Jesus commands us to love our neighbors, which includes doing what we can to keep them and ourselves safe in a public health crisis. With regret, due to the spike in Covid cases in our area, I am asking you to reinstate mask-wearing for all (except while reading or preaching) for indoor worship in our diocese.
I have so enjoyed our brief respite from most restrictions in worship. Like all of you, I hoped and prayed that the drop in Covid cases we saw earlier in the summer would prove to be the end of the pandemic. Sadly, the choice of many people in our area to remain unvaccinated is allowing the pandemic to continue. Given the fact that children and some people with health conditions cannot yet be vaccinated, and that even vaccinated adults can catch breakthrough cases (albeit with far better outcomes than unvaccinated people), it seems that the responsible thing to do is keep ourselves safe with masking during indoor worship. I am saddened by the need to tighten restrictions once more, but this message comes after review of the concerning news of a Covid spike, and after discussion with members of our Public Health Task Force.
I ask you to join me in prayer that the current growth in cases is short-lived, and I ask you to urge your members to be vaccinated, for the sake of public health in our community. I hope we can remove the masking requirement soon. But for now, I believe that Jesus’ command to love our neighbor compels us to do what we can to protect our neighbors and our community from this disease. I am grateful to all of you for your leadership in this trying time.