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Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,
For the last few weeks, I have had numerous conversations concerning updating our masking guidelines, culminating in our parish wide survey. Given all the data that has come in from the survey as well as the new CDC norms, the State of Ohio guidelines, the new Columbus City Council guidelines (as of June 9), the updated Diocesan guidelines, new local School District policies, after speaking at length with our Wardens, and with an unanimous vote from Vestry, we will be following the CDC guidelines and updating our Parish guidelines to: “Masks optional for those who are vaccinated and required for those who are not vaccinated.”
I know this change may not be comfortable to everyone in the Parish. I understand the anxiety and concern. This is not an easy decision for me, as your Rector. I never would have imagined in seminary that I would be making decisions for a parish during an epic pandemic! As you know, I have made it a point to follow CDC and Ohio guidelines, not feelings or political rhetoric, from the start for that reason. I also have a heart of a shepherd who cares very deeply for everyone entrusted to my pastoral care. For those who are uncomfortable with these new changes, there are a couple of options:
People have asked me “How will you make sure that people will wear masks if they are unvaccinated?” I do not ask for Baptismal Certificates when people come for Holy Communion; I will not be asking for Vaccine Cards when people come into the Church. With that being said, as disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ who taught us that “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:123),” I would think that NO ONE, who publicly professes to be a Christian, would be so callus as to intentionally break the 9th Commandment against bearing false witness to place their fellow members of the Body of Christ in harm’s way. Love requires us to follow Our Lord as His disciples. If you are not vaccinated, I encourage you to be vaccinated and to wear a mask until that time.
As I mentioned before, I know this decision will not be comfortable to everyone, but I hope and pray that all may find accommodation for their particular comfort level and concerns. We, as a Vestry, made this decision to the best of our ability in regard to all the survey data and scientific evidence placed before us. May Christ, our God, give us grace as we slowly emerge from this pandemic. May He bless us abundantly with mutual charity and bonds of affection inspiring us by His Holy Spirit as we draw closer to the Father. May He continue to bless His parish family of All Saints!
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Jason +
We have been created to share in the Life of the Holy Trinity. Worship is our response to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Worship for us is a communal event. In corporate worship, given by God as seen in the Old Testament and fulfilled by Christ in the New Covenant, we unite ourselves with others to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God’s Word in Sacred Scripture, to offer prayer and intercession in which we bring before the Lord our own needs and the needs of others, and to celebrate the Holy Sacraments. They are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace. The source and summit of our lives as Christians is the Holy Eucharist. It is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the perpetual remembrance of His life, death, and Resurrection until His coming again. In the Holy Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which He unites us to His one offering of Himself. Our Eucharistic Liturgy comes from the Book of Common Prayer, rooted in the ancient liturgies yet ever new and every contemporary. At All Saints, we dive deeply into the liturgy of the Church in which we encounter the great mystery of our Triune God.