We are entering a new stage of the pandemic which presents particular challenges to us as a community. With the relaxation of measures such as distancing, masking, and vaccine mandates, the burden of protection is falling primarily on people who are the most vulnerable to infection and those who care for them. It is important to remember that what might be a source of relief and delight to one person may be scary and, potentially, exclusionary to another. How do we navigate this time with kindness, justice, and humility?
We consider the variety of needs in our community and do our best to balance risk and harm.
For example, allowing individual speakers, using microphones, to remove their masks substantially increases the quality of participation for people who have impaired hearing while minimally increasing risks of infections. However, some people may feel unable to serve as readers or may choose to leave their masks on while reading because COVID infection is a more serious risk in their lives.
We strive to be sensitive to the range of emotions experienced in the community.
Do not assume that everyone shares your perspective; both happiness and frustration are tempered by the knowledge that others in our community are experiencing the reverse. In particular, displays of joy or relief are unhelpful to those who are feeling heightened regret or worry.
We move slowly and cautiously, possibly more slowly than required by public health/our diocese and possibly more slowly than some of us would like.
For example, although technically permitted (as of March 10), we are not going to be lifting the capacity limits of our on-site services yet. We will take time to talk to one another, to explore creative accommodations for differing needs, and to see what the infections rates in our city do.
We practice patience with one another and with ourselves.
There are very few “right” decisions. We seek to make the best decisions we can and to share the burden of the costs of those decisions as justly as possible, acknowledging that “as possible” will always be inadequate this side of God’s Beloved Community.
We pray. Pray for wisdom, for protection, for healing, for generosity of spirit, and for one another.
I am deeply grateful for this community – there is none I would rather be navigating with during these difficult times. Thank you for your faithfulness and for your deep love for this church.
Yours in Christ,