May 14, 2021
Greetings, St. Paul’s family!
Yesterday’s announcement from the CDC was a watershed moment in this pandemic. It is really good news. I am writing you today to discuss how I anticipate these changes will impact us at St. Paul’s, specifically during worship on the next two Sundays.
If you have not seen them yet, the new CDC guidelines no longer require mask-wearing or social distancing for fully vaccinated people in most indoor and outdoor environments. Exceptions include public transportation, hospitals, homeless shelters, or where federal, state, or local laws still require it. You can read the full guidelines here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
What is unknown at this time is how these changes will affect protocols in schools and summer camps. The CDC is updating those guidelines currently, but they have not been released as of the time of my writing.
These will be particularly helpful for what we do at St. Paul’s because we have children with us in worship who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Therefore, because this announcement is less than 24 hours old and our state and Diocesan policies have not had time to adapt, here is what you can expect for at least the next two Sundays at St. Paul’s.
What is Changing:
- Fully vaccinated preachers and lay readers no longer need to be masked during any indoor service at St. Paul’s.
- Outdoor services already require no masks for congregants standing or sitting at their seats during the liturgy. This will now include singing as well.
- Singing is back! Beginning on Pentecost Sunday, we will resume masked singing indoors during public worship. This will include the return of our choir at some services.
- No more registration. We are eliminating all pre-registration requirements for any service at St. Paul’s. Parishioners will only need to sign in at the church door for contact tracing purposes. Reserving seats will no longer be necessary.
What is Not Changing (at least for now):
- Mask Wearing. For now, we ask that everyone plan to wear a mask inside for at least for the next two Sundays. However, as soon as there is an official policy change from the Diocese, we will implement it at St. Paul’s.
- Social Distancing. For similar reasons, we will also continue socially distanced seating in the nave, chapel, and outdoors. This also may change soon pending updates to CDC, state, and Diocesan guidelines. As soon as it does, we will integrate the new protocols into our life at St. Paul’s.
All told, this is all excellent news and the right move for us to start getting back to church. We have four services on Pentecost Sunday at 8:00am, 10:00am, 3:00pm (Evensong in the nave) and 5:00pm. Find your red clothes and start making plans for which service you will join us for on the feast day. Again, there will be no need to register for any service; just come!
On the Sunday after Pentecost, we will return to our regular summer schedule of 8:00 am, 10:00 am, and 5:00 pm. I am hopeful that by then, we will know more and continue this trend of getting back together in familiar ways. I will also update you once we understand how these new guidelines impact the church offices and small groups meeting on campus. Stay tuned.
Easter Peace friends,