Dear friends,

When I arrived here, about 11 months ago, the “Omicron event” had just begun to ramp up, changing the COVID outlook yet another time. One of the big changes in the months following was that the responsibility shifted from the diocese to the congregations to make decisions about COVID precautions. I have been so proud of how this congregation has navigated these tough decisions so far, with outspoken care for the most vulnerable, with an emphasis on the real situation and data around us, and with patience and good humor.

Several months ago, the vestry began working on a COVID policy that would give us some stable guidelines for this “era” of COVID. It’s been hard work, and involved a deepening and increasingly more honest conversation as we went along. What we discovered was that, even within our relatively small community, there are competing needs. We’ve tried hard to balance them without creating something too complicated to be of use. I want to thank Paul Holman, Ann Putallaz, Vera Schwankl, Tom Rich, and Cathy Stone in particular for their work on the details, and the whole vestry for the wisdom they brought in developing this policy.

You can read the policy and some FAQs here.

If you want a super short summary: we’re going to keep wearing masks at church until cases get pretty low, and we’re going to have coffee hour inside, but try to make it as safe as possible, and friendly for those who prefer to wear masks. But read the whole thing, we worked hard on it!

We’ll continue to talk more about this at church in the weeks ahead, including lots of details about coffee hour during the announcements so that everyone knows what we’re doing. We’re going to be able to best balance our different needs and caution levels by being considerate of and honest with each other. When you’re done with your coffee, put your mask back on so that someone who is more cautious than you feels comfortable coming up to talk to you! Be brave and ask someone to put their mask on so that you can continue a great conversation! If the way we are doing things isn’t working for you, be a part of changing it by offering feedback, imagining a different way, and volunteering to help make it happen.

As wild as this continuing pandemic has been, I’m glad to be in these times with all of you, and I know that we’ll continue to figure this out together.

In hope,

Rev. Anne

Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay