COVID update: Change of Practices at Good Shepherd
Last Sunday, the Vestry discussed the most recent Diocesan guidelines for worship, and we are heartened to be able to offer the following update to our practices at Good Shepherd:
All vaccinated persons are permitted to go without masks indoors.
Those unvaccinated are expected to continue masking indoors, and of course anyone who chooses to wear a mask for whatever his/her particular circumstance or comfort is supported in doing so.
Vaccinated persons, in choir and congregation, may sing.
We will maintain a 3 foot social distance in seating to account for the reality that some in our congregation are not yet vaccinated and/or are immunocompromised. (That being said, you choose who is in your seating group; so you and a friend may sit together and maintain distance from those around you.)
You need not sign-up for worship ahead of time. You will be asked to sign-in at arrival for contact tracing purposes should someone get COVID.
Communion remains in one kind (bread only) until there is further scientific study of the healthiest practices regarding the common cup.
The Parish Hall will remain in use for overflow when the church fills and for anyone who wishes to have more space and ventilation.
Prayer books and hymnals will be placed in the pews though the bulletin will still be full-text for the ease of all, especially those worshipping from home.
The live stream will continue indefinitely.
There are other choices that are less clear-cut: for example, the exchange of the peace. We ask that everyone be mindful of the varied needs within our community and be sure to ask what someone is comfortable with before getting close.
The masking protocols above pertain not just to worship but to any gathering at the church as well as programs of the church held off-site.
It is a relief to be able to safely gather in these ways and resume more of our customs. The tendency is to call this a return to "normal". We realize, however, that COVID has changed lives irrevocably, and for some normalcy may still be a long way off. We will continue to ask how we can best respond to the needs revealed by this pandemic. And we do not take lightly the blessings of this moment.
with joy and gratitude,