I know that we’re all coming at this from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different viewpoints. But the one thing each of us has in common is that we’re all coming at this as Episcopalians. As members of St. Paul’s. I’m not trying to preach, but we all know that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Whether that neighbor is your fellow vaccinated parishioner, a child, or an adult that isn’t able to be vaccinated, they deserve our love and respect.
This review of our COVID protocol is per the guidance of the CDC and at the urging of the bishop, who sent an email where he specifically said, “Congregations having or wanting to have ministries to families with young children should consider requiring that masks be worn at all indoor services and events”.
We’ve heard time and again that one of the things people love about St. Paul’s is the welcoming community we’ve fostered. Nobody is happy that the current COVID trend is putting more people in danger again (including those who have been vaccinated, as Paul pointed out). I understand where people are saying that masking is a personal decision and I agree in the case of restaurants and some other secular institutions. But we’re a church. We have to look at this from a community standpoint, not an individual choice standpoint. Asking people to wear a mask for an hour to show their neighbor that they love them and want them to be safe and healthy is not a big ask. Sure, we’d all prefer to not have to wear a mask. But that’s not the place we’re at in the world at this moment. And we are the vestry, the current leaders of St. Paul’s. We need to show that loving our neighbor is important to us. As our vision statement says, St. Paul’s is “A holy place where people of all ages and backgrounds come together as a family of faith, personally welcoming, knowing and caring for one another in Jesus’ name.”