May 18, 2021
Dear St. John family,
On May 13, 2021, the CDC released new guidance regarding COVID-19 mask wearing and social distancing that essentially lets individuals who have been fully vaccinated return to normal daily activities without a mask.
From the beginning of the pandemic, St. John has listened to the recommendations from the CDC, which is why today we are delighted to announce we are adjusting the expectations within our facility. Knowing that we are comprised of a mixed population of vaccinated and non-vaccinated people, we bear a special concern for our families with young children. Just as we always have, St. John will be guided in this decision by love for our community, prayer, and CDC guidance.
- 1. MASKS - WEEKDAY: At this time, Iowa Dept of Human Services has not adjusted the requirement for our Preschool & Childcare Center staff to wear masks. To be good examples for our little ones who might be wearing a mask and cannot be vaccinated due to their age, masks will continue to be worn in the common areas of the facility (atrium, restrooms, etc.) until DHS adjusts that requirement. Masks may be removed in the church office area and in meeting spaces as agreed upon by participants.
- 2. MASKS –SUNDAYS/WORSHIP/EVENINGS: Masks are no longer required to be worn by all persons. We encourage you to continue to wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated and according to your comfort level. Since masks are no longer mandatory, there may be people who are apprehensive being around others without masks –– so please wear one if that helps you feel more comfortable being here. We are continuing with our current cleaning & sanitizing procedure. We want worship to be free of fear for all people.
- 3. SOCIAL DISTANCING: Social distancing within the worship spaces will continue for an undetermined length of time as one way we can support people at various levels of comfort and ease back to some sense of normalcy. Alternating pews in the Sanctuary will remain roped off and the spacing cards will continue to be used in the Faith & Life Center.
- 4. SHARING OF THE PEACE / COMMUNION / OFFERING/SINGING: Our current practice of picking up your prepackaged communion cup and dropping off your offering when you arrive for worship will continue through the summer months. Sharing of the Peace will also continue to be done in socially distanced ways. Singing will continue as part of both services. Per CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals may sing without a mask.
We recognize that another virus surge, or the rapid spread of an aggressive variant, could alter our plan again. We all know that a pandemic creates a very fluid situation. If you would like to be vaccinated but need transportation, please contact the church office – we have members of the congregation who have offered to provide this service.
Throughout the past 14 months, we have been in prayer for one another and all those affected by COVID. Let us continue to hold one another in prayer, to be patient and kind with one another, and to love one another as we navigate our way into fully coming back as one church family to continue joyfully taking God’s love into the world!
St. John Church Leadership