Dear friends in Christ,
As we are now aware, the CDC has issued new guidelines strongly encouraging people who are vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus to wear masks indoors in areas with substantial or high Covid transmission rates. “Substantial” transmission rate is defined by the CDC as 50 – 99 cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days, and “high” transmission rate is defined by the CDC as more than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days. Likewise, the Secretary of Health for the State of North Carolina also shared yesterday that our numbers of infections and hospitalization are not decreasing but are rapidly increasing.
At this time I am not mandating mask wearing for any indoor church gatherings, including worship, however I am strongly advising every parish leadership team of clergy and vestry to study the transmission rate in their local context and determine what is best for your community. I recognize the need to protect all children who are not yet able to get the vaccine as well as those who are immune compromised; it is vital each parish explore every option that will keep your community safe. Please continue to use the NC County Alert System and County Vaccination Percentage as a part of your decision-making process. Know that I will continue to support the decisions made by the leadership of each church community as to what they determine is best.
Likewise, I will continue to monitor the evolving situation with the Delta variant and if it becomes necessary, I will issue a revision of the guidelines I shared in an email on June 17, 2021 (you can follow this link to read that letter).
Overall, I strongly encourage the following:
- Please host as many church-related gatherings outside as often as possible.
- Please continue to provide disposable masks and hand sanitizer at all gatherings.
- Please continue encouraging everyone in your communities to get vaccinated.
I remain grateful for the innumerable ways you are caring for God’s people and bearing witness to the Good News of Jesus’ redeeming love.