May 15, 2021

From the transition task force

As you may have read or heard, both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Sevices (MDHHS) have released some additional guidance to those individuals who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Central to this guidance is the recommendation that fully vaccinated individuals may elect to stop wearing masks in both indoor and outdoor spaces. 

This is great news for our state and nation as it is one large step toward a post-COVID world. It is further confirmation of the excellent nature of the available vaccines to limit not only the contraction of, but the unintended transmission of COVID-19 as well. If you are not yet vaccinated and are 12+, please be sure to make an appointment and get your vaccine! 

will we still need to wear masks at church?

Many reading may wonder if those who are fully vaccinated will still need to wear masks while attending in-person worship. As of this moment, the two-fold answer is both "yes" and also "but probably not for much longer."

Given the sudden arrival of this announcement from the CDC and MDHHS, and with only a day or two to consider the matter, the Transition Task Force recommends that we follow our current procedure until such time as we are able to bring a recommendation to the Session for consideration. The next Session meeting is Tuesday, May 18 and any change to church policy governing mask wearing while indoors will come via our usual communication channels.

So for this Sunday, that means we will all keep wearing our masks while indoors for church events, no matter your vaccination status. 

It is important to keep a few things in mind while we plan for the next stage of life as a church congregation in the post-mask era:

  • > This guidance pertains only to those who are fully vaccinated, which means only those who are two weeks past their second dose (Pfizer, Moderna) or two weeks past their J&J shot. If you are fully vaccinated, great! If you are not yet vaccinated—please do so, for the sake of others and yourself!
  • > As children 0-11 are still not yet eligible for the vaccine they are still vulnerable to COVID. As our church congregation has many 0-11 year olds who are part of our church family, we must remember the role we play in protecting their health as well. Plus, we don't want them to feel stigmatized or ashamed by the requirement that they must remain masked. 
  • > As pastors and leaders, we have worked very hard this past year not to create divisions within the church and we have especially resisted attempts to separate people by "healthy/unhealthy", "young/old" or other such categories. We must be cautious not to create stigmas for those who are not yet vaccinated, knowing that it is not always the case that individuals are making a choice to remain unvaccinated.

What comes next will happen as all of our major decisions regarding the pandemic this past year have happened: with Session deliberation and consent on how to proceed. We ask for your prayers that our leaders are filled with wisdom and grace to know how best to care for our church family and to provide a place for us to worship God together. 

Thank you!

Respectfully,

Joseph Novak, senior pastor
on behalf of the Transition Task Force

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