It seems like COVID is the guest that just doesn’t know when to leave!
Along with members of the Session, I have been monitoring news reports about the latest variant, BA.5, and while it doesn’t seem to cause more severe illness, it does seem to be more contagious. Which means, everyone is bound to get COVID at some point, even if you have been fully vaccinated. Several members of our congregation have tested positive for COVID in recent weeks, and, while they haven’t necessarily been exposed because of being at worship, it certainly reminds us that any time we gather in groups, there is a certain amount of risk.
According to Austin Public Health, the COVID risk level in Travis County is at Medium. At this level, the APH recommendation is to wear a mask if you are high-risk or if you have not been vaccinated; masks are not mandated by APH for those who are fully vaccinated or at low-risk of serious illness, although APH does urge individuals to consider wearing a mask when in large groups indoors.
In light of this, Session decided to return to the pre-sealed communion elements for everyone, beginning this coming Sunday, July 31, for at least the next several weeks, perhaps until September. We also want to strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask and maintain a bit of social distance during worship. Of course, we don’t want to become the Mask Enforcers, but we do want to encourage everyone to take steps to insure your health and the health of those around you.
Thank you for your understanding, patience, and cooperation to keep everyone safe and able to participate comfortably in worship.