14 May A Word from our Pastor: Pandemic Protocols Update
I’ve been in conversation with our church council, deacons, and church staff over the last few weeks about our pandemic protocols. I was already in the process of releasing a timetable for changes. The encouraging news yesterday concerning the mitigation of the virus will enable us to move sooner on these than anticipated.
Vaccines are readily available and the ages of those who qualify to receive one continue to expand as well. I’m pleased to say that Hoskins Drug Store will be conducting a drive through vaccination clinic on our parking lot on Friday, May 21st (Amanda is serving as staff liaison in this effort). In my view, there is absolutely no reason for people not to be vaccinated if they want to be.
Yesterday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new guidelines which relax mask wearing and social distancing for persons who have been vaccinated. Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has been an important resource for us and this news is a welcome development.
With this in mind, our church staff will begin the process of easing restrictions, removing signage, and changing messaging on our campus as it relates to the pandemic. You may notice a few changes sooner than others. For example, the ropes in the Sanctuary will be removed by May 30th (we still have a sound system being installed this upcoming week and hymnals to replace!) We will continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic upon our community to help inform our decisions.
The last 14 months have been incredibly challenging for us. We have struggled with the fears and limitations of the pandemic while trying to make good decisions about our families, schools, jobs, and lives. I have tried to lead us to do the same as a church. It has not been easy but you all have responded beautifully to what we’ve needed to do in order to continue gathering as a church family. I know you will do the same in the days to come.
In the last church council meeting, I described life in our church using four interlocking circles representing periods of transition. The first two circles involve Re-Gathering and Re-Connecting as a family of faith. Simply put, being in a room together is not the same as sharing life together. Some of us will take longer to feel free to be around people once again—but it’s time to begin the journey.
On a related note, some schools, businesses, and events may continue to require facial coverings and social distancing for the time being. Please be respectful and cooperate with these expectations until they change. The news from the CDC is a turning point, but let’s continue to be good neighbors.
If you haven’t been already, I hope you’ll once again make in-person, on campus worship a part of your lives. For now, please know of my gratitude for your prayers and faithfulness as we serve the Lord, together. See you soon!