Dear Members and Friends of Faith,
As we write this letter, we have now had three services back in the Sanctuary as well as recording the service for everyone to view later from our website, YouTube or email with links. On the 16th, we also celebrated communion with our individual communion sets. Many thanks to all the staff and volunteers who are making this possible.
Thanks to the vaccines, which are now more plentiful, many in our congregation have been vaccinated. That is such good news! The truth is, we also have those in our community who haven’t – our children, who can’t yet, some few who won’t, and others who can’t for medical reasons. Some who are a vital part of our community remain much more vulnerable even after vaccination due to health status.
Those of us who are vaccinated, according to the CDC guidelines, have many more activities open to us, while those who are not still need to follow the guidelines we have been doing all along.
Our values as a faith community include care and respect for everyone – because as Christians we belong to each other. It is together that we are the body of Christ, not individually. As your Session, we have wrestled with what to do in light of the new recommendations by the CDC along with what we know about our faith community and those who wish to attend services.
Long ago, the apostle Paul had a similar challenge in the gathering practice at the early church in Corinth – the issue was around whether it was appropriate to eat meat that had been offered to idols in the temples of the city. That was most of the meat one could buy in Corinth. The more sophisticated in faith declared that since the idols didn’t exist, it was perfectly acceptable to do so. But the newer believers found that it made them question their faith. Paul knew too the idols didn’t exist, but he didn’t want obstacles to people gathering in the new faith, and so he recommended to not eat such meat. The health of the whole community was his priority.
We find ourselves in agreement with Paul. After considering a few options, we have made our next decision to increase the capacity for Sunday worship up to 90 people, which will still allow for social distancing. At the same time, we are keeping our masking requirement because of our concern for those whose health status makes them more vulnerable. We think wearing a mask is a modest consideration that will allow more people to worship together and not single out those who are not vaccinated.
We invite us to continue in a spirit of forbearance as we walk through this season, giving care and concern for everyone in the congregation, remembering that we are the Body of Christ together, bound by the love and grace of the one who has redeemed us.
If you have any questions or concerns for the Session you may email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org with “letter for the Session” on the subject line or send a letter by mail to the Faith Presbyterian Church, 2053 E. Choctaw Drive, Sierra Vista, AZ 85650. We ask that you do not express your displeasure to the volunteers on Sunday morning as this can hinder the work they are doing to make the service go smoothly.
In Christ, The Session of Faith Presbyterian Church.