Tuesday, November 8
Dear Siblings in Christ,
Thank you for your patience and faithfulness as we have navigated the twists and turns of life with a pandemic. I am deeply grateful for all that you have done, especially the ways in which you have demonstrated your love and care for others. Your leadership kept congregations in the Episcopal Church of Colorado from being "super-spreaders," while keeping God's people spiritually fed and active in the service of God and neighbor.
As we are (God willing) emerging from the worst of the pandemic, Canon Carl Andrews and I offer the following updates to our gathering recommendations:
While most government authorities and business entities are now mask-optional, I am keenly aware that our "littles" (i.e., those five and under) are now eligible to receive vaccines, but not all have completed the series. I also recognize that many of our health facilities continue to require masks to gain entry. Because of these realities, I strongly encourage the continued use of masks, especially in large, in-door gatherings where small children are present. This is an encouragement, not a mandate; I will trust your leadership in this matter.
I expect all clergy and laity will be vaccinated and boosted before attending diocesan events and gatherings (unless there is a medical exemption). This includes participation in events at Cathedral Ridge.
With regards to the sacrament, you may return to using the common cup; however, I invite congregations to consider continuing intinction as an alternative. I strongly suggest that parishioners not intinct for themselves, but rather each parishioner receive a host and that the chalice bearer (with hands sanitized or gloved) accepts the host from the recipient, dips it in the chalice and returns it, either handing it back or placing it on the tongue. Congregations are welcome to return to using homemade bread if that is a part of your communion practice.
As always, we remember that communion in one kind is a full and complete sacrament. Those communities who do not feel ready to return to the common cup are welcome to continue their current practices.
Congregations may return prayer books and hymnals to the pews, and leaders may consider resuming the passing of the plate at the offertory and people gathering at the altar rail to receive the sacrament.
Over the past several months, we have seen many changes in terms of masking, CDC guidelines, and the lifting of mandates. I pray that we will continue letting science, our medical professionals, and our commitment to being imitators of Christ guide us in how we live together as Church. Jesus commands us to love one another as he loves us.
I give thanks for all of you and for all the sacrifices you have made in the name of Love.
Yours In Christ,