By: Krista Smith : March 09 2021 : (0) Comments
As we pass the one year mark since life changed so drastically, rays of light begin to appear at the end of what feels like a very long tunnel. Many of you have received vaccinations and many are closer to receiving them. As summer moves into full swing, we are happy to be gathering in-person safely while still offering live-stream options for worship.
We rejoice that the number of new Covid cases in Stark County continues to decrease, while we keep in our prayers those who are currently infected and those who struggle with the long term effects of the illness.
In light of the new data and science about the disease, St. Jacob’s Council has moved us into a new phase of our Covid precautions.
When groups are gathering in the building throughout the week they may agree among themselves to allow the vaccinated members of the group to go without masks. Remember also that masks do not need to be worn outside, and the pavilion can be a less risky place to meet, especially as the weather has been nice.
Worship will move inside in-person during inclement weather and on the first Sunday of each month during the summer (July, August and September). While in the Orange level, masks will be required during worship/large group activities. We know that masking is cumbersome, but it is still recommended by the CDC for groups that are of mixed vaccination status. Additional reasons for continuing to mask are that our children under twelve years old will not have the opportunity to be vaccinated until the fall, and we have others in our midst who can’t be vaccinated for various health reasons. Wearing a mask continues to be a good way to protect and love our neighbor. Wearing the masks also allows us to loosen the restrictions on congregational singing, and increase the number of people we can accommodate in the building. When Stark County reaches the Yellow level, masks will become optional during worship/large group activities for those who are fully vaccinated. Masks will continue to be required for those who are not vaccinated.
There have been questions about returning to a more familiar form of communion. As for right now, the CDC’s Guidelines for Faith Communities still recommend using individual communion packets and communing in place. We will watch for any changes.
- July 4, Aug. 1, Sept. 5 and anytime there is inclement weather (we will attempt to notify folks at least two hours in advance in case of weather issues).
- masks required until we drop to Yellow Level.
- distancing in the sanctuary will be at your own discretion (please ask before sitting too close to someone else).
- the service will be shown on the screen in Garnes Hall for those who prefer more spacing between themselves and others.
- no reservations or limits in numbers.
- continues to be the less risky way to be together and is encouraged by the CDC’s Guidelines for Faith Communities.
- On Sundays when we worship outside masks are optional.
- Bring your own chairs or sit at picnic tables or chairs set up in the pavilion.
- The service will continue to be live-streamed on Facebook and recordings are available soon after the service via our website and YouTube channel.
- Zoom will begin to be faded out as we can ensure folks have access to the online worship by simply visiting our church website.
- If you need assistance, please call the office.
The council thanks the Safe Sanctuary Team for all of the work that they put into the plans and guidance throughout this year and last year. As things seem to be winding down, the council will take over implementing the plans they had in place and monitoring continuing guidance from the CDC, etc. to allow for sabbath rest for these folks who have worked tirelessly on these things!
As always, these plans will continue to change as hopefully the numbers continue to improve and the science gets better. Thank you to everyone who has been vaccinated!