When the city rolled back the mask mandate this past Friday, our leadership team was taken by surprise. Typically the city has been slower to implement changes than the State, so it was a change of tactic for them to do something ahead of the State. However, we understand why they made that decision as the COVID-19 numbers in Philadelphia are the lowest since this pandemic started. Praise God!
While we rejoice in this pandemic starting to be behind us, we need to keep in mind that this end hasn’t come without a cost. Healthcare workers have gone through exhaustion and trauma, and many families have lost loved ones. There is much to grieve from these past 15 months. Also, there are many countries where COVID-19 is still taking a tremendous toll. Praise God that we’ve had an unbelievably successful vaccine rollout and tremendous health care workers, but many other countries do not have those benefits. May we continue to pray for our world.
After talking with several experts, we have gotten clarity that the mask mandate is indeed over in Philadelphia. And so, from now on, masking will be optional at our Sunday Service. Some might still want to continue to wear a mask. Others are ready to take it off. As we make different choices, may our unity in Christ give us charity and love towards one another.
It will definitely be odd walking into the church without a mask, as we have been conditioned to do so for so long. I was recently at the Phillies game, and it was odd and uncomfortable to be around so many people unmasked. However, after taking a few minutes to take it all in, I was moved to tears. To see people, to really see them, was an amazing experience. So no making fun of me if I’m tearing up this Sunday!
We will still require masking in our children’s ministry as that is what the city has recommended, and after prayerfully considering the current situation, we think it is for the best. So our kids and volunteers will be masked during children’s ministry. Check-in will still be pre-service, but there will be no temperature check. If your child is sick, our normal sick policies apply. Please keep them home and get well 🙂
Also, we are working on getting our baby room reopened by this weekend or next. The APR was ok as a temporary replacement, but it will be so good to be back in that cozy space with couches, rugs, toys, and rockers. We are also working on getting the APR reopened for coffee and bagels. Our desire is to serve these between the 9am and 11am services to give you an opportunity to fellowship with each other, even if you are going to a different service from one another.
In this next chapter of our church’s history, may the good Lord continue to lead us, grow us, and use us to make, mature, and multiple disciples for the glory of God.
On behalf of your pastors,