A Few Words About Masks from Rev. Michelle
With the rates of vaccination so high in our region, we have been seeing a slow decline in the use of masks in public places. This is a good thing! And what a relief! Yet, it can make us blind to the fact that there are many who, for various reasons, have not been able to be fully vaccinated. And these people still need to protect themselves with masks.
I’ve polled many of my friends who lead congregations from various states across the church and the majority of them are still requiring masks for indoor worship. Some are not. There is certainly no consensus. Our own bishop, Andy Dietsche, has asked each congregation to decide how to move forward. Of course, the issue is that the rules are different whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated and this is not something to be overlooked.
How we invite people to worship matters are great deal if we want to make sure everyone truly feels welcome at God’s Table. Just like a few stairsteps can prevent people from coming into a building because they need a ramp, if we do not do what we can to welcome those who still need to wear masks, we may unwittingly create two classes of people. To follow Christ means that we concern ourselves with whomever comes to the Table in our midst. No one should feel estranged for any reason.
This past Sunday, because of a few factors (it was exceedingly hot, the number of people worshipping was small enough, and everyone was spaced out), I invited people who were comfortable to do so to take off their masks. Many people in the congregation did remove their masks, and several people decided to keep them on. I didn’t ask why anyone made the decision they did but it’s clear to me that, as a congregation, we are not ready to be without masks completely.
For the time being, I’m asking that everyone please continue to wear a mask to Sunday worship at 10:00 am. For the next few Sundays, we will wait until the community is gathered before we discern whether it’s wise to invite people to remove masks. I realize that it would be easier to say either “mask” or “no mask” but it’s just not that simple right now.
My friends, the steps we are making as we gradually move out of this pandemic are heartening. I’m extremely thankful that we are worshipping in-person and now I am glad, yet cautious, as we take this next step. If you have any questions about this or would like to talk with me, please reach out to me.
And thank you in advance for helping me to continue to ensure everyone is welcome at St. John’s.
In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle
Thank you from Deacon Sue
Thank you to all who participated in and attended my last Sunday as deacon at St. John’s on June 13th. I greatly appreciate your efforts in making it a day to remember. Thanks also to all who contributed to the Community Fund which will enable St. John’s to continue its social concerns ministry in new and broader ways. And finally, a big thank you to Michelle for her support and encouragement over the past 5 years. She continues to be a gift to us all as our priest, teacher, spiritual guide, pastor, and friend.
With a grateful heart for my time spent with you, I send love and prayers for a safe and happy summer.
Deacon Sue Bonsteel
June 27, 2021
The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company. All are welcome to attend. The selection for July 13 is ‘Humankind, A Hopeful History,” by Rutger Bregman. Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.
Finance Meeting: This Tuesday, June 29 at 6:30 pm the Finance Team begins the process of developing next year’s budget. Interested in attending and learning more about church finance? Email Rev. Michelle for the Zoom link.
Angel Food East is in need of volunteers on Thursdays: drivers and kitchen helpers are both needed. Join a fun crew to help feed home bound people in our community. Speak to Rev. Michelle or Lynn Dennison if you’re interested.
Voices Heard: A series of panel discussions sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade is deeply entrenched in the structural systems and legislative actions that govern communities today. This series of panel discussions organized by the Reparations Committee for the Diocese of New York intends to broaden awareness and deepen our understanding of the pressing topics of an intractable nature of systemic racism on education, health, economics, gender, policing and the criminal justice system, the church and more that negatively impact people of African heritage. Bringing experts, community organizers, civic leaders, clergy and laity into dialogue will help to inform us and make commitments for engagement in our own communities as we prepare our cause for action in making recommendations for the task brought forth through Resolution regarding the Reparations Fund. All panels will take place from 7:00–8:30 p.m. on Zoom. Registration in advance is required for each individual Discussion.
- Tuesday, July 6 – The Awakening of Unwoke People: Church, Religion and State
- Tuesday, July 20 – Rectors of Color: Examining the Missed Opportunities of Deployment