ODESSA, N.Y. (WETM) – Saint John’s Episcopal Church of Catherine is celebrating its 210th year anniversary with an open-door service.
With strict COVID-19 protocol, this year is a reminder of why the church was built on higher ground, according to the Warden of the Church, Drew Guild.
“Originally, get this because we’re doing COVID here and all that kind of stuff,” said Guild. “Originally, it was set up high on the ground here, because they call it the Genesee fever, which was typhoid, which was down in the valleys of the area here, in the early 1800s.”
The service started with a walk from the founding father’s graves less than a mile from the church. As the members of the church walked down the road, bagpipes played in the background. For the procession, the clergy and the bishop stood at the front entrance.
“The reason why we had bagpipers is because in 1810,” said Guild. “Because it was just after the Revolutionary War we were still mad at Britain, we didn’t even have the war of 1812, so we followed the Scottish Anglican, hence why we had the bagpipers here and stuff.
The church followed COVID-19 protocol seating every other pew for social distancing and asking members to wear masks. They also had a roster of all those that attended the service with names and phone numbers. Those without masks were provided one and hand sanatizer was available for those in need of that as well.
“The most important thing is that we have space between the pews, and that we have a myriad of questions to ask them, take their temperature, and we have masks available if they don’t have any we have lots of hand sanitizer available, and were cleaned once a week, one on next to Trinity in Geneva We are the oldest church in the Rochester diocese and of the area,” said Guild.