May 19, 2021
Dear Heavenly Rest Family,
Grace and peace be with you.
Last Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that persons who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could safely refrain from wearing masks in most circumstances. In response, Bishop Mayer issued a statement, which reads, in part:
With this scientific and medical guidance in mind, and with love of neighbor as my guide, as of today, I will leave it to the discretion of our local clergy to determine the most effective Covid protocols for their congregations as we return to in-person worship.
In light of this new guidance from the CDC and the Bishop, Heavenly Rest will no longer require masks to be worn on the church campus. At the same time, we trust that those who are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will continue wearing masks. Of course, if you are more comfortable wearing a mask in large groups of people, please continue to do so.
Our mask requirement was implemented in June of 2020 because, at that point in the pandemic, the scientific consensus was that wearing a mask was the most effective way to keep the people around us safe. The most effective way to do that now is getting vaccinated against COVID-19. If you have not yet received the vaccine and are eligible to do so, I encourage you to consider getting vaccinated. Anyone aged 12 and over is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. If you need help finding a vaccine clinic, please feel free to contact the church office.
It is worth pointing out that our parish includes many people who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, namely young children. I pray we will be mindful of the difficult position many families with young children find themselves in as they discern how to safely reengage with the life of the community. I know I speak for many people when I say how much I miss the regular presence of children on the church campus. Please let us know how we can support you as you navigate this new phase of the pandemic.
This is an important milestone in our life as a parish. As we continue to move through this time, I pray we will do so with grace, patience, and a fervent trust in God and one another.
The Reverend David F. Romanik
A Prayer of Thanksgiving for a Beginning of Recovery
O Lord, your compassions never fail and your mercies are new every morning: We give you thanks for giving us hope of health renewed. Continue in us, we pray, the good work you have begun; that we, daily increasing in bodily strength, and rejoicing in your goodness, may so order our lives and conduct that we may always think and do those things that please you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, page 460)