Dear People of St. John’s,
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization naming COVID-19 an international pandemic. What followed was the shutdown of life as we had known it, including our community life as a parish.
This note is about how we will slowly begin to regather as a community, beginning with worship. The way to think of this is not as a light switch we flip, where everything at St. John’s is back to where it was, but a dimmer knob being slowly turned, adding more and more light. As we adjust to slowly regathering, we will continue to evaluate how things are going with the community spread of the virus, and the percentage of our people vaccinated, alongside with how well we believe we are safely handling more people at the church.
Here is a timeline of changes for the next month:
This is the beginning of our regathering as a community and not the destination. As you can see above, this is complicated, so please reach out to us with questions. While I know there will be inquiries into why we decided to do things in this way and not another, the reality is we are trying our best to make the right, early decisions in a safe enough way that we will not be forced to shut things back down.
The Gathering service will be returning as quickly as possible, but it will take a bit more time. The musicians who help lead the service must be reestablished as a team and feel safe about doing so. Also, many people who come to The Gathering have not yet been able to receive vaccinations. These two complications accompanied by the seasonality of participation in The Gathering have us initially starting with the Sunday morning offerings.
Similar planning is occurring regarding programming within the church. While we are beginning with worship and need to see how well it goes, please know that we are actively considering how to move toward using our church facilities once again.
This as a hopeful step in the right direction. It coincides with the season of Easter, a season when we are reminded of the hope that sustains us all. Let us continue to be a people of hope.