Session Update – COVID-19 Response

Grace and peace,

I hope and pray this letter finds you and your loved ones healthy and whole.

From the onset of the pandemic, the session of CitP has been committed to offering a variety of worship options. Into the foreseeable future, we will continue to offer the 9:30 outdoor service and the 11:00 indoor service, which is livestreamed and recorded. Regarding these options, we trust that each person will make the best decision for themselves and their loved ones.

Session is also committed to continually reassessing our COVID-19 safety policies. At the called session meeting on Thursday, August 5, 2021, the following motion was passed unanimously:

Based on the changing impact in our area from COVID-19 and out of loving concern for the care of every member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12), the session of Chapel in the Pines, in an effort to protect congregants and staff, mandates that all who enter our premises be continuously masked inside.

The CDC has reversed policy and now recommends that all people, whether vaccinated or not, wear masks indoors in public places. Session will continue to follow CDC guidance in making decisions for CitP.

What you will not find in any CDC report is a reference to the Apostle Paul, yet this is the heart of our session’s decision. To the ancient church in Corinth, Paul pointed out that a body has many members, yet all are part of the whole. So it is the with the church (see 1 Cor 12).

In this case, we have members of our congregation as well visitors from the larger community who, due to their age and prior health conditions, are either ineligible to receive the vaccine or at greater risk for COVID-19 even if fully vaccinated. Scientific evidence shows that vaccinated people can infect the unvaccinated. While there is also evidence that this new delta variant of COVID-19 is “breaking through” and infecting vaccinated people, the virus is far more dangerous and deadly for those unable to receive the vaccine. Therefore, we will all wear masks to protect every single body who gathers, “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13).

If one member suffers, then all suffer. The reverse is also true — if one member rejoices, then all rejoice (1 Cor 12:26). The latter reminds me of our call to worship: “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). It is a joy to be a member of this body of faith, and I look forward to worshipping with each one of you.

With prayers for health and wholeness,