COVID Policy Update – May 21

 

May 21, 2022
Masks required on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. service due to CDC COVID-19 community level
Dear members and friends of Chapel in the Pines,
As you know, Session and the Worship Committee are watching the COVID-19 situation closely. At its meeting in March, Session agreed on guidelines for mask wearing in our sanctuary during services, based on the CDC community level for Chatham County: when the level is low, masks are not needed; but when levels are medium or high, masks would be required for people at our services.
Unfortunately, the CDC has just released a change in the level from low to medium for Chatham County. This means we need to ask everyone attending the 11:00 a.m. service to wear a mask, so we protect each other, especially those people in our congregation who are more vulnerable, and so we do our part in stemming additional community spread.
We are all so sorry more people seem to be contracting COVID-19 and hope their suffering is minimal, and trust our actions will help lessen the spread of this infection in our community.
Thanks ever so much for your understanding. We are monitoring the situation very closely and hope, both because it means fewer people are ill, and because then masks would again be optional, that we return soonest to low community levels of COVID-19.
In gratitude for our worshipping community and with hope for a healthy start to the summer season!
                                                            
Mary Roodkowsky
Chair, Worship Committee

March 22 update

Dear Chapel in the Pines,

And the greatest of these is love … 1 Corinthians 13:13

You likely know this verse from a wedding ceremony.

I also believe that the Apostle Paul meant for these words to be used in many circumstances and relationships. In particular, the church in Corinth was trying to navigate trials and controversies in which members of the congregation held different opinions.

Granted, we do not debate food sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8) or women covering their hair with veils (1 Cor 11). But modern churches also face difficult decisions in which faithful people find themselves in disagreement.

How important, then, to realize that loving one another is the key.

On Monday, March 21, 2022, the session voted unanimously to implement a new Covid Safety Policy for Sunday worship services. I am grateful to the Worship committee for the time and effort put into these recommendations, which were guided by medical professionals in our own church. I want to make the following points clear:

– The vaccines, including the booster shots, remain remarkably effective at preventing serious illness. The session re-emphasizes that all eligible persons should be up to date on their vaccines for the common good as well as for their personal health.

– Facemasks are always welcomed. Along with social distancing, masks have proven extremely effective at preventing infection by the wearer, including in situations when other people are unmasked.

– In accordance with recommendations from Christian Education, facemasks are required for children and adults during the Sacred Art table and the nursery. This is due to the fact that children under the age of 4 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. The nursery is scheduled to reopen on April 10.

– In recognition of the new CDC guidelines, Chapel in the Pines adopts the following schedule for Sunday worship services based on the CDC levels of risk. Decisions for each Sunday will be made based on the levels of Chatham and Orange Counties the previous Friday. The tracker can be found at COVID-19 Community Levels | CDC.

 

Sanctuary mask wearing protocols: COVID-19 Community Levels | CDC
Covid-19 Community Levels Early outside service (9AM) Early service when held inside due to weather (9AM) Later service (11AM); livestream
Low level optional required optional
Medium level optional required required
High level optional required required

The new mask policy begins this Sunday, March 27. On April 3, the early service switches to 9:00.

Please reach out to me with any questions or comments. I hope that each person in our congregation will find a meaningful worship option between the three choices: the two services and the online option.

Though we want members to make their own choices, we can treat one another with the same spirit of kindness and understanding that has always characterized our church.

I am grateful to serve as pastor of a community of faith where members love one another. It is indeed the greatest of all things.

In hope,

Andrew