The CDC, local Public Health Authorities and the Diocese have issued updated guidance on the COVID virus and the continuing pandemic as infections are again on the rise and hospitalizations are increasing quickly. The only change to St. Matthew’s current practice is that masks should be worn when there are gatherings at the parish. The Diocese has not “changed” any of the other options. Fully vaccinated choir members can still sing without masks (although we want them in the choir loft 20 ft. from the congregation) and the clergy and other fully vaccinated individuals actively leading worship are also able to read and sing without masks (again those activities take place away from the gathered congregation). Masks are still required for clergy and others during the administration of the bread during communion because of our close proximity to each person who will be removing their mask to receive communion.
Therefore, the Vestry and clergy strongly encourage everyone wear a mask regardless of vaccination status while in the parish buildings (both pre-school and parish). On Sundays, the ushers will have masks available for anyone who does not have one. Everyone is welcome to attend worship at either service as there are no numeric limitations on attendance.
Fully vaccinated small group gatherings can decide when they have gathered, if they wish to wear masks during their meeting or if they feel comfortable deciding to remove their masks for their time together. Our goal remains the same to protect the vulnerable and to extend hospitality to everyone by taking on the responsibility of wearing masks at worship and in larger gatherings in order to prevent an outbreak of the latest viral variant which spreads so easily. We appreciate your willingness to protect those around you by wearing a mask. We invite your prayers for those impacted by the pandemic and for those who are sick.
The Rev. Dr. Pat Miller+