Dear Church Family,
I pray this email finds you well and looking forward to the summer months. Praise God for the recent news that our state is lifting many restrictions because of the positive trend in declining infection cases! In light of the recent announcements regarding the lifting of restrictions and after consulting with our Elders and Trustees, please make note of the following updates to our own guidelines for gatherings:
- Beginning Friday, May 28 the 6-ft. social distancing and masks will no longer be required indoors for adults BUT masks will still be required for children and their teachers/helpers. So, beginning Sunday, May 30 our worship service will be MASK-OPTIONAL; we will still space out every other pew simply because we can easily accommodate. For those that are not vaccinated it is encouraged to continue following the CDC/NJ recommendations, as well.
- We are not asking people to divulge their vaccine information, and I urge us all to refrain from asking each other, as well. This is a sensitive subject and as such should be treated with the appropriate discretion and kindness, as well. We have been told that vaccinated folks are practically 100% safe from serious illness and have nothing to worry about. Whether you lean toward the more liberal side or the more conservative side of the issue, I urge us all to heed these words,
- "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus." -Philippians 2:3-5
I completely understand that some will continue to wear masks out of an abundance of caution for themselves and for the sake of others. I can also completely understand that some will be glad to shed the masks regardless of vaccine status. Either way let's not allow fear or the impulse of self-righteous judgement to distract us from being a church family together seeking God's Presence, growing as God's People, and going with God's Love to our neighbors and to the world! Let's especially remember to keep praying for other parts of the world like India that are still experiencing the tragic effects of the virus.
I think it's a beautiful symmetry that the very last service we had before the pandemic lockdown and before we started wearing masks and social distancing was a baptism service...and the very first service we have without having to wear masks and social distance from one another is again a baptism service. Hallelujah!!
I end with another urging to heed these words,
- "The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:7-11
Should you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me or any of the Elders. Thanks and blessings!