Letter to the Congregation – 06/01/2021


So, the word is out, if you are vaccinated you will be able to sing in the church building again. After long and prayerful discussion, the Congregation Council decided to follow CDC guidelines. That means that if you have been vaccinated, you can be in the church building without a mask and sing. If you are not vaccinated, the guidelines have not changed, meaning that to enter the church building you must be masked, and you cannot sing.

That means there are different guidelines for different people. St. Andrew’s strives to be a place where all people are treated the same. While we are following CDC guidelines that does not and will never mean that we care about anyone in a different way that someone else. The CDC masking guidelines are in place to keep people safe. The decision made by Council echoes that common concern; how do we keep people safe. How do we keep St. Andrew’s a safe place to worship?

Two notes here:

  1. You may not agree with the Congregation Council’s decisions. We respect that. Please remember you can always attend Council meetings and voice your concerns. Council is leaning on science and safety as both are consistent with our Christian understanding of how we interact with each other.
  2. Please respect all those who are wearing masks. Remember there will be people who have been vaccinated and still decide to wear a mask. There should never be judgement around mask wearing. This virus has affected all of our sense of safety in different ways. If a mask helps that sense of safety, that is fine. The person behind the mask is far more important than the mask.

A note on the vaccine. Both Bishop Eaton (ELCA) AND Bishop deForest (Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod) have been very strong on their support for the vaccine. If you have not been vaccinated, please consider doing so. Please feel no judgement here, just concern for your health and wellbeing.

The Council will continue to meet on a frequent basis and talk about moving St. Andrew’s toward “normalcy” (whatever that is). Pray for us as together we find our way through this pandemic.

Pastor Neel

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