Dear Friends of the Redeemer,
After extensive conversations with the Ministry Team, the Wardens, and Lee Fisher (the Redeemer's Reopening Coordinator), I have decided to postpone our public worship re-opening until Sunday, September 6th provided public health indicators and the bishop allow—and again this could be subject to change as we learn more in this continuing evolving environment. This difficult decision was made for many reasons but two in particular.
The first reason hinges on our collective pastoral concern for the parish. Though we could open for public worship, many of our parishioners find themselves in CDC prescribed at-risk categories. As such, public worship (as desirous as we are to gather) would be pastorally problematic to some while privileging those younger than 65 and those without pre-existing conditions. Though we know we can open, the question remains, "Should we reopen in August?" The second reason regards the dignity of our worship experience. Currently, our on-line worship consistently provides 70 to 90 households a robust worship experience at 10am on Sundays. With the extensive and required changes including entry, egress, assigned seating, staged dismissal, bathroom usage and cleaning guidelines both the on-line and in-person worship experiences would be diminished from what Redeemer parishioners currently experience and only a small fraction of our parish would be able to be accommodated for in-person worship. With these additional weeks, we can better address the required changes and the bishop’s re-opening certification process such that the experience will be better for both the online and in-person worship.
As of today, the public health indicators continue to trend downwards across all indicators of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in the Commonwealth generally and in the cities and towns our parishioners reside particularly. If these trends continue, we might very well find ourselves closer to the bishops' Stage 3 by September which would allow us to have a more enriched worship experience that could hopefully include some of such aspects as in-person singing, Holy Communion (bread only) and even socially distanced coffee hour fellowship! These additions would offer the kind of in-person worship and fellowship experiences well worth the many changes that will confront us necessarily whenever we gather again.
Though delayed, our reopening work will continue apace throughout the summer. Please send along your regards to Lee Fisher for his thoughtful and detailed work. This delay will allow us to concretize our processes and give more time for the public health picture to become clearer. Please note that on-line worship will continue to be part of the life of the Redeemer indefinitely. We have learned that these offerings have become a lifeline for those who travel or live far from the Redeemer. Thank you for your help and understanding in making this difficult decision.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.