On Tuesday, the CDC Director stated that “fully vaccinated” people who wear masks can safely attend many indoor events including worship services. “Fully vaccinated” means you have received both shots (if necessary) of a vaccine and for two weeks after the last shot have had no COVID symptoms. Masks remain essential, as does social distancing, but the good news is that vaccinations are making things much safer for people who get them.
Attending an indoor event with a large group of people still remains risky, but our spaces are large enough that we can spread out and meet in a safe manner. For now, masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing, no congregational singing, no bulletins or other handouts and taking communion sitting in pews with provided communion sets remain necessary. People who have not yet been vaccinated or who refuse to get vaccinations are still at the same level of risk as all of us were over a year ago. We have not reached herd immunity, and it remains unclear how great the risk is of vaccinated people still passing the virus on to unvaccinated people through physical contact and close interaction even with masks on. The same principle still applies: Love your neighbor by wearing a mask.
Even though the same precautions will be in effect that have existed since we returned to in-person worship services, this new declaration by the CDC means fully vaccinated people can feel safe coming back to worship. Some people, however, who have compromised immune systems due to a health condition or other reasons should still exercise caution and consult their doctors about whether coming back to church is safe.
We will continue to stream worship services online via the church web site, YouTube and Facebook Live. This will always continue even long after the pandemic is over.
My hope is that our time apart over the last year will make us commit more than ever to worshipping together in person. The importance of seeing the faces and speaking in person to folks in your faith community matters just as much as it always has. Be present in our beautiful church sanctuary, hear the music live and enjoy the gift of being in the same room with your fellow believers.
What the writer of Hebrews had to say centuries ago still applies today:
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I encourage you to make participating in the worship of God an essential and non-negotiable part of your weekly schedule. I understand all too well the demands upon people’s time and energy in our present culture, but if we claim God is the most important part of our lives then our actions should include making that time to worship each week. Now that vaccinations are making it possible to do so safely once more, let us make our worship service a central part of our life together as a church.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Chase Peeples
P. S. If you’d like to read more about what the CDC Director said about attending worship services, here is a good article: https://religionnews.com/2021/04/27/cdc-director-masked-fully-vaccinated-people-can-attend-worship-indoors/
We're Park Hill Christian Church in KC MO. We seek to follow Jesus by praising God, loving those we meet and serving the vulnerable.