COVID Update from the Session

Dear All Saints Family,

The Session is writing to you today to update you on our COVID policy for Worship on Sunday mornings. We continue to be grateful to Christ Community for hosting us on Sunday mornings and to you for your patience with the Session as we do our best to navigate our current circumstances.

We also want to remind you that our primary concern as we regularly re-evaluate our policies is how to best love our members. As most of you probably know, there is a lot of information available online about COVID. So much of it, and so much in conflict, that it is difficult to know what to believe and how to act with wisdom. In this context, the Session does not see its role as one of sifting through the conflicting concerns and choosing a side. We have members of our congregation who are more persuaded by one narrative and some more persuaded by another narrative. Our calling—our greatest desire—is to love all of our members where they are. Whatever their fears or concerns; whatever their confidence about a particular narrative; we are determined to love and to act with and out of love and concern for everyone.

We have already made two changes since we began worshiping in person. First, we have restored the seating to a more uniform set of rows and, second, we have also restored Communion to our weekly worship.

With our desire to worship God faithfully and love our members well in mind, the Session has revisited our COVID policy and made the following decisions.

First, we will continue wearing masks for the time being. We think it is safe to say that everyone is ready to put the masks away forever. However, we want to create an environment in worship that establishes the greatest possible confidence for all of our members that they will be safe and can return as soon as possible to join us. If we were to remove the mask requirement at this time, we would make it less likely rather than more likely that our high-risk members would join us. We have discussed this with our hosts. It is their desire to require masks of their members as well, but because of the size of their congregation, they do not believe they can enforce it. Nonetheless, as a result of your patience and willing submission, you have been very good about wearing masks in worship. For the time being, then, out of love for all of our members and especially those who are high-risk, we will continue to wear masks.

Second, we plan to remove the plexiglass from the pulpit. The decision to include the plexiglass was originally motivated by the desire to allow the ministers to remove their masks while they were in the pulpit and still protect the congregation. However, the result has been very unsatisfactory. A glare has kept some in the congregation, and at times everyone on Zoom, from being able to see the minister’s face at all. Furthermore, when Pastor Matt and Pastor Nathan touch the pulpit, it shakes the plexiglass which then causes the glare to bounce around and become a significant distraction. We have received multiple comments from the congregation about this, and we’re listening. However, in order to further mitigate the risk, we will be moving the pulpit back on the stage and moving the front row a bit further back in the room to place more distance between the minister and the congregation. We will also be serving communion from two tables, each placed in front of a section of seating, so that the uncovered elements are not beneath the minister who is reading during the Lord’s Supper. The Session believes that these measures will provide an amount of protection equivalent to the plexiglass.

As has been true from the beginning of this process, the Session will continue to reassess our policies and communicate with the congregation when these policies change. We value your feedback and appreciate your patience as we seek to worship the triune God and love our members and visitors well in this difficult time.

The Session