IN-PERSON WORSHIP - NEW CDC MASK UPDATE 5/18/21
We are excited to announce our plan for in-person worship with new CDC guidelines regarding no masks indoors and outdoors for those who are fully vaccinated.
A national fitness franchise has a tag line, it simply reads “Judgement Free Zone.” It means the patrons can exercise free of judgement of other patrons and trainers. I love this term Judgement Free Zone – in many ways I believe that as a community of Christians believers we need to create a similar space for everyone. We hold to the truth that all are welcome, no matter who you are, you are loved. (PERIOD).
Yesterday, the CDC issued a new guidance that fully vaccinated adults can be mask free indoors and outdoors. Full disclosure Christyn and I have been fully vaccinated for over two weeks. I began to ponder what this CDC implication means for us as we gather together for worship on Sunday mornings. We are a beloved community that rejoices together, mourns together and cares for each other.
I know that some in our beloved community are fully vaccinated and others are hesitant to be vaccinated. To be vaxed or not to be is an extremely personal decision and as beloved community we are going to employ here a judgement free zone.
The question to me this morning is how we do we come together while there are some who are fully vaccinated and others who are not fully vaccinated. What can we covenant together as we enter this liminal space?
Before I answer that question, I want to remind you of the covenant that we agreed together in October of 2020 when we opened in-person worship. We listed three simple rules – 1) Wear Masks while in public spaces, while you enter and exit the building, 2) Feel free to take off your mask once seated in worship, and 3) Exit through the front of the sanctuary.
I got emails and phone calls with regards to taking off the mask while seated. Some thought we should continue to mandate wearing masks while seated. To them I responded saying, “Feel free to continue to wear a mask while being seated.” Others said, “thank you for allowing me to take off the mask while seated. If you mandated a mask for the entirety of the service, I would choose not to worship at Mt. Hope.” To them I said, “Please be mindful and wear your mask while entering the sanctuary and leaving the sanctuary.”
Over the past few weeks, you have seen a change in how we are doing worship. We are handing out bulletins, hymnals are back in the pews (Halleluiah), and no “check in” process as you enter the doors to worship our living God.
This morning I would like to propose the flowing covenant as we live into this liminal space; 1) Wear Masks while in public spaces, while you enter and exit the building, 2) Feel free to take off your mask once seated in the sanctuary, 3) Exit through the front of the sanctuary.
We can do this, we can continue to be the beloved community that Christ has called us to be and remember at Mt. Hope each one of us is working to create a judgement free zone.