Friends in Christ,

Outdoor worship began at St. Michael’s by-the-Sea on Sunday, June 21, 2020. This Sunday, June 20th, 2021 St. Michael’s will once again worship inside the church building, one year to the day! Thanks be to God! Outdoor seating will remain available for those who prefer it. Be advised: the service time will shift to 9:30am this Sunday!

As expected, we received further Updated COVID Guidance from the diocese this week. The St. Michael’s Regathering Task Force has recommended – and the Vestry has approved – this guidance in its entirety. Please take time to read it!

Of particular note:

  • Distancing requirements and capacity restrictions have been lifted.
  • Vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks for worship. Those who are not vaccinated – including elementary school-age children under age 12 – are expected to wear masks indoors.
  • Vaccinated people may now join in congregational singing, both indoors and outdoors.

The following guidelines will remain in place for Children’s Ministry:

  • Face coverings continue to be required during Children’s Chapel for elementary school-age children and older, unless vaccinated. Masks are optional for preschool-age children and younger.
  • Children’s Chapel will remain outdoors for the summer. School-age children will continue to meet on the pickleball patio, with toddlers and preschoolers meeting on the playground.

For more information, please refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” below.

As we continue to open up, I would encourage you to discern how it is God may be calling you to serve Him within the St. Michael’s community. There are many opportunities: Ushers, Adult and Youth Altar Servers, Sunday Coffee Hour and Jazz Evensong, and Audio/Visual support, to name a few. If you feel called to serve, please fill out this Ministry Connection Form and someone will contact you!

We have an important role to play as Christians as we emerge back into society. Let us please be respectful of personal circumstances, feelings, and choices. Let us walk in love as Our Lord Jesus Christ loved us and sacrificed himself for us.

I want to express yet again my deep gratitude for the many hours of prayerful pondering and problem-solving put in by the Diocese of San Diego, and St. Michael’s Regathering Task Force, Vestry, and Staff. Feel free to reach out to myself or any parish staff or vestry members with questions or concerns.

See you IN church!

In Christ, 

Fr. Doran Stambaugh


Do I have to sit inside?
Nope. Outdoor seating with sound amplification will remain an option for the foreseeable future. This includes the priest delivering communion to those seated outdoors.

Why only one service?
There is actually theological precedence for one Sunday morning service, that is, the body of Christ gathering together as a single organism for worship. This is an ancient practice that continues in many churches to this day. We anticipate having more-than-enough capacity to accommodate a single indoor service with the additional outdoor seating.

There is also the practical challenge of pulling together enough volunteer resources to support more than one service. The pool of volunteers that serve as Sunday ushers, acolytes, readers and altar guild has been greatly reduced during the pandemic. Our base of faithful volunteers would need to grow more than two-fold in order to support an additional Sunday service.

Last, but certainly not least, having experienced the physical separation of lock-down, taking a season to worship and hang out together after church as one body will be beneficial to the spiritual and relational health of the St. Michael’s parish family.

Will we add a second Sunday service? If so, when?
This question is in the forefront of the Vestry’s mind and will be closely monitored. If the experience is that a single service is too full, the question of splitting into two services will be addressed (with growing the volunteer base as a determining factor). An additional service could be added as soon as mid-summer or early fall.

One service or two, I believe this will be a positive collective experience for the entire community.

Why is the service time changing to 9:30am?
Many area churches who offer a single Sunday morning service do so at 9:30am. The Vestry agrees that 9:30am is a reasonable compromise for a single service (which also takes into account the wide range of parishioner feedback).

What about Jazz Evensong?
Jazz Evensong will remain outside.

Will the online service still be available?
Yes! The online “Solemn Blog Mass” is here to stay. Please continue to share this digital resource to spread the Good News!

How about Saturday evening and daily masses?
Saturday evening mass remains inside the chapel at 5:30pm. Daily noon mass remains inside the chapel Tuesday through Friday.