Hello, Federated friends! In case there are those who are wondering why we are going to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid crowding the Narthex area, among a few other precautions as we are getting started once again with in-person worship services (June 6th, yes!)– I am going to share a piece of what my friend and colleague, Rev Scott Spencer, shared with his congregation (Mosaic United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City) recently. He says it so well, I do not need to “reinvent the wheel.” Keep in mind that our Church Board made this decision, that they did so unanimously, and that they will revisit these precautions on a monthly basis for a while– so things could certainly change (and I expect they will). Below are just some of the excellent reasons our Board has chosen this path forward. But if you can read no further– we are practicing an abundance of concern for our children and youth who are not yet able to be vaccinated, as well as for those who may visit our congregation.
“The latest CDC guidance for masks and social distancing is for what INDIVIDUALS CAN do– not what CONGREGATIONS (in which both vaccinated and unvaccinated people gather together) SHOULD do. We are committed BOTH to CDC guidance AND to the principle that we will not cause stigma about either illness or vaccination status. We encourage compassion for all who are sick and vaccination, at the soonest time possible, for all who are unvaccinated. Many congregations include people who are unvaccinated, including children, older persons who have not yet been able to be vaccinated, and some who have refused vaccination. Unvaccinated people of any age can get the virus and spread it to others who are unvaccinated. When we are among those who may be unvaccinated, we recommend being as the unvaccinated for the sake of the unvaccinated– for their safety, and to avoid stigmatizing them. We are one body in Christ, no more protected than the least protected among us.”– written by the Rev. Scott Spencer, to Mosaic United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.
A side note– just because we are discouraging socializing in the Narthex area at church doesn’t mean you cannot walk to the front area in the sanctuary where you would not be blocking traffic– and socialize (please do wear masks while indoors) with those who wish to also visit. In addition, we are encouraging people who want to socialize to make use of our classroom spaces, the fellowship hall (basement), and of course, our beautiful lawn and parking lot areas (weather permitting). What we are trying to do is create a space where everyone’s bodily autonomy is respected. Thank you for being a congregation deeply committed to compassion, care, and concern for every single other!
Rev. David Wheeler