As exciting news comes from our Associate Minister Search Committee, I want to share preliminary reopening updates. The Diaconate and Safety leadership set March as the time to reconsider and update our program practices, so we know this work begins right around the corner.
Our budgeted goal includes a soft re-open of worship in July, with a fuller re-opening in October. But what about small events, ensembles, gatherings, and programs? What about outdoor worship for a baptism or vigil? What about off-campus events? Those are the options which may become viable earlier.
The phrase “same storm, different boat” will still apply as the vaccines are deployed. For example, people over 65 are getting vaccines right now, which is wonderful. School-age children are not scheduled for eligibility and show a 0% vaccination rate. As has been the case so far, families will likely base their choices on the risk for the most-vulnerable member.
Here at the church, that means a staggered approach to activity may pervade 2021. We may have a large population of vaccinated church members long before we have a fully vaccinated staff, for example, as our staff is virtually all under retirement age. Programs will likely be segmented to accommodate the safety-diversity of the community – fortunately, this is already our program model at FCCLB, so we have solid program strategy in our collective bank of wisdom.
Currently, the congregation’s activity is primarily online. Another important element of life at 241 Cedar, however, is that while the legal guidelines have generally not allowed for church gatherings in person, the work of UCO, DAYS, and Un Mundo Preschool have all carried ‘essential ratings’ since early in the pandemic. Our historic building has been relatively quiet since the conclusion of the (also essentially rated) Rose Window construction project. Pilgrim Hall and our courtyard and its amenities are in use seven days a week for that good work of preschool and food support to the neighborhood. Operating our “multi-organizational ministry environment” will surely be a key element to maintaining a safe environment into the future.
In this time of challenge, let us give and receive grace, patience, and kindness. As the proverb says: to go fast, go alone. To go far, go together. Let us work for a grace-filled re-opening that prioritizes safe, segmented action and allows us to gracefully regather in our church home.
Sending prayers for grace to fill your day and give you peace,
The Rev. Elena Larssen