You will have seen a couple of weeks back that the CDC issued new guidance on indoor masking, allowing for mask-wearing to be optional in counties where Covid-19 is determined to be below a certain threshold. Since then, the diocese has allowed for congregations to assess their own settings and—based on our county’s Covid assessment—the All Saints’ public health task force and vestry have approved a relaxation of our Covid protocols such that mask-wearing indoors and outdoors on our campus will be optional effective today. An exception to this will be in the church nursery, typically in operation on Sundays, where staff will remain masked. Of course, mask-wearing as optional will mean that some people will continue to wear masks at church services and gatherings and they are entirely welcome to do so. We will have a supply of K95/N95 masks available for those who would like to wear them.
We have now all spent two years making accommodations on behalf of one another so as the church we can strive together to keep everyone safe. It has been a challenging journey and I am deeply thankful for all of the patience and goodwill that you have extended to one another and to the church staff through it all. I recognize that for some of you, the news that masks are now optional at All Saints’ will be a source of relief and thanksgiving. I also recognize that there are many among us who do not have the benefits of a vaccine’s protection due to the age of members of your family or other reasons. It is essential for us to remain one body, and we will continue to adapt what we do so that we can welcome all to this community. Please do reach out to me or to any of our staff if you have suggestions or questions about your and your family’s well-being as we make this transition.
My hope and prayer is that we are finally turning the corner with this pandemic, yet I know it is possible that circumstances change in the future and we will be required to wear masks indoors again. If that is so, I am confident we will do so with grace and good humor. As things stand, let us all give thanks for the work of our public health task force and vestry, and beyond the parish all those who have served the needs of others through these difficult two years. I look forward to seeing your faces back here at All Saints’. I have missed your smiles as I am sure you have missed seeing one another. Thanks be to God for the gift of this community.