November 8, 2021
Dear Members of Westminster:
It has been wonderful to see so many of you in worship again this fall! One of the most profound experiences of the past three months has been coming alongside you as you return to in-person worship, and hearing how grateful you are to be with your church family in your church home once more.
Since March, 2020, one of the goals of the Session and the Covid-19 Task Force has been to ensure the maintenance of worship and the health and safety of our congregation and community. The Covid-19 Task Force has been keeping a close eye on the declining Covid numbers in our Greenville community during the past month. Because those numbers have gone down significantly, and because a vaccine for 5-11 year-olds has now been approved, the Task Force made a report to the Session yesterday.
After hearing the report, the Session approved a motion that we move to strongly recommending, but not requiring, masking for vaccinated adults while indoors at WPC. In most cases, masking for children and youth will be at the discretion of their parents. Unvaccinated adults will still be required to mask while inside.
There will be a few exceptions this new policy. In order to protect our volunteers, many of whom are 65+, and because 5-11 year-olds will not be fully protected until mid-December at the earliest, we will still require that children and adults participating in It’s Elementary wear masks while indoors. We will not yet have large congregational meals inside. In order to protect the population for whom vaccinations are not yet available, our nursery staff and the staff at our Westminster Weekday School will continue to mask indoors.
We are guided in this decision by a commitment to hospitality toward one another and to our community. We also trust that our congregation will continue to be gracious with one another in the coming months as we continue to navigate “the new normal.”
As we approach Thanksgiving, I remain immensely grateful for each of you. Your ongoing commitment to our church during this unprecedented time has been amazing. I am very much looking forward to being with you in the sanctuary during the upcoming Advent season, and I eagerly await joining you in the beauty and majesty of our traditional Christmas Eve services.
I hope you will also join us before the Advent season — and that you will consider coming “home” to Westminster this week as we celebrate Commitment Sunday and look forward to God’s work among us in 2022.
Thank you for your abiding faithfulness to Westminster and to Jesus Christ, who holds all of us in his grace and love.