Dear Friends and Parishioners of St. John’s,
It has been wonderful to see so many folks in the pews at St. John’s over the past few weeks.
As vaccination efforts continue and CDC guidelines are updated, our diocese also continues to update its guidelines for in-person worship and other gatherings. We will continue to follow the protocols that our bishops provide as they are mandatory for all churches in our diocese.
Our bishops’ protocols take into account the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The bishops also are working with local health experts to interpret these guidelines for the particularities of our church context, so that when we gather, we may do so as safely as possible. We will continue to provide updates frequently as protocols evolve.
NEW COVID-19 PROTOCOLS COMING SOON
Please remember that if you’d like to attend worship in-person, you still must sign up ahead of time. Also, our maximum indoor capacity remains about 45 people, masked and socially-distant (regardless of vaccination status and the May 13 update from the CDC.)
Beginning on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, congregational singing returns (with masks on!) YAY!! WE CAN SING! Prayer Books and Hymnals will be returned to the pews, and our Interim Music Director will soon reach out to our Adult Choir to call together our first choir rehearsal in more than a year! It will be with masks on and socially-distanced, but again, YAY! We are not sure yet about our ability to gather the children to sing – but stay tuned!
Beginning this week, May 16, fully-vaccinated lay readers and preachers may remove their masks from the lectern or pulpit, provided that they are 20 feet away from the nearest person. “Fully-vaccinated” means that the person in question is at least two weeks out from the last required dose of their vaccine treatment.
St. John’s has just completed installation of ionizers on each of our HVAC units in the church and education buildings. (Special thanks to Al Sauer for coordinating this effort!) Ionizers are air purifying systems that remove pollutants ranging from pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander to viruses, smoke, odors, and chemical toxins. This will allow us to safely shut doors and windows and keep our worship space cooled when the weather heats up.
There is light at the end of this long pandemic tunnel, but safety remains a genuine concern. Children under 12 still are not eligible for vaccination, so young children and those with compromised immune systems remain particularly vulnerable. New variants of the virus are causing more serious disease among the young, so special awareness, care, and consideration around their participation should remain a priority.
While our return to in-person activities will be gradual over the coming months, we most certainly will mark the return to full capacity with a great big celebration whenever that day finally arrives!
‘Til then, we will keep on keepin’ on, remembering that the church is not a building. It’s a people who gather and serve – virtually and in person, it matters not! – in the spirit, power, and love of the risen Christ.
This comes with Love,