Beloved in Christ,
It stinks to write this to you but given that Black Hawk County is currently a high transmission community, and given that the CDC recommends all persons (vaccinated and unvaccinated) attending large indoor gatherings in such communities wear masks, St. John Lutheran Church will be encouraging you to bring and wear a mask to large indoor gatherings (Sunday worship when inside the building). Masks will also be provided at the entrance. This will be reconsidered on a week by week basis, depending on developments within our community and subsequent recommendations from the CDC and/or other local guidance.
There will not be any other change at this time. You are free to sit where you choose within our two indoor worship spaces (and in the Courtyard when we're there); Holy Communion will continue being shared using pre-packaged cups through the summer; congregational singing will persist; and small groups can decide on spacing, masking, location among themselves. Let's be honest — COVID fatigue is very real and it's frustrating to feel like we're taking a step backward. But if we can take up some action that will better ensure our fellows' safety and/or comfort, then consider it an offering to Christ himself (Matthew 25) and may God grant us the mischievous grace to carry it out. I am thankful for this community of faith and your loving support of one another this past year and a half. You're amazing! Please continue to love and respect one another, allowing space when that's desired and extending grace to all, whether we make the same choices or different ones.
I am grateful for feedback and input
from our Church Council and Team Facilitators (offered in a very short time span and with incredible grace), but in the end, I made this call. I welcome your feedback as we go forward in faith together. I am grateful that we need not proceed in fear but rather be guided by bold confidence that any service we render each other or sacrificial act offered for the well being of another is a grateful response to God (Colossians 3:17).
With gratitude in Christ, Pastor Brian