An Update from the Re-Entry Team (August 27, 2021)
We have continued to monitor the trends, data, and recommendations concerning COVID-19. It is clear that we are in the midst of a 4th wave of increased infections. Most indicators we monitor (case rate per 100k, positivity rate, rolling average of cases, and hospital capacity) are either in high or critical risk categories. This is a significant change from just a month ago. There is uncertainty about when this current wave may peak.
In addition, other areas of the country have seen an increase in infections once children, teachers, and staff return to school. Many schools in the Twin Cities will be returning in early September. It generally takes two to three weeks to begin to see the potential impacts of these types of events. It is also clear with the Delta variant that even persons who are vaccinated can become infected by the virus and transmit it to others. The goal of the vaccines is to prevent serious infection, hospitalization, and death, but not actual infection. We know the vaccines are highly effective and we encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine if you have not already done so. It is the best way to protect yourself and your neighbors and loved ones.
Our primary concern as a re-entry team has been to balance the desire to be together while doing so safely. Knowing that there is still a significant portion of our congregation who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, namely our children, we have done everything we can to mitigate the spread of infection.
Given the above considerations, the Session has approved the following changes recommended by the Re-Entry Team. Beginning in September and continuing through at least October 10:
- We will place a pause on all indoor in-person gatherings.
- Worship at 10:15 am will be live streamed from the sanctuary, but only those leading worship will be physically in attendance
- Funerals already scheduled in September will be limited to family only and live streamed
- Choir and Bell Choir will pause rehearsals
- All smaller meetings should be held online or outdoors
- Outdoor worship will continue at 9 am (weather permitting) and masks will be required to be worn.
This was not an easy decision, but we felt it was a necessary decision to continue to care for one another. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to any member of the Re-Entry Team: Bev Heise, Karen Gerdes, Al Greimel, Anne Klueh, Jane Propsom, Pastor Mary or Pastor Bart.