Saints,

            At the Session meeting last night (8/11/21) it was decided that masks will be worn at all times while we are in the church buildings starting immediately.  In this case, “we” means everyone over the age of 5.  The situation and the severity of the Delta variant warrants that we add another layer of protection.  In connection with that decision, anyone working with the children of the church must be both vaccinated and wearing a mask at all times while in the building.  If an activity takes place outdoors, then masks do not have to be worn.

            Session will (as the Session has done throughout all this Covid time) reevaluate this policy each month.     

            So… in breaking all this down.  Worship will remain in the sanctuary.  Upon entering the building everyone will need to put on a mask.  We will try to have masks on hand for those who have either forgotten or for visitors who are unaware of our current policy.  Wearing our masks we will still be able to participate in worship as we normally would do with singing and responsive readings.  We will still be able to greet one another and have conversations all while wearing our masks.  Unfortunately, it will mean we will have to forgo communion until the time comes when we can again gather without masks.  Having finally gotten the Livestream to work consistently, we will be Livestreaming our services on Facebook and then posting them after the service on both YouTube and our website.  Children’s Church will go on as normal just now with masks.

That’s the rule of thumb for in the building activities.  Everything can continue as normal… just now with masks.  Sunday School can continue.  If a PW circle meets here at the church or a committee wants to have a meeting, just remember to wear your mask.  Youth activities will continue and will likely move outdoors as the weather permits.  The Youth group that sweats together, stinks together. 

          We will continue to meet for our Wednesday midday Bible study… but, we will have to temporarily stop our eating together afterwards.  In fact, any plans that would have involved eating indoors will need to be postponed.

          Saints, I know this Covid surge is frustrating.  I know we were feeling hopeful just a month or so ago that we were leaving all this behind.  Even as we began to make plans for the Fall, there was always that understanding that we might have to change and turn on the proverbial dime.  The Session does not make this decision lightly and we know that it will cause aggravation for some.  If you feel that you can’t wear a mask or you have some condition that would be bothered by wearing a mask for a period of time, then it is best for you to stay out of the church buildings at this time.  It’s already a difficult time, none of us need to make it more difficult. 

          This is the time for that Christian principle of mutual forbearance that Paul talks about in Romans 14.  To update verses 19 and the beginning of 20… “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Do not, for the sake of masks, destroy the work of God.”  What we’ve been hearing these past few Sundays from Ephesians 4 helps us to guide us through this time.  Humility.  Gentleness.  Patience.  Making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Building up in love.  These are the faithful principles that are guiding us through these weird and difficult times.  Our fight against this virus won’t last forever.  The Word of God is forever.    

           

                                                                                    Yours in Christ,

                                                                                    Dr. Thom