A Light at the End of the Tunnel
Brothers and Sisters,
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the updated guidance from the CDC. To sum up the new guidance (which you should definitely read for yourself), fully vaccinated* people can now resume activities in which they participated before the pandemic—mostly without masks. Governor Pritzker has affirmed this new guidance and has also announced that the state will be entering Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan on June 11.
*People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna), or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
The elders met last night to discuss how best to adopt this new guidance in our church. Throughout this pandemic, we’ve done our best to take our cues from federal, state, and local authorities, trusting these institutions to deal fairly with the evidence in serving the common good. We’re convinced they’ve done so in this instance, and we receive this new guidance with joy.
Right now, 33.5% of Lake County is fully vaccinated. Our church may skew a bit higher, but that still leaves a high percentage of our people who’ve not yet had a chance to get fully vaccinated—mostly due to supply issues and delayed eligibility for younger populations.
Instead of having different pockets of our church de-mask at different times, we’re asking that everyone in the congregation—fully vaccinated or not—continue to wear their mask until June 13th. For those who “have the right” to remove their mask safely, we ask that you’d voluntarily lay down that right for the next few weeks as a sign of love and solidarity.
Starting on the 13th, masks will be optional. For those who aren’t fully vaccinated at that time, we’ll ask that you continue to mask until you receive a vaccine or we receive updated guidance. We stand by what we’ve said before: we will not be asking people whether they’ve been vaccinated. We’ll leave “enforcement” of these masking guidelines up to you and your conscience.
We were all thrust into this pandemic together and, as far as we’re able, we’d like to “come back” from it in the same way. To that end, we’re planning a special “Homecoming” service for the 13th. That day, we will relaunch many of the ministries we’ve all missed so dearly (more details to come). We’ll also use our worship service as a time to celebrate God’s faithfulness, share in the Lord’s Supper, and welcome one another back home.
As with most things this past year, I realize that some will receive this letter with more appreciation than others. Please know that we are doing the best we can to love and serve you all. There is a light at the end of this tunnel; some are more eager than others to sprint to the end and breathe the free air (literally!). Our challenge, as a body of those who’ve been united to one another in Christ, is to lock arms and walk confidently toward that light together.
God bless you all. Please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns.
On Behalf of the Elders,