CA Announcement and Re-Opening our Churches
Siblings and Colleagues:
Our State announced last week that on June 15, the color-tiered system of evaluating the health risks from COVID would be dropped altogether. That means we will no longer be in the orange or yellow tier for risk. The upshot for our churches is that there will likely be no mandates in place regulating worship or fellowship, apart from the strong recommendation that unvaccinated people wear masks.
As you make this journey from sheltering in place to the new normal, please remember that your session is responsible for making good decisions on how to reopen. We have been under legal restrictions for nearly 15 months, but now any limits will be put in place by the session of your church.
Please consider all the pastoral implications here:
- Many will be so eager to return that they will assume that there are no more risks, but that is not the case.
- Some will continue to be nervous about the risks of Covid and may not yet be fully ready to return in-person.
- Some may not yet accept Health Department’s guidance that fully vaccinated people do not need masks in many situations.
Please continue to honor the choices of members in ensuring their safety.
For all of us, this has been an emotional and mental health crisis of epic proportions. It has created stress and fear and has sparked strong feelings for protecting ourselves and our loved ones. The effects of the shelter in place orders will take some time to filter through our consciousness and leave us with some peace.
For those of you who are planning or already utilizing health measures such as wiping surfaces with disinfectant or even considering filtered air systems, you will have many more options available to you that were not available even recently. Please read the new health orders when they come out and familiarize yourself with those recommendations, as well as any requirements. (CA COVID-19 Website for information.)
No matter where you are on the “inner work” of coming to terms with the newly-regained ability to hug people, to talk to people in person, and to go outside and shop or dine in safety, let us give thanks. Thank you to our God and creator for blessing us mightily during a time of peril, and for journeying with us through the storm safely. And then let us take a moment to remember those who did not survive, those who did not have access to health care and vaccines that most of us have in this country. And also, remember those who lost jobs and homes and good health. Finally, in gratitude, let us also thank with all our hearts the many people who risked their health to keep us safe: from first responders to health care workers of all kinds, teachers, counselors and factory workers, and even the clerks at our grocery stores.
Hallelujah, the great storm is ending soon; lift up your wings and fly.
– Your Presbytery Leadership Team