Dear Saint John’s Community,
I am writing to update you on how we are adjusting our plans to minimize risk while still preserving the opportunity for a glorious Christmas at St. John’s.
Bishop Budde has written to church leaders in the diocese with her guidance, stating that we have permission to continue to have in-person worship if we choose. Based on consultation with health experts, it is her belief that in addition to being vaccinated and boosted, the most important thing is for people to be vigilant about optimal mask practices.
At St. John’s, we plan to hold all scheduled services in person, but please be advised of the following:
- If you feel sick in any way, please stay home and enjoy the service virtually.
- Proper mask wearing will be required. If you plan to attend, please be sure you have a well-fitting mask that covers your nose. The best method is either to use an N95 mask, or to double mask with one of the layers being a standard surgical mask.
- All readers and clergy will now keep masks on including while speaking, with the sole exception being the preaching of the sermon.
- Eucharist will be in bread only.
- We will block off some of the pews to increase the space space between people in the church.
It is a blessing that we have a dedicated and skilled tech team who can provide a high-quality online worship experience for those who choose it. If you do not feel safe, we encourage you to stay home and experience worship online through our website or Facebook. We will stream the 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. services on Christmas Eve. (We will not have streaming for Christmas Day or this Sunday, but will return to streaming on January 2nd.)
We are aware of one usher who served at the 7:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. services on Sunday, who was masked the whole time while at church and showed no symptoms, but who tested positive Monday night. There will inevitably be other cases, and it is up to all of us to determine what feels right for our level of participation.
Whether or not we will get to see one another in-person at Christmas this year, I wish you a merry Christmas. The birth of Jesus was a holy disruption for the world. What we are experiencing today is a time of great disruption, and I pray that we will let it bring us to focus more deeply on the things that matter most as we hold one another in our hearts.