As I’m sure you are already aware, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines this week. We have also now received communication from our Conference on how to respond. Here is the email from the Kentucky Annual Conference that was sent out May 14, 2021:
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines on Thursday, May 13th, regarding the use of masks by those who are vaccinated. Please find more information from the CDC at the following link:
The Conference Re-Entry Team continues our practice to encourage churches to follow all CDC guidelines. Based on those guidelines and in conjunction with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s date for discontinuing the mask mandate, the team recommends the following:
- Persons who are fully vaccinated (two weeks post-second vaccination injection for Moderna or Pfizer; two weeks post-injection of Johnson & Johnson) may attend worship without a mask. We recommend the honor system for reporting vaccination status.
- For their protection, unvaccinated persons should continue to wear masks to worship.
- Congregational singing and choral music return to worship for those who are vaccinated.
- Hymnals, Bibles, bulletins, and other worship materials may return to the pews and worship experience.
- Regular practices for baptism (including immersion) and other celebratory ceremonies at the chancel may resume without masks for those who are vaccinated.
- At this time, we recommend continuing the use of prepackaged Communion elements.
- Social distancing for those who are vaccinated is not a requirement. However, we continue to recommend that unvaccinated persons socially distance and wear their masks.
- Churches can go to 75% capacity after Friday, May 28th, and full capacity after Friday, June 11th, assuming no changes in state guidelines.
- Because each congregation knows its context best, we recommend that each local church re-entry team chose the best response for its congregation.
- Finally, we do recommend everyone in consultation with their doctor pursue vaccination for their health and safety, including their children ages 12-16 years.
What does all this mean at our church?
In keeping with the CDC’s guidelines and the direction from the conference, we will no longer be requiring masks or social distancing for people who have been fully vaccinated. We will be operating on the honor system, but ask people to please follow the guidelines from our conference.
We are also aware that there will be individuals who even after being vaccinated, are more comfortable continuing to wear masks and social distancing. Please be respectful of these individuals wishes and allow them their 6 foot social distance.
We will still be requiring masks for all people working with children and youth, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.
We are still required to operate at a 60% capacity for the next few weeks. For these reasons, we will still be having people enter the sanctuary through the center doors so we can track numbers.
We will no longer be requiring people to enter or leave the building through specific outside doors.
We will continue live streaming the 11:00.
On June 6 we will move into the final stage of the re-entry plan announced a few weeks ago. On June 6:
- Kids Own Worship (KOW) will return and the Family Worship Service will end. Please be on the lookout for more information in next weeks CareMail about what KOW will look like. We will need volunteers to make this a worshipful experience for the children.
- Nursery Care will return.
- Bulletins as well as Hymnals and Bibles in the pews will return.
- We are so thankful for this step. Thank you for your patience as we have navigated these strange times together!