Together Again Indoors?
COVID keeps playing with our plans. We’ve had to be nimble, adjusting our services to counter the whims of the virus. It started last year with Lent and Easter and here we are a year later still uncertain of what’s to come. Late last Fall, we developed plans for in-person worship in the sanctuary with an eye on Christmas. We all know what happened to those plans.
With good news coming from the warming temperatures of the approaching spring, the vaccine roll-out, and the declining numbers, we are preparing once again for some sort of in-person worship in mid-April.
Some may be asking, “Why not start now? The numbers are moving the right direction and almost all the news is good news!” This is all true. We don’t want to mess up a good thing. The CDC has laid out recommendations – even pleading with states not to rush. Since the beginning of this health crisis we have relied upon CDC guidelines as well as state restrictions to help make decisions.
Keeping all this in mind, we’ve slightly altered our blueprint from last Fall. Our online worship will continue to be the “main” worship service as long as significant restrictions remain in place (e.g. we cannot sing together, masks and social distancing are mandatory). This means that any in-person worship is to supplement what we are doing and will feel very different from what we are used to doing.
In-person worship could begin - let’s stress the could - as early as mid-April with outdoor worship offering the best chance to have larger gatherings, and eventually moving indoors as the infection rates (both new and total) continue to fall, and key worship staff are protected through vaccination. So what about Easter? We hope to have an answer by the middle of March as the impact of new virus variants and the vaccine distribution become better known.
We will continue to provide alerts as plans become firmer and the picture of the health landscape becomes clearer. For now, know that the Presbyterian Church in Westfield cares both about your physical and spiritual health, and that we take seriously the diverse concerns of the members of this congregation. We are in this together, a new day begins to dawn, and we are ever watchful.
On Behalf of Your Elders on Session,