As we move through our second Advent season living with COVID-19, the council executive has updated our official policies and guidance. To do this, we sought the input of church members and health professionals. While the situation has changed many times for better and for worse since last March, Christ Lutheran Church has worked consistently to facilitate worship participation in a safe and responsible manner.
In June, we made masks optional in worship and church events. In August, with cases and hospitalizations rising rapidly, we returned to requiring masks for indoor events. Now that cases and hospitalizations have fallen, vaccines are available for everyone five and older, and booster doses made available for all adults, the church council has decided to make masks optional for church events. We will continue to open the sanctuary windows for enhanced ventilation, and we encourage anyone who wishes to continue wearing masks to do so whenever, and for however long, they think best.
With the good of our neighbor, both in church and beyond our walls, always our priority, there are a few things we are keeping in mind:
- Vaccination remains the most effective way to protect both yourself and the people you come into contact with. We encourage all eligible people to get vaccinated and we echo the CDC's recommendation that all adults vaccinated more than six months ago receive a booster to protect against breakthrough infections. Vaccinated people are much less likely to contract, transmit, or develop severe illness from the virus. Children under 5 continue to have a very low incidence of severe illness from the virus.
- In areas of high community spread, the CDC continues to recommend indoor masking by all people, vaccinated or not. While community spread has recently declined significantly in Dallas County, it is possible that it will increase again.
- During school hours, the preschool policy of requiring masks will remain in force.
- We will watch the development of the new omicron variant. If circumstances change and hospitalizations start increasing again, we will revisit this policy.
We are grateful for the patience and faithfulness of the whole congregation as we have navigated the ups and downs of this period. Below, a brief timeline of our measures is included for reference. We give thanks that we have been able to worship indoors without restrictions since February and that all of our activities had returned fully in-person by September. We pray that, with the cooperation and care of our worshipers, we will continue to do all of these things safely.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Ben Dueholm, Pastor
Mark Lamb, President
Ginger Hagens, Vice President
Greg Nelson, Financial Secretary
Sharon Karol, Secretary
David Marshall, Treasurer
Pandemic Policy Timeline:
- March 22, 2020: Online-only worship begins.
- June 21 - July 26, 2020: Holy Communion distribution is held in the courtyard.
- October 4, 2020: Limited sanctuary seating is opened and full outdoor services begin.
- February 7, 2021: Sanctuary seating limits and advance sign-up are removed; Holy Communion is celebrated at both services.
- June 6, 2021: Both services are held indoors.
- June 15, 2021: Masks are made optional for vaccinated worshipers.
- August 22, 2021: In response to a sharp increase in cases and hospitalizations, masks are again required.