Pastoral Letter: Return to Worship May, 2021

May 26, 2021

 

Dear ECOT Parish Family and many friends,

 

We are pleased to announce major steps in returning to full Sunday worship beginning this Sunday, May 30th!!  We are listening closely to all authorized organizations in this announcement.  They ask us to remind you the decision to attend any Transfiguration worship or fellowship event in person includes your understanding that we all take personal responsibility for our own health and potential exposure to a variety of pathogens we obviously cannot eliminate totally.  We cannot know and will not ask the vaccination status of any participant, so we balance the best practices of safety protocols with the overwhelming need to move through and past this pandemic chapter as a unified, welcoming and healing congregation.

 

This Sunday we resume eucharistic worship at Vail and Edwards with no pre-registration and no numerical limits on attendance!  We resume singing hymns and chanting the various eucharistic tunes we have missed so terribly this past year!  We resume serving the communion bread in a standing fashion, as we have done for holiday services the past 30 years!  We resume a coffee visitation outdoors after each service!  We resume Sunday School in Edwards as we rebuild the habit of family Sunday worship attendance!  And we resume scheduling beloved family life congregational events out of doors!  Thanks be to God!

 

We will no longer require masks for adults to enter our worship services, although those who are not vaccinated are strongly advised to wear a mask, as are those who regularly interact with an immunocompromised family member or other close contact.  We stress categorically that all are welcome in this church without judgement or commentary about how one appears in worship; for us that means whether masked or unmasked you are welcomed with the full warmth and love of our entire parish family, just as Jesus welcomed all throughout His ministry.  We understand the hesitancy of some not yet comfortable with attending public gatherings unmasked, and we promise to be cautious and sensitive in serving all who join us in a Christ-like manner.  Jesus is generally more concerned with our inner selves!  We as your clergy team have been asked to mask during the distribution of communion as we do not know who is vaccinated and who is not, which we think prudent for now.  We have also been asked to defer serving the common cup, the only method of sharing communion wine in our tradition, which also seems prudent to us for now.  And we will continue to share the Peace of the Lord by verbal greeting and not by physical contact as we move back towards full recovery.

 

To protect our children who do not have access to vaccines, Mary Cotton and all volunteer staff with Children’s Ministries will continue to be masked during all interactions with our children.  Children 3 years old and older will continue to wear masks while indoors. As weather permits, Sunday School and other Children’s Ministries gatherings will be held outdoors.

 

We ask for everyone’s compassion, generosity and patience as we move forward.  The love of Christ unites us with a strength far stronger than anything which seeks to divide us…always!  May the Lord bless and keep us, this Sunday and always.  See you soon!

 

                         

Father Brooks Keith, Rector                    Mother Emily Lukanich, Vicar

 

Deacon Michael Williams

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