Dear friends,

Since my last email, it seems that the COVID-19 situation in our area has continued to get worse. Suburban Cook County has moved from a "Substantial" to a "High" level of community transmission. Many governments and businesses are re-instituting mask mandates (including the City of Chicago for all indoor public spaces as of Friday). As a result, the Vestry decided last night to require that masks be worn by everyone, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors at Emmanuel. This will apply to Sunday services, to meetings and ministries, and to all outside groups using our space. It will include the upcoming Garage Sale.

This was not an easy decision or one which was taken lightly. But it is our hope that this will allow us to continue to worship and gather in way which is safe for everyone, especially those who are unable to get vaccinated or at higher risk of serious illness. To be frank, I know some of our parishioners will not be pleased with this action. But I ask you to please remember that your parish leadership is trying to make sound decisions in a world full of uncertainty right now, and that all we want is what is best for our church family.

The good news is that we believe that this will provide the necessary margin of safety to still resume congregational singing in the fall. Thus, as of right now, the plan is to return to two services (8am and 10am) on Sunday, September 12th. As has been our practice, the 8am service will be without music and the 10am service will have everyone singing hymns once again, led by our devoted choir. For those who may be nervous about the safety of singing, please remember that you can always attend the early service or sit in the rear pews, which will remain spaced out for social distancing. And live-streaming will continue for those uncomfortable returning in person at all.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I always welcome your responses. Have a great week!