I do hope that the weeks of summer have offered you and your loved ones opportunities for renewal and time away on vacation. As we prepare to welcome you all back to the block for this new program year at All Saints’, I write to offer an update on our Covid-19 protocols, especially in light of new guidance from the CDC asking for masks to be worn indoors in counties where transmission rates are "substantial" or "high" (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view).
All churches in the Diocese of Atlanta are required to follow CDC guidance and we are blessed in this parish to have experts at the CDC on our Public Health Task Force, who decided upon the protocols below with the vestry.
Thank you to each of you who responded to a survey from us that asked what you are ready for in terms of coming back to the block. Reading through those responses, it is clear to me that our parish holds a diversity of views with regard to what we are ready for, especially when it comes to gathering indoors. These protocols seek to honor that reality.
- Starting Sunday August 8, vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear masks at all indoor gatherings, including worship services, classes and meetings. Clergy and lay leaders will take off their masks to speak when leading worship or presenting at a large forum in Ellis Hall.
- All four services in the church on Sundays (8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 5:30 p.m.) will require masks, but not physical distancing. Seating capacity will be returned to normal levels.
- In addition, at 9:00 a.m., a simultaneous and identical service to the one in the church will be held in Ellis Hall. All attendees will wear masks as well as maintain physical distance of three feet between pods. If necessary, we will add a service in Ellis Hall at 11:15 a.m. with the same precautions (masks and distancing).
- The choirs, clergy and congregation will continue to sing, but will wear masks to do so.
- Registration will no longer be required to attend any of the worship services (whether in the church or Ellis Hall) nor for any other church activity other than when we would typically ask for registration (e.g. for catering purposes, or where there is a charge for an event like our Annual Parish Retreat to Kanuga).
- For all Children’s Ministries events and activities that include children under 12 we will maintain masking and three feet of physical distancing.
- Starting on Sunday, August 15, we will re-open the nursery and it will be staffed by people who are fully vaccinated and who will wear masks at all times.
It has been such a gift to see many of you again on the block after a hiatus. We have an exciting program year ahead of us and so much to look forward to as a church in the months ahead. I give thanks for your understanding and support, and for all of the ways that you make All Saints’ the remarkable church that it is.