Members of my household have different last names. Must we enter through separate doors?

No! All members of a single household should enter together. Simply determine who will sign in your entire household and enter together through the appropriate door for that person’s name.

I need to use the ramp entrance at the Yellow Door in the North Tower, but my name begins with a Z—what should I do?

All those who wish to make use of the ramp entrance at the Yellow Door should do so, regardless of last name. Just sign in at the Yellow Door and find a seat!

I need to sit in a specific part of the Cathedral in order to hear well, but this system doesn’t allow me to reserve a specific seat. What should I do?

We will reserve a limited number of seats close to the pulpit for those who have indicated a specific hearing need. Those seats will be held until 8:55, at which time they will be made available to any worshippers.

Does this mean I can ditch my mask and hug folks at the Peace?

Absolutely not! All safety protocols related to face masks and social distancing remain in place at this time. We trust that hugs and handshakes will come again (and soon, God willing!), but until then we must remain vigilant and show our care for one another by following the necessary guidelines.

What happens if I arrive and there are no available seats remaining?

Of course, this new approach to arrivals and departures does not change the fact that our seating remains extremely limited. Eliminating pre-registration means that seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. We are fully aware of the possibility that there may be more people wishing to worship in-person than we can safely accommodate in the Cathedral. We will therefore provide overflow seating in Satterlee Hall—to be accessed through the South Porch—which will include a live projection of the service broadcast. Furthermore, at the appropriate time the Celebrant will bring Holy Communion to those who may be seated in Satterlee Hall.

How can I access Bulletins electronically?

All worship bulletins can be accessed at trinitysc.org/bulletins. They will be kept on that page for a period of time (a few weeks at least) and then rotated out to make room for the upcoming week's service bulletins.

Doubtless many more questions will arise. As they do, please reach out to one of our clergy, or to Jessica Umbach, Director of Communications. We will continue to refine and improve this system as we live into it, and for that we need your feedback.

From the moment I arrived back at Trinity on Sunday, January 3, I have been inspired—though not surprised!—by the extraordinary work of our staff and volunteers to make in-person worship possible. I have been encouraged—though, again, not surprised!—by the faithfulness, patience, and flexibility of our worshippers as we endure strange and sometimes cumbersome procedures. My prayer is that this new approach will bless those who ensure we can worship safely and those who come together to worship in our beautiful sacred spaces. I ask you all to join in prayer as we embark on this new venture, following God’s call and seeking to be, truly, “a house of prayer for all people.”

Faithfully,

The Very Reverend Dane E. Boston, Dean