Dear Friends,

Given the growing concerns about the coronavirus, we are taking a number of steps at St. Mary’s to maximize everyone’s safety.  

We will be following the recent guidelines from the Diocese of Virginia during our celebration of the Holy Eucharist each Sunday.  (Please see below).

We pray for those infected and affected, for those in the medical and scientific fields who are combatting the virus, and for all those who may feel anxious–that the Great Physician himself, Jesus Christ, will bring strength, comfort and healing to all.

May the Peace of the Lord always be with you,

+ Fr. Andrew T.P. Merrow
Rector, St. Mary’s

==Best Practices to Prevent the Spread of the Flu Virus & Coronavirus==

  • Remember to keep calm and wash your hands! Wash for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. There is hand sanitizer throughout the church for your use. It is being recommended that you avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
  • There has never been much evidence of risk of disease associated with the shared communion chalice (cup), but each parishioner must make up his or her own mind about its use.
  • Please do not intinct (dip the bread into the wine) until further notice. Intinction does very little to avoid the spread of the disease and may actually increase the spread, since the bread or wafer spends more time in the hand (possibly unclean) before being dipped into the wine.
  • If you are concerned, it is always acceptable to receive “in one kind” (bread only). This is a full and valid way to receive communion. If you wish to receive the bread only, please cross your arms across your chest as the chalice passes by.
  •  Parents, please assist your children at the altar rail. It may be difficult for your child to drink from the cup – receiving only the bread may be the best option for children at this time.
  •  You may refrain from handshaking during the Peace. A friendly smile, wave or the peace sign are all acceptable substitutes.
  •  If you are ill, please stay home. This is appropriate for ALL illnesses.
  • The Centers for Disease Control is posting information as it becomes available. Please visit

 Thanks to our friends at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria for sharing their Coronavirus info with us.

Additionally, St. Mary’s parishioner Dr. Joan A. Turkus, who is both a medical doctor and esteemed psychiatrist highlights the following advice for perspective and peace of mind.

  1. Eighty percent of the Coronavirus cases are mild; that’s the majority of us who may contract this virus. We have a long history of managing epidemics, what to do and how to do it, going back several centuries; what is needed is trust and cooperation by all of us.
  2. Plans are in place by our Virginia State Health Department, all of which filters down to counties and local governments, including schools. These institutions suggest households maintain a two-week supply of food, pantry supplies, and water. Have a one-month supply of prescribed medication on hand, as well as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and a working thermometer. Masks—they are needed for health care workers, you might have one for use if you become ill and need to go out in public, but don’t hoard.
  3. To reduce your own anxiety, do not listen to all the media and Facebook hype.