Indoor Worship Returns

10.21.20 | Worship

     What to Expect at Indoor Worship in Fall/Winter 2020

    St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral

    Des Moines, IA


     What will be the same as before the pandemic:


    • We will have two worship services, an 8 am Rite 1 service and a 10 am Rite 2 service from the Book of Common Prayer.
    • We will have organ music at both services.
    • We will worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.


    What will look different now that there is a pandemic:


    Physical Differences:

    • We ask that those who are able to climb stairs enter using the 9th Street doors, and exit using the High street doors, reserving the north door near the parking lot for those who cannot use the stairs.
    • Everyone will be required to wear a face covering (mask or face shield) during the entire service. It may be removed briefly when taking communion. Masks will be provided for those who do not have one.
    • There will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the building and everyone is encouraged to use sanitizer to keep their hands clean, especially on arrival.
    • Hallway floors will be marked at six foot distances to help us keep physical distancing.
    • Every third pew will be open and available for seating. The pews you may sit in will be clearly marked. You will stay in your pew throughout the entire service.
    • Two households may sit in our longer (center) pews, with one household at each end of the pew. One household may sit in our shorter (side) pews.
    • There will be no Books of Common Prayer, Hymnals, Bibles or print materials in the pews. You are encouraged to bring your own Book of Common Prayer if you have one or use a device. 
    • Exterior doors will remain propped open throughout the service to allow for better air circulation.
    • We encourage you to use the bathroom before coming to worship, but should you need to use the facilities, the bathrooms will be single use only and we ask that you use the disinfecting wipes available to clean the surfaces you touched after use.


    Worship Differences:

    • You will be greeted by an usher who will record your name and phone number for use in the event that contact tracing is needed.
    • Bulletins will be available online at our website and there will be a QR code available for those who would like to view the bulletin on their phone or tablet. A limited number of print bulletins will be available.
    • There will be no “Pray Ground” for children. Children will be provided with coloring pages and a few crayons that they may take home with them. There will be no nursery care or children’s formation provided during the service. A parent may use the nursery room with their child if a calm area is needed.  Please clean surfaces with sanitizing wipes afterwards.
    • There will be no procession or recession. The clergy will enter from the sacristy.
    • There will be no congregational singing. We will have hymns that you can hum along to or you may read the words reflectively to yourself as the organ plays.
    • The 10 am service will have a cantor for short portions of the service such as the Psalm, Gloria, and Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). The cantor will wear a facemask and will be positioned remotely from others.
    • We will pass the peace by standing up and bowing or waving to one another from our places. We ask that no one leave their place.
    • An offering plate will be provided at the back of our worship space. We ask that you give your offering either before or after worship. The plate will not be passed during the service. You are also encouraged to give online or via text.
    • The presider will wash their hands before communion with soap and water.
    • Communion in one kind (bread alone) will be brought to you in your pew. You will receive the bread, wait for the server to walk away, then remove your face covering briefly to receive. If the server touches your hand, they will stop to use hand sanitizer before serving the next person.
    • After the service, we ask that those who can manage stairs leave via the High Street door. Those who need level entrance may leave via the north (parking lot) door. Please pay attention to maintaining 6’ distance between households and allow those in the back of the sanctuary to leave before those in the front.
    • There will be no in-person coffee hour or formation opportunities before or after either service until Polk County health metrics improve.



    • We will change what pews are available for use between services, so those who worship at 8 am will sit in different pews than those who worship at 10 am. We will also air out the room between services and sanitize items touched by multiple people during worship.
    • We employ a cleaning service that cleans the building on a weekly basis, including bathrooms, door handles, and push plates.


    Contact Tracing:

    • If we are notified that someone who attended worship has been diagnosed with Covid-19, we will use the contact information that you provided to ushers at the beginning of the service to let you know.
    • If you are a member of our congregation and have recently changed your telephone number, email address, or moved to a new home, please let us know. If you aren’t certain your information is up to date in our directory, please contact our office as well at (515) 288-7297 or . Our ushers may not ask for your contact information if they believe we have your information on file.  
    • Sign up to help us plan for your safety. Numbers are limited to allow safe physical distancing.  
    Sunday Worship Sign up

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    What to Expect: Drive-Up Communion (Reserve Sacrament)

    9-9:30 am Sundays


    • The parking spaces closest to the building in the parking lot will be reserved for those wishing to drive up to receive the Sacrament.
    • Face coverings (masks or face shields) are required.
    • We will use a service for Communion Under Special Conditions, which includes an opening sentence, prayer, confession, the Lord’s Prayer, reception of the Sacrament in one kind (bread only), and prayer after receiving communion. The entire service takes 5-10 minutes. One person in your vehicle may receive a print copy of the service if you so desire.
    • If there are multiple people in your vehicle, the server will come to each person’s window. You will not need to exit your vehicle in order to receive.
    • When receiving, the server will drop the bread in your hand. You may remove your face covering briefly to receive. If the server touches your hand, they will stop to use hand sanitizer before serving the next person.
    • You may drive away after the closing prayer.