UPDATE TO ALL SAINTS COVID POLICIES as of 15 MARCH 2022
My dear friends in Christ,
Little did we know, at this point two years ago, that we had just experienced our last normal week. It was the middle of March, 2020, when the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic came to Appleton. In those early days, there were no vaccines and no hope of developing usable vaccines for more than a year, at the soonest. Between that fact, and the fact that large portions of our society (both within and beyond the Church) openly opposed some or all of the protocols recommended by experts in the science of infectious disease control in order to contain (or at least slow down) the spread of the virus, and given the risks especially to the most vulnerable members of our community (children, the elderly, the chronically ill, the immuno-compromised), the institution of the church had no choice but to take the burden upon itself to craft policies to protect everybody. We were forced to shut down all in-person worship and gatherings at All Saints, closing our treasured church building for, at the time, the foreseeable future.
To say that doing so was hard would, of course, be the understatement of the decade.
But nothing stays the same forever. On Palm Sunday of 2021, we were able to return to in-person worship, albeit under a number of restrictions and regulations, some set by the Diocese of Fond du Lac, and others that we set for ourselves. Both the diocese and our local parish have, since the outbreak of the pandemic, sought to be guided in our responses and policies by the best available data and the consensus of the scientific community. Recently, both the CDC and the Diocesan Task Force on Covid-19 have updated their recommendations. In response, your Vestry and I have spent the past two weeks in close conversation, exploring whether it might be time for us to revise our policies for All Saints, as well … and, if so, in what ways.
Since the beginning of “Corona-tide,” we have taken a cautious and conservative approach to Covid safety policies, and we shall continue to do so, going forward. The Covid pandemic, after all, is most certainly not over. At this point, however, I believe we can make the following small adjustments to our Covid protocols. As of now ~ and for the time being, presuming that current trends in the data continue:
We are also fully committed to expanding our online/hybrid offerings until we reach the goal of simultaneously live-streaming any and all services that we hold in-person. In other words, we will work to provide as many options and alternatives as possible for folks to engage not only with our worship but also with our community of faith in ways that feel comfortable, welcoming, inclusive, and safe.
Finally, we must continue for now to distribute Communion only in one kind (bread). At present, the diocese does not allow the sharing of the common cup, so we don’t have any choice on this one for the time being, y’all.
Please understand that these policies are, as they always have been, provisional. As the situation around us continues to change and evolve, we will continue to review our policies and protocols and to make adjustments as new information comes to light. All Covid protocols are thus temporary and for the present moment; they remain subject to change as needed. Hopefully, we will continue to be able to expand the ways that we can be together at church, but should the numbers spike again as they did in 2021, we may well have to return to a stricter set of policies again.
If you have any questions or concerns about these adjustments to our policies, please contact me via phone or email, or through the church office ~ I will be more than happy to converse with you, and I most certainly want to hear your thoughts as we work together to chart a way forward for All Saints Episcopal Church.
Peace & blessings,
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CONTACT THE PARISH OFFICE
Phone (920) 734-3656 or (920) 249-4147