May 21, 2021 | News by Rev. Matthew Ruffner
This past year has revealed to us that changes often come quickly and with little warning. That was true for us all when the CDC changed its COVID guidelines last week. We are grateful for the time and space that you provided our Task Force to digest the new recommendations, and explore how we can follow the updated guidelines, while also ensuring we live out our value and belief that “All belong to God, therefore we seek to live like we belong to one another.” Our shared profession of faith invites us to a consider how we live as a community and as a people in the world.
To that end, we are happy to share that the PHPC Task Force on Reopening made several recommendations to the Session this week, which were approved. With updated guidance from the CDC, there are several changes to our protocols for gathering in our building spaces:
- For those fully vaccinated, masks are no longer required when we gather but are encouraged. In compliance with the CDC’s recent guidance, unvaccinated worshippers are strongly encouraged to mask and maintain social distance.
We trust that unvaccinated worshippers will continue their commitment to the health and safety of everyone, especially children ineligible for a vaccine and the immunocompromised.
- Worship spaces will have sections reserved for social distancing, for those who feel more comfortable in those areas.
- In the Sanctuary, the south transept will be designated.
- In Founders Hall, seating near the sound booth will be designated.
As of May 30, Sunday fellowship and hospitality may resume. Holy Joe’s may offer coffee service and snacks in the Courtyard. Worship at Five fellowship and snacks may resume outdoors.
Food and beverage service is now permitted. This includes the ability for staff to gather for meals in small groups as well as for other small groups to include food in their meetings. Currently, larger gatherings and receptions are not yet permitted indoors. Arrangements may be made for Jubilee Courtyard to be used.
We will switch to our summer worship schedule on May 30: 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary and 5 p.m. in Founders Hall. We will continue to stream all our services on our website, and will broadcast at 11 a.m. on WRR 101.1.
A full reopening is planned for Sunday, September 12. This will be a full indoor reopening without size restrictions. Look for more details this summer!
I want to thank our Task Force and our Session for their leadership throughout this past year. I would like to thank you, the church, for creating spaces of grace, welcome, and belonging. We cannot wait to welcome everyone home. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
With great hope,