Tri-Town churches respond to coronavirus concerns

Mar 16, 2020

Across the Tri-Town, churches have felt the impact of the new coronavirus that has hit businesses, schools and municipal buildings. For many, this has resulted in cancellations. 

Mattapoisett Congregational Church was one of the first to close when it announced March 13 that it had suspended all activities at the church for two weeks. 

This includes worship services fellowship activities, including Open Table, and classes including the Lenten series on Sunday and Monday evenings, as well as events for all the organizations that use the building.

The church will send out “email worships” to the congregation on Sunday mornings instead. 

Phil Jackson, chair of the church’s council said, “this was not an easy decision. As people of faith, coming together is important for our spiritual health, as well as our mental and emotional health, especially in times of crisis. Our plan was to continue as many activities as possible. 

However, it has become abundantly clear that the safest, most prudent course of action is simply to comply with the recommendations of health experts.”

Reverend Amy Lignitz Harken expressed regret and concern for everyone affected by the health crisis and encouraged others to “stay connected with each other via telephone, e-mail and social media.”

The First Congregational Church of Marion stated in a release that “As a faith community, we have a special responsibility to care for those in our church and community.” 

For churchgoers, what that looks like right now is life without church services, study groups or activities until March 29. The March 19 Friendship Table has been canceled. 

The church office will be open, though parishioners are asked to conduct business by phone or email if possible. 

Penny Pincher’s Exchange and the church building will remain open, with extra disinfecting. 

Saint Rose of Lima in Rochester suspended all of its masses until further notice starting March 14. Its website lists these services as “ temporarily suspended and adds that “there are to be no vigil masses. Baptism, Confirmations, weddings and funerals may proceed but attendance should be limited to only immediate family.”

The archbishop has said that catholics are no longer required to attend mass. 

For St. Anthony’s and St. Rita’s the mass on Tuesday, March 17 at 8 a.m.  will be the final public Mass until the church is notified that we can resume. 

Also suspended are the Way of the Cross on Wednesdays and Confessions at Saint Rita's.

The First Congregational Church of Rochester says on its website that “all services and activities at First Congregational have been canceled from March 14 to 28. The church office will maintain its regular hours. 

St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church will suspend all worship services for two weeks, and stream services at 10 a.m. on Sundays with only its pastor, choir director and one or two singers attending. 

This article will be updated as additional churches respond to inquiries.