Our Coronavirus Response

Update on Church Reopening - April 8, 2021

Consistent with the rollout of revised State and County regulations we are happy that our church has reopened for public services! This includes Sunday services as well as sacraments and funerals. As regulations continue to change in conjunction with the established safety tiers, we will update this page to reflect our policies. Here is how our church is currently making our services available to the public.

St. John still encourages those who are at-risk and have not been vaccinated to continue participating in our services via the live stream.

What to expect
  • Masks and social distancing will be required at all times.
  • Current regulations state that indoor worship services can take place with up to 50% capacity, or as many people as can be seated while still maintaining the required 6-feet distance between individuals outside of the same household. Our experience has shown that we can sit approximately 35 people in our pews under these circumstances. Therefore 35 will be our maximum capacity until regulations are changed accordingly.
  • In order to ensure space for participants, we are asking that parishioners reserve their space online before attending.
  • Participants should check in at the entrance of the church with the greeters, and wait to be seated.
  • Pews that have cushions on them are reserved for seating, while pews without cushions are meant to stay empty to keep social distancing.
  • To increase ventilation, all doors and windows will remain open during services, weather permitting. The heater will be running, but please bring something warm if you are concerned about being cold.
  • Printed weekly bulletins will not be distributed.
  • Kiss of Peace will be offered by the blessing of the celebrant priest, but parishioners should only share the Kiss of Peace within their own households.
  • The Collection Plate will not be passed. Donations may be made online or by leaving a donation in the collection box at the entrance.
  • Mas will not be distributed after services.
  • The general confession and distribution of Holy Communion will be available to those who request it after services are completed.
  • At the conclusion of services, participants will be welcomed to exit the sanctuary from our side doors.

Update - June 3, 2020

In conjunction with the phased reopening of the State of California and the County of San Francisco, our parish in active dialogue with our Diocesan Primate, Parish Council, Altar Server and Choir members, and local officials to develop a plan for the phased reopening of the church. More information will be made available soon.

Consistant with local and state guidelines our office has reopened to the public. However, we advise that all visitors familiarize themselves with the guidelines that have been set forth. Read more about them here.

Please note that the church complex will remain closed for all none liturgical or office related activities until further notice.

We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our beloved parishioners and to uphold and serve the mission of our church. As we have continued to advise the community, please reach out to us if we can be of any support to you or other community members during this time.

Together with you in prayer,

The Leadership of St. John

Update - April 10, 2020

As the shelter-in-place order continues our parish is working hard to address the needs of our community, especially in the light of the call to "take up our Cross" is echoed in the mystery of Holy Week.

In addition to distributing food stuffs, our parish has worked with the ARF COVID-19 Task Force to get needed personal protective gear to our community members. Additionally, our youth group is spear heading the effort to raise relief funds for those impacted by the crisis.

Our prayers are with our beloved faithful during these uncertain times.

Together with you in prayer,

The Leadership of St. John

Update - March 17, 2020

We pray that this message reaches you in good spirits, despite the unique challenges of this day. Yesterday, we received word of a new step being taken for the sake of our health and safety. San Francisco County and neighboring counties have ordered all residents to shelter-in-place, avoiding leaving their homes unless for essential needs. All elders are encouraged to remain home under any circumstance. Let us receive this news with patience and determination to do whatever necessary to ensure our well-being and that of our communities.

What does this mean for St. John?

Given this new challenge, effective immediately, until at least April 9, Maundy Thursday, all services will be conducted without the participation of the faithful. This includes our weekly Lenten Vigil prayers services, as well as Sunday services. This is consistent with the guidelines set forth by our Diocese and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

These services, as we have for the past week, will be made available via our live-streaming feed, which can be found on our website or Facebook. We also plan to be offering other online experiences as well that we will announce in the coming days.

What can you do?

There are many ways for you to exercise your Christian duty during this time, and I encourage you to so as it will strengthen your spirit and bring blessings to your life.

  • Be responsible, and respect the restrictions that have been put in place. Prepare for this period of time in a sensible way, but do not give in to fear and anxiety, by over-buying or making rash decisions.
  • Observe a healthy schedule by moderating your days to include work and rest. This means also respecting the time, which should be set aside for prayer on a regular basis. Do so by participating in our online prayer services, but also in your personal time as well. This will bring you peace and comfort. It will remind you that others are truthful in greater need than us.
  • Stay in touch with friends, family, and community members. Be mindful of the reality of their situation, and provide encouragement and support if necessary. If you need support, be honest and reach out to others who can help, including myself.
  • Cherish the time you have with your family. As much as we love one another, the rhythm of our daily lives has been disrupted and this can cause tension. Think of this as a new time, that requires a new you. This new you can do many of the things the old you could not. Let's give thanks for that!

Last Sunday I preached a special sermon about this new reality, and how we can overcome. I encourage you to listen to it on our podcast page.

Please remember that though we are not together in the material sense, we are united in spirit.

With prayers,

Fr. Mesrop Ash


March 10, 2020

Dear faithful,

In our previously released statement, we reassured you that our parish was remaining informed and educated about the evolving collective response of our community regarding the COVID-19 virus. At this time consistent with the recommendations being made by our civic leaders, we are going to cancel or postpone certain special activities organized by our parish. Please read below to find out details.

However, we would like to reassure you that all religious services will continue according to our liturgical calendar, including Sunday services and Wednesday evening Lenten Vigils. All are welcome to participate, but we echo the caution expressed by myriad health departments and organizations.

  • All those who are elderly, and are currently sick or have preexisting health conditions, are strongly encouraged to avoid gatherings, and limit the chance of exposure to the Coronavirus, until such time as the potential threat has passed. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly (20 seconds or more).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid kissing or shaking hands when in public.

Understanding that some would like to attend our services, but may not be able to while exercising caution, we plan on streaming our services online during this time. The live stream can be found at stjohnarmenianchurch.com/stream.

During this season we encourage you to remain prayerful and hopeful. The onslaught of news about the closure of institutions and cancellations of eagerly awaited events can tempt us to be overcome by frustration, fear, and anxiety. However, with God's blessing and support the measured proactive response of our governmental, medical, and community institutions will protect our health and wellbeing. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us at (415) 661-1142.

With prayers,

Fr. Mesrop Ash


Updates (04/10/2020)

  • All services will only be available via online stream
  • All fellowship gatherings following services are suspended
  • Parish Assembly (March 15): Postponed until further notice
  • Sunday School: Suspended until further notice
  • Winter Shelter Service Dates (March 17, 18): Canceled
  • Fun, Fashion, and Lunch with Ladies Society (March 19): Canceled
  • Gate to Heaven Film Screening (March 22): Postponed
  • Lenten Vigil with Isabel Bayrakdarian (March 25): Postponed
  • Service Trip to Armenia (June 6-20): Canceled

Note: All liturgical activities will continue as usual, unless otherwise announced. Services will be streamed at stjohnarmenianchurch.com/stream