“The no-masks are coming! The no-masks are coming!” Maybe a bit exaggerated, but the transition into normal life may have many people feeling like Paul Revere, while for others, it feels like freedom is right around the corner. No matter where you are on that spectrum, we want to faithfully respond to recent news as best we can, together. In the last few days, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines around Covid-19 vaccinations, and the City of Milwaukee released an update stating the mask mandate and capacity restrictions will be removed as of June 1st.
What does this mean for our worship services? What about small and large group gatherings? Will Imago Dei still require masks and social distancing? I’m glad you asked.
Horton Hears a Who
Let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the sanctuary: vaccines. All of these updates hinge on what it means to be fully vaccinated. The CDC describes it like this:
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:
2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.”
We will use this definition moving forward to be consistent in our communication. Our goal is to inform you on what these changes mean for our worship services. Knowing there are a variety of opinions around vaccines in general, we want to give everyone an opportunity to make an informed decision no matter where they are at.
To mask or not to mask?
Per the city update, “The public health guidance to forgo masks is for fully vaccinated individuals only…If individuals are not fully vaccinated, they should continue to wear masks in any public indoor settings. The CDC’s guidance does not include schools, healthcare settings, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters, so fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear a mask in these environments.” Take notice that churches are not included in this list.
After much prayer and consideration, we will use the following guidelines:
- If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to wear a mask or physically distance yourself in the church building or Imago Dei gatherings.
- If you are fully vaccinated and prefer wearing a mask, you may continue to do so.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, we ask that you follow the CDC Guidelines accordingly.
- With capacity restrictions lifted we will no longer continue Service Registrations as of June 1st. Whether fully vaccinated or not, you are welcome to worship with us. Take a 3D tour of the building. Although we are not required to practice social distancing, we will keep our areas set up to accommodate social distancing.
- We are planning to have outside services in the summer, dates TBD.
- We will not screen for vaccine cards or proof of vaccination. We will continue to have open conversations regarding all of this as we do with other areas of our church’s operations.
But wait, there’s more….
At least there will be. Just not at this moment. If you made it to the end,I am glad you are still here. After reading this you may even have more questions.
Great! We do too.
Everyday we are learning more and being made more like Jesus. Join me, Rob Idom, for a Q&A on Youtube Thursday, June 3rd at 6pm. I will try to answer your questions as best as I can. In the near future, we will have more detailed information in regards to serving teams, family ministry, REM groups, and more. Keep an eye on our social media pages, check your email for updates, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philippians 2:3-11 tells us, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”