|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on May 19, 2021 at 3:35 PM|
With the news of CDC guidelines and state restrictions being lifted comes both enthusiasm and reluctance. I know this because I’ve heard from many of you directly! We rejoice for what these new guidelines mean for us all—that vaccines work and the end of this pandemic is in sight. I thank God for the intellectual gifts given to scientists to get us to this point.
Here at St. Alban’s, some protocols are changing while others will remain in place for a bit longer. Our Bishops are currently preparing new guidelines for our Diocese in light of the positive strides made against the spread of COVID-19. These new guidelines will continue to take into account both science AND our Christian values of love and inclusion. As I said during the announcements this past Sunday, we’ve had many opportunities to practice patience, compassion, and flexibility during the pandemic, and we need to keep leaning into these values to see us through the next few months.
Below is a summary of our current protocols, but make sure to check your newsletter every week, because more changes are coming soon.
• As of this Sunday, singing will be allowed! This week we will once again be able to sing our beloved hymns. In June, we will reintroduce service music such as the Gloria, the Doxology, the Sanctus, etc. I am so excited to hear your beautiful voices again.
• Our Diocese has not yet lifted its indoor mask directive. While we are so thankful for the highly effective vaccines now available for adults and teens, there is still a significant portion of our parish’s population (children under 12) who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and therefore are encouraged to wear masks inside. While cases of severe COVID-19 are rare in children, they do occur. We do not want to exclude our young people from worship. As adults, it is our responsibility to model the behaviors we’re asking our children to emulate. We also have several beloved congregation members with compromised immune systems and we want to protect them as well. Jesus constantly aligned himself with the most vulnerable people of his time—widows, children, the sick, the outcast, and the poor. A church is a different entity from a business. It is at the heart of our mission to welcome all and to “respect the dignity of every human being,” to quote the Baptismal Covenant. So while we may feel eager to be maskless at church once again, we are not quite ready for that at St. Alban’s. We will continue to listen to the wisdom of our Bishops and will reevaluate this policy regularly and make adjustments as appropriate. One exception to this is that preachers who are vaccinated may now remove masks to preach sermons, as long as they are a sufficient distance from others. This will be beneficial to those who have trouble hearing.
• For now, we continue to observe room capacity limitations, pre-registration for worship attendance, and minimizing contact by not passing the offering plate, kneeling at the altar rail, no coffee service, etc. We anticipate that many of these restrictions will be lifted in June. Please stay tuned to our parish communications to stay up-to-date.
St. Alban’s, THANK YOU. Thank you for your faithfulness this past year and in the weeks ahead. Thank you for all your encouragement along the way and your good humor as we have navigated so many challenges together. With love and deep gratitude, I am
Yours in Christ,