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A Message from the Rector | August 30, 2021

Posted by The Rev. Caroline Stacey on August 30, 2021

Dear All,

I write to alert you that along with an increasing number of faith communities, we are requiring full vaccination for adults for in-person worship this Fall. This will take effect for all Sunday services as soon as we can finalize the logistics, including hiring 2 door “checkers”, since neither staff nor ushers should be asked to take on this additional task. Vaccination proof will definitely begin on September 19 for the 8am service. The commencement date for 9:15am and 11:15am is still being finalized. 

We encourage anyone who can to get vaccinated; you can find your nearest vaccination site in NYC here. Any persons unable to receive the vaccine for medical reasons will be able to attend in person providing they show proof of a recent negative PCR test (taken within the last 72 hours) or a negative rapid test taken within the last 6 hours. This proof will need to be shown each time an unvaccinated person comes to worship.

When you arrive at the church you will need to show a paper or digital vaccination card (such as the Excelsior Pass) and a photo ID. At that time, you will be invited to add your name voluntarily to a secure and confidential list which will be retained by staff. Adding your name to this list means that in future you will not need to show your vaccination proof again, only a photo ID. (Obviously, once you are known to the checkers, you will likely not need to show a photo ID indefinitely, either.) We highly recommend that you voluntarily add your name to this secure list for ease of attendance.

Another email will be sent after Labor Day with updates, including a definite start date for vaccination proof for 9:15am and 11:15am services. Masks will continue to be required for all in-person attendees.

As circumstances evolve and scientists learn more about variants and transmission, we too must adapt our protocols and strategy. Although the highest spiritual value for our gathered community is that everyone is equally welcome, as the situation evolves it has become clear that we need to evolve with it. The core mission of the gathered church is worship. Everything else the church is and does flows from the praise and worship of God. As Ignatius of Loyola puts it in his Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises: “Human beings are created to praise, reverence and serve God”. There is an intentional theological order to this sequence. In these times, and knowing what we now know about COVID, the right of individuals to choose not to get vaccinated ends where the responsibility to safeguard the worshiping community begins. This latter priority must come first at this time. The decision to require full vaccination has been made for the safety and well-being of the gathered worshiping community. 

These are difficult times, and the staff greatly appreciate your kind cooperation as we seek to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Faithfully and with love and prayers for you and your loved ones,
Mother Caroline Stacey,

Tags: worship, pandemic, vaccination, covid, masking

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