Most of the restrictions on in-person worship here at St. Andrew’s are now lifted. Masks are now optional for those who are fully vaccinated. If you have not been fully vaccinated, are concerned about your health, or are more comfortable for now wearing a mask, please continue to do so. (This will be an honor system – we will not check vaccination status. If you wish help getting a Covid-19 vaccine, please see me or our Parish Nurse.)
The Governor has lifted most Covid-19 restrictions, and our Bishop is allowing each congregation to make its own decisions. I have discussed these changes with our Wardens and Vestry, and members of our Re-gathering Task Group and am now moving ahead with these new practices. I welcome your questions and concerns and am eager to discuss these changes with all members of our parish community.
I want to thank the members of our Re-Gathering Advisory Committee: Mary Boyce, Linda Brice, Patty Mannie, Judy Nelson and Pam Tinsley for their work drafting our re-gathering protocols and discussing their use. Their work is now completed.
Other changes for worship will be to open seating to most pews, end sign-in sheets, and to offer bread (wafers for now) in one’s hand and a common cup of wine or juice for those who want to receive it. (For now, please no intinction.) The pews nearest the door, behind the AV team, will for now be designated “distanced section” for those who wish to remain masked and social-distanced during worship. (Every other pew will be closed in that section.)
This has been an anxious, even fearful, year and a half of pandemic closure. Ending some of the practices that helped keep us safe, even though science and public health officials – and very effective vaccines – indicate that we can relax such practices, may stir up anxieties among us. We need to be gentle with one another and respect each person’s good decisions.
Masks will be optional for those who are fully vaccinated – some may be vaccinated and continue wearing a mask. Some may forgo the chalice of wine/juice or having bread placed in their hand. (Please know that all those who serve at the altar are fully vaccinat- ed.)
We will continue live-streaming our 10 am Sunday worship services on Facebook Live.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church The Tartan
We will allow singing, with or without masks as appropriate.
We all need to do those things that keep us and our congregation safe and healthy, such as staying home if ill, washing our hands and using hand sanitizer often. We must consider the concerns of those around us when passing the peace!
Dear friends, God has been with us through these trying times of pandemic closure. God has been with our loved ones as they struggled with this virus. We have been blessed as we cared for one another with cards and calls, prayers and acts of kindness. We thank God for the progress made in addressing this pandemic in this country through the development of vaccines and their widespread use. We will continue to care for one another and to encourage one another to consider vaccination if they have not been already. And we must support our national leaders in getting vaccines shared throughout the world.
Let us move forward as followers of Jesus here at St. Andrew’s. Let our faith in Jesus Christ guide and sustain us in making good decisions. And may we reach out and welcome others to know the loving, liberating and life-giving way of Jesus for themselves.
Yours in Christ, Martin